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Getting More Reviews—Close More Deals!

Imagine someone from your sales team just met with a potential client and shared with them all their options for going solar. They reported back the meeting went really well, and they think it’s going to be the ideal client to follow up with. 

By all intents and purposes, this is a hot lead. Then, your team member goes for another follow-up meeting, expecting things to go well. Instead, he’s met with a number of objections and ultimately, he’s let down—another sale lost. That’s just the game with door-knocking, right? But then your team member gets this follow-up text:

When you see this feedback, what’s your first thought? It certainly goes from, “that’s just how it is with door-knocking, you win some and you lose some,” to something that feels like you have a lot more control over. Not enough info online? That’s something you have complete control over! 

That’s why at Digital Harvest Solar, our mission is to help solar companies like yours have a major impact in your community. But in this digital world, a big impact just can’t happen without a strong presence online. 

In our of our past blogs, we talked extensively about setting up and optimizing your Google Business Profile specifically as a solar company. In this blog, we want to dive even deeper into the world of reviews. Why are reviews important? How do you get them? Where are the most important places on the web to seek out reviews as a solar business? And how do reviews help you have a better presence and more trust online so you can prevent rejections like the one mentioned above?

We’ll answer all of these questions in this blog as we uncovered the wonderful (albeit daunting) world of online reviews in the solar industry.

What is a review, and why should you care?

Maybe it could have gone without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway! Online reviews are when consumers leave feedback on a product or experience, often in the form of a starred rating, along with a free form comment. There are lots of places where consumers leave reviews and if you put on your consumer hat, we’re sure you’re familiar with them—Google, Yelp, Facebook, Angi, etc.

You’re not a bad actor.

It’s an unfortunate reality that there are a lot of bad actors out there in the solar industry. But since you’re not one of them, how are you going to distinguish your business? Having core values, an incredible team, and the ability to deliver isn’t enough, unfortunately. In this day and age, you just have to have an online presence to be taken seriously. And getting online reviews is one of the simplest and most important ways to do that.

Imagine our scenario from the intro. This isn’t a made-up situation, this is a real screenshot of a real text from someone close to our team here at DH Solar. Solar companies are losing customers because, after a meeting, when those potential clients head to their phone or laptop and look for more information, they’re not finding enough to satisfy them. 

If your sales team has been running into a lot of hidden objections and you haven’t been able to crack the code, this could be it. When potential customers can’t find information about your solar company online, they instantly lose trust. Is your business legitimate? Are they about to be scammed? What have other people had to say about their experience working with you?

88% of Consumers Check Reviews Before Making a Purchase

This number probably sounds really scary to you if your business doesn’t have a lot of reviews. You might even want to deny it, hoping that you’ll be the exception to the rule. But most certainly for a big purchase like solar, when consumers are investing potentially tens of thousands of dollars, they’re going to want to know that other consumers have been happy with their purchase. 

And, even if you’re a new business and still in that grind to get your first few reviews on other sites like Google/Angi’s List/etc., another study reported on by Rocket Digital shares that 63% of consumers are more likely to buy if the seller’s website has customer reviews on it. So even if you haven’t had customers leave you a lot of reviews, asking for a few in-person to get started on your website is a great way to start playing the review game.

Customer reviews reduce friction in the sales process, doing a lot of the convincing for you, before you even have a conversation with a potential client. Knowing that your potential customers are looking for reviews (whether you like it or not) may create a sense of urgency to get serious about tracking down reviews—as it should. We’ve seen it make a huge difference for our clients in solar, and across a wide variety of other industries too.

Feedback is GOOD!

Besides creating trust with people looking up your solar company online, it’s also incredibly valueable to get reviews so you can grow! Getting genuine feedback is how you will learn what your company is doing well and ways you can create a better experience.

Consumers often love to shoutout individual employees that really made their install great when leaving a review. Take this opportunity to tap into your incentives/recognition that you already have in place. Or if clients highlight things the company overall is doing well like communication, reasonable pricing, or quick work, reviews are a the perfect way to learn which systems you have in place that are really serving you.

And here’s something that might surprised you. You do NOT need to be afraid of negative reviews. As an ambitious and growing company, it’s valuable to be open to negative feedback. Especially if your seeing a trend in the topics of negative reviews, you might start to see holes in your systems that are creating a bad experience for your customers or staff that isn’t promoting your culture and values.

Later on, we’ll go into the industry best practices for dealing with a negative review. For now, just know that one reason your business should treasure your reviews is because you can use that information to improve.

Top Content Creation Hack! Repurpose Reviews as Content

Is your marketing team or office staff always sweating that next social media post? One of our favorite tricks after getting a great review is to repurpose it in as many ways as possible! This hack is just another reason why we think every solar company should prioritize getting reviews.

