Customer reviews and testimonials are one of the best ways to increase sales. This is especially true for small-and medium sized businesses that don’t have a huge marketing budget.

Consider this statistic: 90 percent of shoppers say they take online reviews and testimonials into consideration before they make a purchase. Therefore, if you aren’t actively encouraging customers to comment on your products and services, you are potentially losing out on a lot of business.

So why is it so hard to get customers to write reviews? Well, maybe customers aren’t really the issue. Instead maybe we should look at ourselves and ask why it is so hard to ASK customers for reviews? And asking for reviews is difficult. There is no way around it. It’s kind of like asking someone to pay you a compliment. It just feels wrong. That’s why so many business owners back away from the task.

While this aversion is natural, it also can be costly. Customer reviews and testimonials are some of the most effective marketing techniques out there. The best part are that they are absolutely free. In light of these facts, business owners simply can’t pass up the opportunity to ask customers to review their products and services.

While asking for testimonials is never easy, there are some ways make it as painless and effective as possible.

Build solid relationships. Asking for reviews face-to-face or over the phone is the most effective way to get someone to agree to write a testimonial. But here’s the caveat: you need to have a relationship with that person. So make sure you know your customers (which is the best way to keep them loyal in the first place). Customers that know you and appreciate your products or services will be more than happy to help you out with a testimonial. The fact that you took the time to actually stop in or call them is simply icing on the cake.

Email it the right way. In some cases asking for reviews by email is your only choice (and make sure it is before you ask this way). When requesting a review via email take the following steps:

  • Make sure the email comes from someone they know. Their sales rep, for example. And make sure the email is signed by the person who sent the email.
  • Include a prominent call-to-action button in the email that makes it very clear to your customer where to go to submit his or her review. It also encourages them to submit the review sooner rather than later.
  • Use plain text.

Evaluate. If you aren’t getting a lot of positive responses, go back to the drawing board and evaluate your approach.

Obtaining customer reviews can be a tricky prospect. However, the payoff is too significant to ignore!

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