THE BLOG
09/11/2013 01:29 pm ET | Updated Nov 11, 2013

Reviews Equal Revenue: 4 Times Trust Drives Conversions in the Sales Cycle

Online reviews improve every step of the sales process. Everyone knows new business is far harder to win than repeat business and online recommendations and endorsements familiarize a new lead in ways no other content can. In short, reviews equal revenue. With 76% of people seeking online reviews before choosing a local business, those local businesses without reviews are already losing clients every day. Below we'll explore the four instances where reviews come into play in every sales cycle.

1 - Convert Visitors → Leads
Reviews transform online shoppers into leads by establishing trust and credibility as potential customers are first learning about your business. Who better to advertise your business than your happiest past clients? Visitors who read reviews are 30% more likely to take action and become a live prospect via a phone call, contact form or click. For a typical insurance agency, losing 30% off the top of your lead funnel translates into $100,000s each year in lost policies.

2 - Convert Leads → New Customers
Even after demonstrating interest, in a competitive marketplace customers still have a number of providers to choose from that can meet their needs. Once a connection is established, reviews drive customers to choose YOU as their provider over your competitors. Visitors who read reviews are 68% more likely to convert to a sale. Capitalize on interested buyers by standing out from the competition with great reviews.

3 - Turn New Customers → Repeat Clients
Reviews not only help you attract new clients to your business, but they also aid in retention. Reviews stand as a constant reminder to your clients that you are the best provider for their needs. Simply getting a happy client to write a positive review about your business reinforces their positive experience and their commitment to you as a provider. Businesses with reviews drive 18% higher loyalty than businesses without any reviews.

4 - Turn Repeat Clients → Referrals
Reviews stand as a lasting, powerful testament to the legions of happy customers you have served in your career. While 77% of financial services customers would recommend their provider to a friend, few businesses actually collect and store this opportunity in the form of great reviews.

Every business knows referral business is the best kind of business, it establishes trust and credibility through longstanding personal connections. Businesses that spend $100 on SEM will see anywhere from 5-25 clicks, which isn't a lot. Letting your customers do your marketing via positive reviews and spending that same $100 on managing those reviews, is the most effective and cost efficient approach.

As customers increasingly begin the buying process online, the entire sales cycle has changed. Trust and authenticity are no longer established exclusively through handshakes and face-to-face meetings. Online reviews serve as a powerful signal of quality and drive purchasing decisions before a first meeting is even won.

Local businesses must embrace online reviews to thrive and survive. Wouldn't you rather be leading the charge than lagging behind competitors? The good news is, if you provide great service, you're more than halfway to preparing a great online foundation. Tap into your network of past clients and existing connections to get your word-of-mouth referrals online and turn online reviews into more business!