The Big 5: Reviews and Bests


Has a potential customer ever asked you, “If we didn’t choose you, is there anyone else you’d recommend?” 

That’s a tough question, because it means they’ll probably choose someone else. The silver lining is that they at least trust you enough to ask. But how do you get them to trust you enough to work with you? 

Use the principles from marketing guide Marcus Sheridan’s bestselling book, They Ask, You Answer. In today’s lesson, Marcus will teach you how to use reviews and “best” comparisons to attract customers and recruits.

How to handle reviews and “bests” 

When customers want competitor reviews or when they ask who’s the best in the business, most companies don’t handle it well. They say something like, “Well, there’s nobody quite like us.” 

The problem is, that customer isn’t looking for someone like you at that point. If they were, they’d work with you. So, how do you change their mind? By answering their question. 

Create an article or video to address reviews and “best of” 

When Marcus was a pool salesman, he gave a quote to a couple in Richmond, Virginia. They asked him, “If we don’t get this pool from you, is there anybody else you’d recommend?” 

Marcus drove home thinking about their question. Finally, he decided, Well, they asked—I’ve got to answer. That night, he wrote an article called “Who are the best pool builders in Richmond, Virginia? (Reviews/ratings).”

For you, that article might be called “Who are the best excavation companies in Phoenix, Arizona?” or “Who are the best heavy equipment dealers in St. Paul, Minnesota?” 

You can also apply this idea to recruiting. Write content about things like “best companies to work for” and “best careers for [insert skill here].” Skill-focused terms are important because someone may not even realize they should be in your industry if they’ve never seen it. But you can win them over when they’re online looking for a job that fits their skills. 

When you teach the marketplace about your business, you grow your pool of potential customers and team members.

Start on the right foot

Marcus’ article starts by spelling out the customers’ question: People often ask us who are some of the other pool builders and competitors we have in the area.

Then, it explains why his company is answering that question: We’re never ones to shy away from being blatantly honest with respect to the competition, and we want our customers to be as informed as possible. 

What impression does that give you? You probably thought: 

  •     They’re honest.
  •     They’re different.
  •     They’re experts.

That’s how you can make potential customers feel about you, too. When you answer this question openly and put their best interests first, people who were considering the competition will take a second look at you.  

Don’t recommend yourself

 When you’re making a list of the best companies in your area, don’t include your business. Now you may be thinking, That’s a dumb move!  But it’s actually really smart. 

Your customers want to know who you’d recommend if they don’t work with you. They’ve already taken you out of the equation. If you try to weasel your way back in, you’ll lose trust and credibility. And remember, honest comparisons earn customers’ trust

Besides, if they’re reading the article, they’re on your website. You’re already winning. 

Just give the facts about the competition

Giving your competitors negative reviews makes you sound like a jerk. So do what Marcus did. Instead of badmouthing the competition, he just gave the facts—like their location and main products. Everything he wrote about them came directly from their own websites.

When you do this, you’ll give customers the info they want. Plus, you’ll maintain good relationships with other businesses in your industry. Believe it or not, competitors have come up to Marcus at trade shows and thanked him for writing about them. But when you look at how this one article changed his company, Marcus is the one who should be thanking them. 

The results

Marcus’ article ranked first for online search terms like “best pool builders Richmond VA.” It also ranked first if you searched for reviews of his biggest competitor. In fact, if you research any of his competitors online, his article comes up. 

That means people who are looking for the competition are finding Marcus’ company instead. And many of them are choosing to work with him. One lady said she was “this close” to buying from another pool company. Then she found Marcus’ article and thought, Wow, these guys are so honest. I should call them, too.

That article generated over $200,000 in sales in its first year. (That’s a lot for a swimming pool company.) The company website also became the most trafficked swimming pool website in the world, going from 2,000 visitors per month to one million visitors per month. And it’s all because of the principles in They Ask, You Answer.

Making the most of They Ask, You Answer

Hopefully, you see what’s possible when you answer customer questions. If you really want to get the most from They Ask, You Answer, check out Marcus’ lesson on the five keys to pulling off these principles in your business.

← How to Compare Without Being Biased 

5 Keys to Pulling It Off →

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