How You Can Leverage Reviews For Your HVAC Plumbing & Electrical Small Business With Brian Greenberg

SBM 638 | Leveraging Reviews

SBM 638 | Leveraging Reviews

 

How do you change the mind of an entire industry that has branded you in a negative way? Brian Greenberg, CEO of True Blue Life Insurance, believes that leveraging reviews is the key to turning things around. Brian has a license in selling life, health, property, and casualty insurance in all 50 U.S. states. He sits with Tersh Blissett & Josh Crouch and shares how he has managed to come off as the good guy in the industry whose agents get a bad rap. Listen in and learn more as Brian discusses the different strategies to get customers coming to you without ever having to do a sales pitch.

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How You Can Leverage Reviews For Your HVAC Plumbing & Electrical Small Business With Brian Greenberg

We’re going to talk with Brian Greenberg about a cool topic which is reviews. We’ve talked about primarily Google My Business reviews in the past. We’re going to deviate from that topic a little bit, but also how to leverage those reviews. A lot of people, including us, talk a lot about getting reviews, but we haven’t ever talked about what to do with those reviews once you get them and how to leverage them. I’m super excited to have Brian on the show. Welcome to the show, Brian.

Thanks for having me, Tersh.

Tell us a little bit about you, your background and what makes you an expert in leveraging these reviews once we get them.

I’ve been making a living from online businesses exclusively since about 2005. I bring in traffic usually from search engines as well as places like Google My Business, Yelp and the Better Business Bureau. I have a janitorial supply website and a touch-free restroom supply website. Our main website is True Blue life Insurance. It’s a life insurance website where we sell life insurance in all 50 states online.

That’s a very difficult industry. Life insurance agents get a bad rap. Our goal is to come off as the good guy in the industry. The main way we do that is by leveraging reviews. We have a much higher conversion rate. We’re able to sell policies without ever having to talk to customers and we’ve had a lot of success doing it. I’ve written a book called The Salesman Who Doesn’t Sell: A Marketing Guide To Selling While You Sleep, where I discuss all the different strategies to basically get customers coming to you and setting an appointment without you having to do any sales pitch.

To have a life insurance company in all 50 states online is weird in a cool way. Do you have any representatives in each state or is it strictly sold online?

It’s strictly sold online. We do have agents, but they sell over the phone and online. We have agents who work remotely. I have agents in California, Tennessee and one in Kentucky. They’re licensed in all 50 states. We bring the leads in. In life insurance, they want us to talk to the customer. We call them and verify their information. There are no real sales going on. It’s calling them, being nice about it and finishing the application.

The only way to win is to say sorry and fix it. Click To Tweet

You started in 2005. You had forums a little bit on the internet. That’s where I got most of my information from. To be the one gathering digital information at that point is cool.

I’ve seen its evolution, which lets me have an overhead picture of how everything works and being able to bring people in from Google. From the very beginning, I’ve been having a high conversion rate primarily from being transparent, conveying that we’re an honest and large company and we do it with reviews. It’s been a great life, bringing in leads. If that’s one of the things you don’t have to worry about, it makes things a lot easier.

Let’s dive into bringing in the leads and where we’re getting leads from.

Google is making a big play towards local. When you go into Google and you search for something, they know exactly where you are. They also know that if you’re searching for an HVAC company, you’re going to want to find someone local. I highly recommend that you have a website. It doesn’t have to be a big website. It could be something simple.

You can invest maybe $1,500 in a website. On that site, you want to list all your services. It’s very important to have a contact page, maybe even something for people to set up an appointment, a free consultation and how much you charge. It’s a great opportunity to list all the questions that you constantly have like, “What is the initial charge? Do you cover insurance?” Answer all those questions right online.

There’s very little need for them to contact you and start asking questions. Let the website do it for you. That’s a great thing. Another thing we’ll go into is having properties on other social media sites. Maybe have a Facebook page, a Google My Business page, because they show up in the search engines when people type in those things.

Tersh, what’s interesting is that we found that right before somebody decides to call you, make an appointment or do a purchase view, they’ll do a search over the years. They’ll search the name of your company, followed by reviews or complaints. They want to see if other people are happy with your service or unhappy. If you have all these five-star reviews, it’s this instant credibility. That closes the deal but be aware that they’re going to do that.

SBM 638 | Leveraging Reviews
The Salesman Who Doesn’t Sell: A Marketing Guide for Making Money While You Sleep

Do you ever find that if you have too many five-star reviews, it is bad? I’ve heard that if you have 1,000 5-star reviews and no 4, no 3, no 2, no 1s that people come across it as fake. Is that true in your opinion?

I don’t think so, Tersh. If you own the reviews, then you post them on your website. There’s a way to post reviews on your website, which is very important. Don’t have a random review, say a name and you have no idea what they bought or the service or the date of the review. All reviews need to be in Amazon format. List the stars, the comments, the first name, the city they’re in, or maybe the service you offered and the date. That way, they know it’s legitimate. Otherwise, it’s fairy dust.

