Are you going to the restaurant with 1.8 stars or the one with 4.7 stars?

How about the auto body shop that has no reviews compared to a competitor with 120 honest reviews?

This is the way consumers choose (or don’t choose) your business!

The leapfrog marketing concept relates to the effort HVACR distributors put forth to help loyal contractors market themselves. In other words, distributors leap over their customers (contractors) and market to their customers’ customers. You obviously want your contractors to complete as much work as possible. The more work they have, the more they come back to you. The more they come back to you, the more money you make. Makes sense, right?

So, how do they get more work? One important tactic is to help your contractors solicit online reviews from their happy customers.

Consumers trust word-of-mouth and online reviews more than anything else. Bright Local, a company that focuses on local listings and reviews, found the following:

  • 84% of people trust online reviews
  • 58% of people say that the star rating is most important
  • 74% say that positive reviews make them trust a company more

If you think about it, that makes a lot of sense. Anyone can tell you how great their product or service is; the true test is getting their customers to reciprocate those claims.

So, are you AND your contractors utilizing online reviews? If so, how many reviews do you, or they, have? Remember rating scores are weighted averages. You may have a 5-star rating today because only one customer has left a review, but imagine if two unhappy customers (hopefully there are none!) were to leave 1-star ratings? That would drop you down to a 2.33 rating in a heartbeat!

Start Getting Reviews!

One way to get started is pretty simple: just ask your customers! You’d be amazed how a quick email to a loyal customer can lead to a raving 5-star review in just minutes. If you’ve truly treated a customer well, they will gladly take 1 minute out of their day to leave a review.

Bright Local states that 7 out of 10 customers will leave a review if asked!

We’ve incorporated a review system directly into some of our clients’ sales process, too. Every time a sale is completed, an email is automatically sent. Automation like this can streamline the online review process, reducing time spent on the matter.

Social media is another great place to garner reviews. Chances are, if people “like” or follow you on social media, they’ve had an enjoyable experience with your company. Asking them to leave a review (with an easy-to-follow link) is sure to generate more reviews.

As an HVACR distributor, you should pride yourself on your reputation too. Contractors will select you based on the performance, price and the support you provide them.

They also do business with you based on your professional reputation. Contractors have plenty of options to choose from – all of which have similar parts and services. Why should they choose you?

How do you stand out from other distributors? An easy way for contractors to find this information is to look online. A quick search can detail what your customers (other contractors) are saying about you. Whether those reviews are good or bad, responded to or not, is up to you.

Your potential contractors are just like end-users. They’re going to take these reviews into account before selecting their distributor.

Our seminar at the HARDI Marketing and Sales Conference in September will go more in depth about the importance of customer reviews. We will also cover how to get your contractors to do the same to not only promote their business but in effect, you as a distributor as well!

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