4 Steps for Pitching Online Review Management Prospects

“Reviews should be ignored.”

Media Noche Yelp

No one says that of course, they just do it. Most small business owners aren’t managing their reviews well. They don’t ask for reviews and many ignore the random reviews they get. Those who have lots of positive reviews squander them.

They don’t understand.

But it wouldn’t really matter if they did. They’re too busy putting out fires, running from one problem to the next. They’re fighting to keep their doors open, to cover payroll or get new customers.

Many feel they don’t have the time to focus on review management.

Review management is useless…

In their mind, review management is a luxury. Something you do with the extra time and money you have lying around.

Their perception is foggy, incomplete.

Maybe managing their online reviews will bring in business. Maybe marketing their reviews will generate more leads, customers and sales.

But it’s fuzzy.

It feels far off, like a distant possibility.

Why would they focus their attention on something hazy like review management when they have all these problems screaming for their attention now?

They won’t.

Their lack of understanding means they’ll continue to ignore and avoid the problem.

They should continue to ignore their reviews

They don’t have the education, resources or time to give review management their full attention.

They need you.

They need your attention, expertise and time. They need you to teach them, to show them why review management matters. Because they’re hopelessly lost without you.

When good or bad reviews arrive they need to know how to handle them. They need to know how to use customer reviews to market their business.

Business owners need you to pitch them

Negative reviews create pain. Positive reviews, when they’re not managed well creates pain. The non-existent reviews indicates pain. That pain is your opening, it’s a clear indicator that something is wrong.

That’s a very good thing.

That pain means clients are more likely to listen to what you have to say – if your pitch is handled properly. Do it well and you’re far more likely to win clients over.

That’s the problem.

How are you supposed to pitch small businesses? How do you get local businesses to see the value of what you’re offering?

Step 1: You start with No.

You give clients permission to tell you “No” right from the start.

That’s insane.

Who in their right mind approaches clients looking for a No? You do, if you’re a sophisticated seller.

Here’s why.

The word “No” is a gift. It gives prospects the feeling of control. Of safety and security. But it’s also a wonderful gift for those pitching services.

  • “No” flushes out the real issues
  • “No” protects us from making bad decisions
  • “No” enables us to slow things down so we can analyze our decisions without pressure, baggage or expectation
  • “No” gives us control over our decisions

Typically we’re trained to take a Yes or No response literally. We dread hearing the word No, because in our mind, No equals rejection.

For example, No could mean clients…

  • Don’t trust you
  • Don’t have enough information to go on
  • Can’t afford you
  • Are embarrassed or ashamed of the problem
  • Aren’t interested

In fact, there’s a long list of things a “No” can mean. But you’ll never be able to figure out what it means specifically if you take it literally.

Does this mean you should become an overbearing spammer who bulldozes the prospects you’re pitching?

LOL, No.

When you hear a “No” it means you ask for clarification, like this.

“what about my pitch isn’t working for you?”

When you go into your pitch, give prospects permission to say No, and you’re more likely to get to the right kind of Yes. Do that and you’re ready for…

Step 2: Choosing your targets

When it comes to a cold pitch, specialization is key. Here’s why. Almost every prospect you approach will be skeptical, distrustful, afraid. In their mind, you’re out to take their money.

You know this isn’t true.

You’re smart so you’ll probably be looking for clients you can serve. You’re looking to make an impact, to dig them out of the hole they’re in.

You need a lead magnet.

A risk free way these clients can get instant solutions to the problems they’re having. Here’s why that’s so important.

Lead magnets accomplish two important things.

1. Solving problems. Clients want the pain to stop. They’re looking for a way to turn things around. A good lead magnet shows them how.

2. Training clients. Clients are like kids. They’ll test your boundaries, test you to see if you’re truly an expert.

Lead magnets come in all shapes and sizes. Books, whitepapers, tools, resources, guides, infographics, consults – you name it. A good lead magnet does two things. (1.) solves a problem and (2.) trains your clients to do business your way, ruining them for the competition.

Specialization is key.

Clients are looking for a depth of knowledge, expertise. They’re drawn to specialists who understand their business. They’re repelled by generalists who lack specificity.

Creating a lead magnet that’s focused around their specific issues gives you a tremendous amount of credibility and power. Once you have your specialty you’re ready for…

Step 3: Finding new clients

Let’s say you’ve decided to specialize, focusing your pitch initially on restaurants. You’ll need to choose your geographic area and narrow your search.

  • Rural or metropolitan?
  • One location or multiple?
  • No reviews or lots of negative reviews?
  • Mom & Pops or established player?

Finding new clients is easy when you know what you’re looking for. In our example, we’re looking for small Mom & Pops restaurants with a single metropolitan location, and a disproportionately high amount of negative reviews.