The other thing is, if you get reviews on these third-party sites like Yelp, the Better Business Bureau, Google My Business or Angie’s List, people are very savvy. They know those are legitimate reviews. You can’t fake those. You’ll see that on Amazon, but you won’t seek too many fake reviews on these websites. By no means, go for five-star reviews. If someone gives you a one-star review, try to get them to take it down. Although if you do have a bad review, how you respond to it is extremely important.

How would you respond to that? What’s your take on that?

Never be confrontational. The only way to win is to say you’re sorry and to fix it like a normal argument with a family member. First off, sympathize. “I understand. I would be upset, too,” and then fix it right away. “What we’re going to do is I’m going to offer you 20% off the service or a refund,” whatever it is, offer them something right away. Don’t do excuses at that point. Let them know that this is not how you do business and that you’re going to fix the problem. “It’s been to our attention.” You’re going to fix it. That’s it. Say sorry.

The last thing you got to ask is, “Does that make you happy? Are you happy?” Usually, when people write a bad review, what they want is a response. You don’t want to say tough. “You’re wrong.” The only way to win is to be the victim almost. It’s weird to put the karma back on them. They left you a bad review, but we’re human. If you see that in a response in a bad review, it’s golden.

Yes. You sympathize with the business.

You’re going to fix it if something goes wrong. That’s what people want.

I’ve heard that you should consider only replying twice. On that second reply, get it offline so that you can have that conversation on the phone. What do you think about that?

Learn your lesson and implement something to help prevent that from happening again in the future. Click To Tweet

That’s the first thing I do. If I get a bad review, I’m contacting the person outside of that review system by calling or emailing them. I’m making it right outside that review system. It’s the same thing I said. Make it right. After you make it right, giving them a refund and they still give you a one-star review doesn’t sit well with the human being.

It’s important that you don’t ask for them to take it down right away, maybe. You could, but always ask right. As long as you give them something and they’re happy, you ask them, “Are you happy? Can you take down the review?” Sometimes I’ll send someone a check. I wait until they cash it. If you send somebody credit to your credit card, wait until it credits. “Did you get it? Did it work? Reviews are very important to our business. We rely on them. Would you consider taking down the review?”

You’ll look at my reviews. You won’t believe how many I’m able to get down. It is incredible. It’s hard because I see some companies give something to a person, but they’ll never ask you to take down the review. Even if you respond perfectly, a negative review could be extremely detrimental to your business. Having these negative reviews could cost you tens of thousands of dollars. The first thing you need to do is try to get it off. Sometimes, they’ll even change it to a five-star review. They say, “These guys handled it so well and professionally.” If they’re fighting and still won’t give it, then you reply very maturely.

We had that happen one time where it was a communication error on our behalf. We dropped the ball completely. We reached out to her. She ended up changing it over to a four-star review. It went pretty well. She called us back for some more work, but we learned a lesson and implemented something to help prevent that from happening again in the future. That helped out.

Even though it was a stab to the heart to me as a business owner, it was still very valuable because we were able to improve that process. We hopefully won’t make that mistake again in the future. Everybody will be happier, even the clients, because the other clients who never said anything are even worse than this woman here saying something and letting us know that we had dropped the ball here. She did us a service by doing that and allowing us to fix it.

People will rarely leave a negative review without trying to resolve it directly first, whether with the service person when they’re there or by email. Very rarely will they do a review and if they do, they want you to reach back out. Never react and fight them. Don’t do it. It’s a mess.

It’s so comical if I read a review where they’ve gotten into an argument. I’m like, “This is drama days of our lives going on here.”

You think, “It’s not true. I’m going to get him to take it down. I’m going to call Google. I’m going to call Yelp.” You can’t do it. No amount of legal money can get a third-party vendor to take down a review. It doesn’t happen. Don’t think that you could sue somebody over this because it’s their opinion. If you’re writing a bad review about somebody, don’t get into contract stuff. You can’t dispute that stuff.

SBM 638 | Leveraging Reviews
Leveraging Reviews: Right before somebody decides to call you or make a purchase from you, they’ll search the name of your company, followed by reviews or complaints. It’s this instant credibility that closes the deal.

 

How do we leverage these? Can we go into more detail about leveraging?

Let’s talk about the third-party stuff like Angie’s List, and then we’ll go into what you can do on your own website. The first thing to do is try to gather some reviews. You don’t need that many. You’d be surprised that 1, 2, 3 is plenty, especially if you spread them over. You’re going to want to choose one main one, whether that be Google My Business, Angie’s List, or Yelp.

Yelp is tough because sometimes they don’t even display all the reviews and that’s upsetting. I have a webpage where you can email somebody a short little link that brings them right to the Google My Business page where they put in at the star. When you ask somebody for a review, only ask the customers that are happy. It’s a mistake sending it to everybody. Get a couple of them.

Those places rank so well in the search engines. That gets you that last step protection when somebody looks you up, followed by complaints or reviews. On those listings, make sure you fill up the entire description area. They give you a thousand characters. Put your whole about page on there. Put everything. You’re going to want to put every service you offer and every city you’re in. Google needs words. If someone types in, they need the words. Fill it up. Put your hours. Try to put as much as you can on these listings. Don’t put it up. Set it and leave it. You could set it and leave it but make sure that you fill it up first.