First and foremost, have your best reviews added to a “Testimonials” portion of your website. Like we already mentioned, people love to see customer feedback, even if it’s on your own website.

Next, use your best reviews as social media posts! If you have a marketing team or someone on your team who is a little bit tech savvy and has a decent eye for design, it’s easy to repurpose reviews on social media. Try using a tool like Canva and take the text from a Google review and turn it into an eye-catching graphic for Instagram, Facebook, Google Posts, or Twitter. Check out this YouTube video for a crash course on creating a testimonial on Canva from an existing review.

Lastly, your best reviews reduce the sales friction in any print marketing you have or other written forms of marketing. Add a few of your favorite reviews to brochures you bring to events or literature you hand out during the sales process. When you have a bunch of reviews readily available, your team willl never have to stress about tracking one down when you need one.

Google Loves Businesses That Play the Game

Okay, you don’t have to look at it as cynically as that, but the algorithms at Google take what information they have and use that to recommend businesses to potential customers. So all things being equal, a solar company with 200 reviews shows up higher in search than a solar company with 10 reviews. 

That just makes sense, right? Google knows comsumers are loving the first business, so they’re more likely to recommend it to others (and when we say recommend, we mean show that business closer to the top of the page on a Google search). How your business is perceived matters to Google, as it should.

Of course, there are lots of other places where solar companies can get reviews that are also important. But we can all acknowledge the prominence of Google. And the likelihood that consumers are Googling your business and looking for reviews and information there over other search engines or websites is pretty high!

Now that we’ve covered why you should care about reviews, let’s talk about the most common and important places to get reviews and how to get them.

Where to Get Reviews and How to Get Them 

While Google reviews are the most common and the most important, there are many other places to get reviews. You’ll have to choose where you want to focus your energy as you pursue getting reviews. Any positive review you get is going to help create trust with prospective clients. But there are places that may create more reliable leads than other, lesser know sites. Let’s go through them, and we’ll break down how to get them too.

Google

Google reviews are the most valuable reviews to get because the average consumer takes right to Google to learn about businesses they want to patronize and products they want to buy. When a customer sees a solar company with a lot of Google reviews, they’re more likely to reach out to that company over competitors that have fewer or no reviews. These reviews reduce friction during the sales process.

Of all the places to leave reviews, this might be the place where your customers are most comfortable with leaving reviews because they’ve probably done it before, and they’re probably on Google multiple times a day anyway. 

Sometimes, a really happy customer will go to Google all on their own and leave a review for your business! We love those people! But, you likely have many happy customers that would be willing and eager to leave you a review if you just ask. There are a few ways to go about doing that.

How to get Google reviews (manually):

  1. While looking at the customer-facing side of your Google Business Profile, click on your reviews.
  2. You should see a button in the top right corner that says “Get More Reviews.”
  3. That will allow you to copy a link, and you can send that link to customers via email, text, or share on social media.

** Of course, you can always just ask a customer to leave you Google review, but just asking without sharing an easy way for people to do it dramatically reduces the number of reviews you’ll get, even if people love their new solar panels and were thrilled with installation/communication/etc.

Get Google reviews the automated way:

Any process in your company is going to be more effective if it’s automated—no room for human error. We help solar companies set up an automated request system with our proprietary software that automatically triggers a series of emails to request a review after an install is complete (or whatever trigger point we determine together will be the most effective.)  

One of the great features of this system is that it does weed out bad reviews from the start. We’ll often set up this email sequence to initially ask customers if they would refer your solar company to a friend on a scale of 1-10. Based on that response, the system automatically either sends them an email giving them a way to give you direct (less than positive) feedback. If they rated high on the Net Promotor Score, then they’ll be sent an email directing them to leave a Google review.

All of this is able to go on behind the scenes, and your business will be raking in new 5-star reviews without you or your team having to lift a finger! If you want to learn more about our review marketing packages, please reach out! But even if you determine that you handle it in house, we highly recommend you find a way to make it as easy as possible to collect reviews because they are so very important.

Facebook 

Facebook is still an excellent place to be focusing your marketing efforts, but maybe less so when it comes to review collection. Certainly with the demographics that are able to invest in solar, Facebook is the place to be to be seen by those folks. According to a recent article from Hootsuite (a social media scheduling app), Facebook is the preferred social media platform for male internet users ages 35-44, female internet users ages 35-44, and female internet users ages 45-54.

All of this to say, your ideal client is likely on Facebook, so that may be a place where they will organically leave your business a review. Organic reviews might be as good as it gets for Facebook reviews though.

The main trouble with Facebook reviews (as opposed to Google reviews) is that Facebook hasn’t made it simple yet for businesses to generate that nice link to send users directly to the right place to leave a review. So…

How to get Facebook reviews:

There are work arounds that people have created that hack this hole in Facebook’s coding so that you can get a link that sends customers to the right place to leave a review. But, it’s pretty confusing and honestly not very accessible to a lay person. So, we recommend perhaps creating a Facebook post, just kindly asking people to leave you a review on Facebook. 

