Advice on Soliciting Past Clients & What To Ask
by Heidi J. Ellsworth, owner, HJE Consulting
(Editor’s Note: Heidi J. Ellsworth, a graduate of the University of Portland, has been working in the roofing industry since 1993. Having held positions with EagleView® Technology Corporation, Carlisle® Construction Materials, Eco-Star™, and Malarkey Roofing Products®, Ellsworth is now the founder of the roofing-focused marketing firm, HJE Consulting Group. She is also the author of Sales and Marketing for Roofing Contractors, a guide for small businesses in the roofing industry.)
It has become more important than ever to know what your customers are saying about you. According to the 2020 Local Consumer Review Survey from www.brightlocal.com, 93% of consumers used the internet to find a local business in the last year, with 34% searching every day. Further, 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2020, which is up from 81% in 2019, and 31% of consumers say they read more reviews in 2020 because of COVID-19, while 34% read fewer. An excellent way to stay in front of what your customers are saying and be sure that future customers hear the good reviews is to gather testimonials.
Building owners and homeowners want to work with companies that have a good reputation and have completed exemplary work on other buildings and homes like their own. Yet, many roofing contractors are shy about asking for reviews or feel that it is not professional. When it is done the right way with the right questions, it is absolutely professional. If your sales teams are currently completing their sales cycle correctly, it should be very easy to get testimonials and feedback on every job.
One of the most important parts of a commercial roofing installation is the final inspection, and that is the perfect time to ask how the company did. Sales teams need to ask and be ready to deal with positive and negative feedback. Positive feedback needs to be recorded and turned into testimonials. Negative feedback needs to be dealt with, corrected, and then the sales team needs to ask again. Here are five key pieces of advice to use when asking for testimonials:
When the roof is done and looks great, ask for the testimonial during the final inspection. The longer the salesperson or roofing company owner waits to confirm satisfaction, it increases the danger of losing the new roof glow.
While on the final inspection, ask the customer if it is ok to record their testimonial and take pictures of them on the completed roof. Any smartphone can record comments or video the testimonial.
Write It for Them
If they don’t want to be recorded, write down what they say instead. Be sure to be prepared with the selling points you want to make to future customers and include them in the questions. By writing or recording what they say during the final inspection and sending back it back to the customer for approval, you have the chance to make the points you want, and you make it easy for the customer.
Questions To Ask
Ask questions that run the life of the sale, including how they found you, how was the estimating experience, did they feel they had all the information needed to make an informed decision, and how do they like the final product. Do not be scared to ask how to do things better in the future. You will get stronger testimonials and the opportunity for improvement.
Start With a Compliment
If the customer is not at the final inspection, call them immediately and ask for their feedback. Be sure to lead with the compliment of how much you respect their review of the job and proceed with the interview.
After getting their feedback and testimonials, don’t forget to ask about future work and what else they may need. The best time is when they are happy with their new roof and they may refer you to another business or share information about their next project.
Finally, share the results online on your website, social media, newsletters, and any other online opportunities where homeowners are asking questions. Take the time to gather, polish, and share the greatness of your company.