Images are so important. So many people overlook that on these social media sites. Hire a professional. A professional photographer costs maybe $150. You go onto Thumbtack.com and you say, “I’m looking for a photographer.” Maybe take an executive headshot, some headshots of the truck or some of your employees. They come down to you. They take all your professional images. They touch it up, too. You look good no matter what.

You put it on there. Five-star reviews coupled with good images, it’s golden. Tersh, so many people have a hard time valuing reviews. I’ve been doing it a long time. You see an explosion of business from the return of ROI and all the studies out there like restaurants. Five-star review on, say, Google My Business or Angie’s List is worth $250, I say and $100 every year after that. The more people you’re going to close essentially, they’re going to contact you. If you get something on your own site, it’s not as valuable because you can choose not to display it or not. They’re more worth $100.

It’s important that people know the value but also know that a negative review can cost you tens of thousands of dollars. You’ll have to pay a reputation company and it’s a mess. Whatever you do, I hope you guys haven’t made that mistake yet. If you have, please learn from others’ mistakes on that. Don’t do it. People will find that online.

When people write a bad review, what they really want is a response. Click To Tweet

Is there a good thing to put on your website? Let’s dive into that quick.

Let’s say you have some five-star reviews, promote them. It is terrible when you have five-star reviews and you don’t let anyone know about them. Put it especially on your contact page. I put it on every page on my site, on the footer. On the home page, I highlight it. What you want to do is put a seal. Usually, these companies will provide it to you. They’ll give you a little snippet of code. You give it to your developer. Sometimes you can put it on yourself.

If they don’t have a seal, take an image of the Google My Business logo. Spend that little bit of time and link it right to your review page. The increase of business you’ll get is proven by study after study. Make sure you do it, even if you don’t have reviews, so they can see your business listing and all these descriptions in your hours. They can call you. Make sure you promote those on every page of your website.

I don’t know if you guys like the Better Business Bureau. I love it. They’ve done a lot of studies and found that the Better Business Bureau is the most persuasive seal that you could have. It costs maybe $500, $600, but you get to put that beautiful seal on your website. If you can get a review on the Better Business Bureau, usually, they start you off with an A+ rating. It’s golden. It’s well worth the money.

Don’t you feel the BBBs dying away or anything like that?

I don’t think so, no. They’re making a big play for online companies for them to display those reviews. The other thing is Google My Business and especially the Better Business Bureau. When they do a search on Google, you’ll see all the stars right on your listing. It’s called the rich snippet. They have it built-in. It makes your listing pop.

As we wrap up here, is there anything else that I’d forgot to ask here?

There are a lot of readers in the service industry. What I’ve done in my business to make reviews a priority is I bonus our employees when they get a five-star review. There are times if I’m making a push, I’ll bonus the employees $25 if they get a better review on any one of these sites. A lot of times, they can get reviews on three different sites. If they give one copy of the comment they give, email and say, “Can you put it on the other ones?”

SBM 638 | Leveraging Reviews
Leveraging Reviews: If you do have a bad review, how you respond to it is extremely important.

 

The most persuasive is, especially if you’ve done a good job for somebody, there’s the reciprocity effect. If you ask for a very low-key review, they’ll do it. Make sure you bonus your employees. It could be $10. It could be $5. Wet their beak a little bit. Know the value of these reviews. It’s $250 a piece and it’s golden.

What would you say the website was to learn more about you?

I’d like to give all your readers a copy of my book in PDF format and also audio. They can go to BrianJGreenberg.com/Mastery.

I appreciate it so much. I hope everybody checks out your book and gets a ton of value. I know they will. You’re full of knowledge. You have experience since 2005 and that blows me away. It’s before everybody else jumps on the online bandwagon and that’s cool. I’d love to pick your brain some more about some stuff you’ve experienced over the years. Thank you again for coming to the show. I look forward to talking to you again.

Thanks for having me. I hope I have provided some value to your readers.

Readers, feel free to reach out to us. Go to the website and learn more about Brian and his business. As always, my email address is Tersh@ServiceEmperor.com. I hope you have a great day. Thank you again for reading the show focused on service business owners, managers and technicians who are considering becoming business owners themselves as well.

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About Brian Greenberg

SBM 638 | Leveraging ReviewsThe internet provides a remarkable platform large and small businesses alike, and learning how to take advantage of this incredible tool can mean more publicity, more customers, and more sales – all with less work for entrepreneurs.

A successful SEO marketing professional with decades of experience developing passive-income businesses online, Brian Greenberg–the salesman who doesn’t sell–shares his unique, time-honed strategies to drastically increase sales without putting in overtime hours.

This book is an indispensable resource for any professional looking to increase business, from doctors to restaurant owners to e-commerce entrepreneurs.
A successful SEO marketing professional with decades of experience developing passive-income businesses online, Brian Greenberg–the salesman who doesn’t sell–shares his unique, time-honed strategies to drastically increase sales without putting in overtime hours.

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