Asking for a review – how, when and what to say

By now, we all understand the power of the online review. I mean, how often do you find yourself skimming reviews before booking a hotel room or purchasing a product online?

According to Nielsen’s 2012 Global Trust in Advertising report, online consumer reviews are the second most trusted source of brand information and messaging (behind referrals from family and friends), with 70 percent of global consumers surveyed indicating they trust messages on consumer review platforms.

More recently, the Invesp Blog pulled together a number of sources to publish this infographic on “The Importance of Online Reviews,” which noted that 90 percent of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business and 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, among other fascinating stats.

So, it’s clear that online reviews are powerful. But, where do I go first?

There are obvious platforms that most people are familiar with and use often – such as Google, Trip Advisor and Yelp! – but there are also several paid and industry-specific platforms on which businesses and professionals can be reviewed. Angie’s List is one such paid site that comes to mind, as do certain industry websites, such as AVVO for lawyers, and special certification sites, like the one offered by Intuit QuickBooks for accountants who are QuickBooks-certified.

And while many people think they must sit back and wait for clients and customers to volunteer their reviews, a better [more proactive] approach is to get out there and ask people to submit a review.

Ask for a review? How in the world would I do that?

Know this: The most important factor in asking for a review is less about what you say than when you ask. Timing is an important factor for capturing a great client review, and the best time to strike is when the iron’s hot – after you’ve had a recent big success, completed an impactful project or when your client happens to express appreciation in an email or in-person meeting.

When clients are most energized by your partnership, they will not only be more willing to go review your business at that time, but their enthusiasm will shine through the review even more than if you hit them with the ask several months after the opportune moment.

Then, what do I say?

This is actually the easiest part. If you’ve got the timing factor in play, you can simply point out the recent win and ask if the customer or client would be willing to share about the experience with you in a review. Then, direct them exactly to where you want them to go.

Want to build up your reviews in Google? Send them the link to review your business there. Do you subscribe to an industry-specific website that houses reviews? Send the link to them in the email.

Obsidian’s owner, Courtney Ellett, often shares the story of the time her accountant helped her solve a problem she was having with her QuickBooks program, and Courtney sent her a “You’re the best!” email later – to which the accountant replied: “You’re welcome! And, if you don’t mind, I would very much appreciate if you would take a minute to post a review of me on the QuickBooks ProAdvisor website.” Courtney said she didn’t hesitate and took the few minutes to post a raving review for her. It can be that simple!

The point is that you can be proactive in collecting positive reviews wherever reviews of your business are housed. It’s as simple as capitalizing on the opportune time and being humble and honest in the ask.