Can we incentive people to leave a review by offering a raffle or discount?

You’ve probably seen other companies incentivizing customers to leave a review by putting them in a raffle, giving them a discount, or some other incentive. While this does motivate consumers, and generally causes them to leave more positive reviews, we can’t recommend it. It’s illegal to incentivize people to leave a Google review. And while Facebook is not Google, it’s still a grey area.

Angi (Formerly Angie’s List)

What business doesn’t want that beautiful red check to show that they’re Angi Certified? However, this is a great time to talk about paid directories like Angi and whether or not it’s effective to be listed there and pursue reviews on that site.

Here’s our take on Angi, and other popular paid directories. Consumers do use them. If they don’t have a direct referral from a friend or family member, they’re likely to trust a third party like Angi. And with the new Angi format, potential customers have shared their address, email, and phone number with Angi before they’re able to see any referrals—as in, they’re warm or hot leads if they’re already willing to give out all that information. Or, perhaps just as likely, they are already a member of Angi, so they pay a yearly fee to get a discount on referrals and services just like this.

There are some cricistisms of Angi, and we do think they’re valid. Townsquare points out,

“If you’re unfortunate enough to get a bad review on Angi, especially if you have less than 5 reviews, it will be extremely difficult to recover. The one bad review will stand out and drive your potential customers to your competitors, which, in turn, will make it more difficult to bring in good reviews to drown out the bad one.”

Unlike Google, you aren’t able to contest a bad review. Also, Townsquare points out that while non-Angi members can leave you a review on Angi, those reviews don’t impact your “grade.” So you might be wasting a good review because it will have less impact than a Google review.

We can’t tell you whether or not being on Angi, or any directory, will be worth it for your solar company. It might take some trial and error to see. Being an Angi Certified business does cost some of your business’s marketing dollars, but they still might be relatively inexpensive leads. And, the referrals your solar company gets from Angi are likely to be good leads. Additionally, when people leave reviews there, they have weight with that same pool of customers that is already more likely to choose your service because they’re already paying to be there.

Overall, you might need to just try it out for a year and see if it pays off. Maybe people in your market don’t use Angi as much. You’ll have to find out!

How to get reviews on Angi?

Angi actually has a full article on how to get reviews from customers and you can check that out here. It’s very thorough and if your solar company is on Angi, we recommend you check it out. But, we’ll hit you with the highlights here.

Angi suggests asking for a reviews all the same ways that we do—in person, via email, via phone, or text. There is a link you can copy for customers to follow when they click on it that will take them to where they can leave a review.

Like we talked about with Google reviews, it’s best if you can tell your customers exactly what to do by giving them a link. Asking for a review in person might seem like the friendliest thing to do, but more likely than not, that person is going to walk away and forget to do it. 

EnergySage

The conversation around EnergySage is going to be very similar to what we had to say about Angi. The main differences are: 1) EnergySage is not a membership for consumers like Angi is. 2) EnergySage, unlike Angi, is specific to solar companies.

According to EnergySage, they are the number one website for solar in the U.S., getting more traffic than any other solar sites. Solar companies can apply to be a vendor on EnergySage, and after they pass through the screening process, they’re alerted when new prospective clients enter the site, and they’re able to leave a bid. EnergySage makes a commission when your business closes a deal through their marketplace.

Consumers are able to leave reviews on EnergySage about their experiences working with a company. They’re also able to look through companies directly by comparing reviews of solar installers, product manufacturers, and financing. 

Unlike Google or Facebook, getting reviews on EnergySage is more of a happy accident. Of course you can ask, via any of the methods that we’ve discussed, for your happy customers to leave a review on EnergySage. And certainly, if you decide to list your business on EnergySage, you should ask customers to post reviews there. It won’t look good to consumers if your business has no reviews, and the other companies bidding for that job have lots of reviews. 

Still, it would be up to your sales and leadership team to decide if EnergySage was a worthwhile place to direct your sales attention. According to EnergySage, solar companies get better leads for way less using their platform, but it will be up to you to decide.

SolarReviews

SolarReviews offers a similar service as EnergySage and is another popular lead gen site for solar. Before even allowing consumers to see reviews, they have to enter detailed information about their energy bill and then personal information like address and a verified phone number. Unfortunately, consumers don’t have be a SolarReviews user to leave a review. So this could mean negative and unverified reviews. 

But it also means that leads you get from SolarReviews are warm leads. SolarReviews profiles are free for installers, but you do have to pay for leads. They claim to get 8 million unique visitors to their website each year and that 30% of solar buyers visit a SolarReviews webpage in their buying process. 

