Why Landscapers & Arborists Should Be Using Social Proof
Have you ever been searching for a new restaurant? Did you ask your friends for recommendations or search online for reviews? If you answered yes, then you’ve been influenced by ‘social proof’. Social proof is a powerful selling tool to garner trust with prospects and influence them on the buyer’s journey.
What is Social Proof
Social proof is the concept that we, as social creatures, will change our behavior based on the actions of others. Social proof comes in many forms, and the impact of social proof comes from the relationships between prospects and their social circles. For example, a potential customer visits your website and sees your Google reviews listed on your homepage. If this person values reviews, they are more likely to make a decision because of this information.
Another example of social proof is a prospect hears from their close friend about how they installed synthetic turf and how much they loved the company they chose. If the prospect has been considering turf, they’re much more likely to select the company their friend went with because of their relationship and trust in their friend’s opinion. Social proof is not a new concept or novel idea. It has existed for ages, but the way society operates now, every green industry company needs to use social proof in their sales process actively.
Here are three ways to use social proof to boost sales…
Get more online reviews
91% of consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 use online reviews to make purchase decisions. Data also shows that the more reviews you have, the more impact they will have. Many business owners are afraid to ask their customers for reviews because they only want positive ones, but this approach hurts the business. Consumers that actively search for negative reviews will spend five times as long on your site and will have around an 85% increase in conversion rate.
The number of reviews matters.
Ultimately, your goal should be to get as many reviews as possible: positive or negative. Not only will this signal to the prospect that you’re an active business with a long history, but it will also signal to Google that people trust you, and you should appear higher in search rankings. Having more reviews will lessen the impact of 1-star reviews. It also improves the number of people who will see your site, thus improving your chances of selling.
Tips for getting more reviews
Ask for reviews immediately after service
One of the best times to ask for a review is right after you’ve completed service. They’re more likely to respond because your business is on their mind, and the details of their experience are fresh. The longer you wait, the more unlikely someone is going to leave a review. You can ask for a review in person, in an automated email once the job is marked as complete, or both.
Ask for reviews on social media
The people that follow you on social media are generally fans of your company. Your social media audience is more likely to respond to an ask to leave a review. Be sure to include a link to your review site (Google or other) in the post or comments. Look for examples from other companies and see what has worked for them.
Ask for reviews in emails
This method is the least effective of the three, but can reach the most people. After you’ve introduced a process to ask for reviews in person and then on social media, it is time to send out an email to your customers. How many reviews you receive is entirely dependent on when you send the email, who opens it, and what the email says. Click here for examples.
Photos are worth 1,000 Words
It’s one thing to tell someone about your work; it’s another to show them. A very effective way to use social proof to sell your services is to include photos and videos on your website and your social feeds. Be sure to include professional, high-quality images and video. This is self-advertisement via social proof. Show off the work you’ve done on a dedicated gallery page on your website. Customers want to see evidence that you’re going to do a fantastic job. Put their concerns to rest by showing off what you’ve done for other customers like them in the past.
Storytelling in sales
Finally, train your sales team and estimators to include social proof in their sales calls and visits. The most effective way to use storytelling during the sales process is to use anecdotes from previous customers to convince prospects that they’ll have a great experience. Storytelling is highly effective when you’re trying to upsell a customer. To upsell your services, you need to prove to the prospect that your recommendations will benefit them. The best way to achieve this is by using past examples of what happened when a customer did or didn’t choose additional services. This creates assurance that they need your assistance and will miss out if they don’t decide to add on.