Next, we head to our list of restaurant review sites. For our example here we’re looking at sites like…

  • Google Places
  • Facebook pages
  • Yelp
  • Zagat
  • Yahoo Local
  • OpenTable
  • Zomato

These review sites have something in common. They allow you to save, bookmark or collect businesses. You’ll be asked to sign up for an account before you’re able to bookmark or save restaurants like this…

or this…

Once you have an account, start browsing. You can search these review sites directly or speed up your search using Google and advanced search operators like these:

“worst restaurants” AND “location” site:yelp.com

Focus your attention on curating a list of restaurants that meet your target audience criteria. Negative reviews, positive reviews, zero reviews, you can serve them all. When you find a prospect that’s part of your target audience, add them to your list! Use a review scanning tool to create a profile of your contenders. This tells you about the overall sentiment as well as the platform mix for the prospects in your industry (NOTE: this scanning tool is a free feature of Grade.us).

Kind of like this.

These are the businesses you’ll reach out to when you’re ready to…

Step 4: Pitch your targets

It’s time to focus your attention on the businesses you can actually help. A great potential client…

  • Is teachable, or willing to help others
  • Is not abusive, corrosive or toxic
  • Realizes they have a serious problem
  • Feels overwhelmed with customer responses
  • Knows they’re in over their head

Avoid toxic clients like the plague. You’re looking for clients who don’t know how to solve their problem. Looking at their reviews, this should be fairly obvious.

  • If they have negative reviews, your pitch should amplify the problem and the consequences of doing nothing. Your pitch should show them why they need help from an authority, like you.
  • What if they have lots of positive reviews? Believe it or not they need even more help. Show them how the reviews they’re already getting can increase the amount of traffic, leads and sales they receive. Show them how you’ll use reviews they already have to dramatically decrease their cost per lead/click. Use specificity to boost credibility and increase your persuasive force.
  • Maybe they have zero reviews. Maybe they’re completely in the dark about review management. Believe it or not this scenario is the easiest approach to make. There’s no misconceptions to fix, no myths to bust, no bad habits to undo. So how do you make your approach? Include feedback from existing or potential customers in your pitch. Both negative and positive feedback amplifies the strength of your argument, especially if their own customers have something specific they want to say.

Whatever their situation, you’re looking for ideal customers. It’s important that they meet your criteria. Use demographics, psychographics, culture, company/psychological profiles to find the customers you’re looking for.

Dump any prospect that fails to meet your criteria.

Next, approach potential candidates with an irresistible offer. This depends largely on you, your business and the incentives you’re willing to make.

You could offer for example…

  • A 50 percent increase in positive reviews or your money back!
  • Are you coaching clients to give you bad review? Take our quiz to find out!
  • We’ll show you how to boost customer traffic to your site using reviews you already have, for free!
  • Use this strategy to win 30% of your negative reviewers back!

An irresistible offer solves a problem, giving clients something they desperately want. How are you supposed to figure that out?

Easy, you ask.

You reach out to a client in your list and you ask for a 5 minute interview. Then you ask about details that matter to them.

  • What scares them the most about negative reviews?
  • How do they handle negative reviews now?
  • How many of their negative reviewers buy again?
  • What do you want customers to write in their reviews?

Then, sit back and listen.

Once you have the answers you’re looking for you’re ready to make your pitch.

Just one problem.

What do you say and how do you say it? That’s easy too. You simply feed new clients the answers you received from your interview, like this.

Hey Jan,

What if I could show you how to win 30 percent of your customers back? You know, the ones who left you after leaving a negative review. What if I showed you how, free of charge?

Would you be interested?

This quiz has your answer. First 10 people get one-on-one support, free of charge.

Let me know,

Andrew McDermott

P.S. No pressure here. Feel free to say No if this isn’t right for you.

See what I did there?

I gave them an irresistible offer that included:

  • An invitation to say No
  • An irresistible offer
  • Urgency triggers
  • Fear of loss
  • Phrasing that positions you as an authority

My pitch was short and sweet, getting right to the point. Include these items in your pitch and your conversion rate shoots way up.

What happens afterwards?

You send clients to your lead magnet where they’re given two choices, convert or leave.

Those who convert receive more content via an autoresponder sequence, selling them on the value of your product or service. Presenting you with a consistent stream of fresh, ready-to-buy leads.

Only there’s one last problem.

A cold pitch won’t work

Cold calling, cold pitching, these strategies don’t work anymore. That’s the fear right? Inbound marketing is where it’s at.

That’s the thing.

This is inbound marketing. You’re using your pitch to drive clients to content in the form of a lead magnet. That offer leads to a follow up sequence, which leads to a sale.

That’s all inbound marketing. And inbound marketing works.

It’s no different here.

You’re not approaching clients with a solution to a non-existent problem. You’re focusing on clients who’ve received a painful reminder on the importance of online review management.

These clients know reviews shouldn’t be ignored

They’re in the trenches, dealing with one unhappy customer after another, they aren’t managing their reviews well.

Because they don’t know how.

But it wouldn’t really matter if they did. They’re too busy putting out fires, running from one problem to the next. They know they need help from a professional. Someone who can make the pain stop and the profits flow.

They need you.

Approach these clients with an irresistible offer and they’ll see review management as the profit center it is. Attract a flood of positive reviews from happy customers and your expertise becomes priceless.

Source: Business 2 Community