Working in a highly-competitive industry where customers are known to spend a lot of time shopping around before making any kind of commitment could be tricky. This is especially true if you’re a new company or one that might not already have much going for your business in terms of social proof. 

One of the best ways to grow your customer base is by taking advantage of your past work to help drive new customers to your company through the use of review and referral programs. In this article, we’ll outline a few methods and best practices to help you get new business through your previous and existing customers.

Make getting reviews and referrals easy 

Before starting any outreach to begin gathering testimonials, it’s important to make sure that you have a system in place to actually collect, organize, and display your reviews. Add a page to your website specifically for this purpose. You’ll want inquiring homeowners to easily be able to find this information and browse through it. 

This page should also include a space for your previous customers to write own thoughts about your business/solar installation. Once you have this section built and functional (don’t forget to test that all your forms are working correctly!), you can begin to link to this page in any outreach emails or digital communication and mention it on any paperwork or business cards you may be handing off to your clients and leads. 

On that note, keep the page URL simple enough for someone to type out in their browser if they receive the link on paper or out loud. For example, a link formatted like “yoursolarcompany.com/review” should be memorable and easy enough to access no matter how you ask for the review. 

Once your website is done, you’ll want to double-check that your company facebook page is set up to receive reviews in your settings, and you have created a Google My Business account for your yourself as well. Both of these pages will show up in local searches from homeowners interested in solar quotes and information and should be open to accept feedback from customers. 

Being active in as many different places as possible should already be a part of your marketing strategy, and having reviews displayed prominently on social media will help guide potential customers to make the right decision and choose your company to get their solar project done right. You want to prevent searches for your business to yield empty pages and abandoned social media in the results. 

Incentivize homeowners to rate and review your services with rewards or perks

So you’re all set up and ready to begin collecting reviews and referrals but you’re having a hard time figuring out how to go about getting clients to take some time to review your work or refer a friend or family member? The easiest way to solve this problem is by incentivizing them to do so by way of rewards or perks. 

For anyone who has bought a solar system through your company, a discount off of an add-on, free upgrade or an extension on their warranty will work wonders and have them typing out a review in no time. 

Referral requests should have a benefit included both for the referring party as well as the potential new client. You can offer the same benefits as above to the existing customer, and hand out a discount to the person they refer to you. Additionally, you can opt to give everyone a choice in which reward they would prefer to claim, be it a discount, gift card, extended warranty or upgrade, etc. to further incentivize people to spread the word.

If the process is easy enough, and the reward is worth the effort, you can expect the reviews and referrals to start pouring in in no time!

Decide when and how to ask 

Now that you have your website set up and your social media pages ready to go, it’s time to start reaching out to happy customers and set up a system for all new and current clients to start leaving reviews for your company. 

To start, you can send an email to your previous customers outlining the details your new review/referral programs with the link to your website that you set up in step 1. Once your past deals are taken care of, you’ll need to work out a system for asking for reviews from the deals you currently have in your pipeline. 

While there are different times in the sales/installation process that would be ideal to ask for a review, your team should know to play it by ear depending on the person they’re working with. 

Some homeowners may be keen to leave a review by the time they sign the contract, while others might be more responsive if you ask later on in the process, or even after their system has been installed, and they have a chance to receive their first electric bill after their PV system has begun to generate power.

There are also a multitude of different ways to ask. You can do it in person while on-site, by email (either automated or personal through the sales rep), or, if you use a solar panel software like Solargraf, in the project files and documents attached to your e-proposal. 

Lastly, there is one more way to guarantee that you encounter homeowners willing to take some time to leave you a review or trust your work enough to bring you referred customers…

Do a good job

Above all else, exceptional work and customer service is the best way to guarantee that all the methods listed above get you tons of good reviews. Clean work, a good attitude and a well-trained team will do wonders for your company’s reputation and will surely help your solar company grow. 

Bonus: Respond to your bad reviews 

You can also keep a good reputation through responding to any negative reviews that come your way, as long as you remember to keep a level head while doing so. Unhappy customers, whether their feelings are warranted or not, will often take to the internet and social media to express their feelings towards your company.

A response to a bad review, whether it’s to clarify an issue with the job or to apologize can show onlookers that you care about your work and the happiness of your customers. Not only does a public response increase the likelihood of the reviewer to come back and change their review to a more positive one by 33%, there is also a 34% chance that they will return and even delete their original review entirely. 

In Closing

When it comes to running a solar business in the 2020’s, reviews whether they’re positive or not matter. With a simple webpage and the right system in place to ask for and gather reviews, you’ll start seeing positive results in no time. 

Once you see the new leads coming in as a result of your reviews and referrals, make sure you have a good solar design tool on your side to help you manage and quote all the extra business. With an easy-to-use interface, beautiful proposals with Shading Analysis & Good, Better, Best options, permit & stamp orders and financing options, you’ll have all you need to continue growing. Book your free Solargraf demo today to learn more about why you need an all-in-one solar software in your toolkit. 

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