How to get reviews on SolarReviews?

Unlike EnergySage, SolarReviews does make it very simple for consumers to leave reviews, and for installers to ask for them. In fact, “Write a Review” is one of the most prominent features on their header navigation and it would be simple to copy and paste that link into an email or text asking for a client to leave a review. 

Because business profiles on SolarReviews are free, and some consumers are searching there, it’s probably worth it to create a profile for your solar business. And it may even be worth it to ask a few satisfied customers to leave you a review there so you have a positive presence, even if you don’t plan to purchase leads.

Why is Google the Best Place to Get Reviews?

Overall, like we started out with, any positive review is good news for your solar company. But, if no one ever sees that positive review, it’s not going to do you a lot of good. The biggest bang for your buck is still Google reviews at the end of the day. Consumers can access Google reviews for free and without having to give a bunch of personal information to get there like they do on Angi, EnergySage, and SolarReviews.

And, unlike some directories where businesses have to pay just to be there, a Google Business Profile and Google reviews are free to your business. The only cost associated with Google reviews would be if you hired a digital marketing company to help automate your review retrieval process, which would be the case no matter what kinds of reviews you decided to go after. 

If your business already uses one of the directories we mentioned and you get a lot of great leads from them, by all means, throw your weight behind getting more reviews on that platform. 

The added benefit to Google reviews though, is that your Google reviews do more than help consumers realize your business is relevant. They show Google that your business is relevant, so it shows your business as a result in more web searches.

What to Do With Reviews Once You Get Them?

We will keep this short and sweet, because we have a lot of other helpful content about what to do with your reviews. Check out our past vlog/blog post to here the detailed version.

But the short of it is, respond to your reviews! This will be easy to do on Google and Facebook. We recommend having someone on your team have a monthly reminder in their calendar to respond to all reviews. Or, you can have someone on your team respond to them as they come in (Google and Facebook should both give you notifications about new reviews depending on your notification settings.) 

Responding to your reviews shows the business is attentive and relevant. And it shows your customers you truly appreciate them. When it comes to building and creating community, this is one great way to do it.

Depending on your engagement levels with some of the other directories, you might not have the ability to respond to reviews, which is definitely a disadvantage and a reason why we value those reviews a little less. It’s also a disadvantage that you might not be able to respond to negative reviews, which leads us to our next point.

What to do about negative reviews?

Just like we respond to positive reviews, we respond to negative reviews. Respond with respect, dignity, and don’t be defensive. If they were a legitimate customer, go above and beyond and reach out to see how you can make it right. 

We see all the time the benefits of when our clients reach out to a customer who left a negative review. When they do what is in their power to fix the situation, usually the customer happily changes the review. It’s just good business.

But, there are internet trolls and unhappy humans out there that leave negative just because. Either they aren’t even a legitimate customer, or they just will never be satisfied, even if your company did exactly what they should have. In those cases, all you can do is leave a kind response, knowing that other consumers will see through the bogus review and appreciate your company’s responsiveness. Again, you can read more about this in our past blog.

If you feel like the review is completely baseless or not even a real customer, you can ask for Google to take it down, which they may or may not do. You can get started with that here. You may have a harder time getting other directories to take down fraudulent reviews, which is one of their main criticisms.

Start Closing More Deals By Collecting Reviews

Hopefully you’ve seen how effective reviews are as social proof. They reduce friction in the sales process and show consumers and Google that your solar company is relevant and trustworthy.

There are many places you can ask customers to leave you a review, but we still think Google is king. And the best way to get reviews is to have an automated process (like hiring a review marketing team) or have it built into your processes another way so it doesn’t get forgotten about. And lastly, always respond to reviews, even the bad ones! It makes you look good and makes consumers trust you even more. 

At Digital Harvest Solar, many of our packages include managing our client’s review marketing. So if this blog leaves you wanting more reviews but you don’t have the desire or ability to do it in-house, we’d love to help. Schedule a call with our founder, Avram Gonzales, today.

Above all, encourage your team to ask for reviews, and build it into your processes in a way that makes it simple for customers to leave them and you’ll see your sales climb!

Download your FREE Google Business Profile Guide!


Tags

digital harvest solar, digital marketing for solar, digital marketing ideas for solar, digital marketing strategies for solar, facebook reviews, google reviews, online reviews, seo for solar, solar companies, solar marketing, solar marketing ideas, solar marketing strategies, solar seo


Avram Gonzales

About the Author

Avram Gonzales has always been a visionary and a supporter of people. His marketing expertise and desire to help small business owners thrive brought about Digital Harvest.

For each client, Avram creates a plan of attack to dramatically improve their ranking, using our arsenal of proprietary methods. Avram also empowers small businesses to succeed by teaching webinars and guest speaking at various events.

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