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Asking for reviews

105491648 I received an e-mail asking the following question:

"I saw you speak on social media at a recent conference and have a follow up question. Thanks to your presentation, I've been updating our website, Facebook and blog over the past month.  

We were interested in hearing your take on the best way to get our clients to submit a review to the different websites like Dex and other assorted sites.  Is there something that we as a company can actively do to encourage our clients to review our work, or is it just better to hope that someone will do it on their own?

Obviously paying for someone to review is underhanded, but is it bad business practice to encourage a few of our better clients to post something?"

There are actually a couple good questions in the e-mail.  Let's dig into them.

Is it wrong to pay for reviews?

Yes, it's not only unethical but it will eventually be discovered and exposed.  This is never a good idea.  In today's world of cynical consumers and the expectation that you're going to be transparent -- paying (or faking) reviews can only lead to trouble you don't need.

Is it wrong to encourage some of our better clients to post reviews?

There's nothing wrong with inviting your customers to review your work.  (Or give you a recommendation on LinkedIn, or review your book on Amazon, etc.)  You can do that in a variety of ways:

~ Make a personal request over the phone, letter or in an e-mail.  Be sure you make it easy. Give them the exact link or URL so they don't have to search for it.  Remind your customers that also you're always available to talk if they have a concern, complaint or compliment about your team or organization.

~ Add links to review sites on your website, Facebook page or blog.  One way to really encourage clients to click on the links is to post some recent reviews on your site.  They'll see that others are reviewing you and also recognize that they might get some publicity/exposure too.

If you do this, you can't just post the awesome reviews.  You need to demonstrate that you're not going to censor or omit reviews if they're critical.

~ Create a contest.  Why not do a random drawing among all your reviewers once a month for a pretty good prize (something worth at least $100) and make a big deal about the winner each month.  You can't rig this and only give the prize to the glowing reviews.

Imagine the attention you'll get when one of your detractors wins the monthly prize.

~ Give first.  If you're in the B-to-B space, why not review your customers first?  Someone is much more likely to review you if you're just reviewed them.  Demonstrate the kind of review you'd like in the one you leave.  Be specific, use juicy words and if possible, tell a story that other customers will be able to relate to.

As long as you're above board, don't beg or don't only publish the good reviews -- inviting your customers to share their opinion is not only okay, it's smart!


~ Drew 


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Regarding Linked In reviews, do you think it's proper to first recommend?


I think that's the assumption -- if I recommend you, you'll recommend me back. Which is certainly one approach.

If someone wants to be a bit more aggressive -- asking first is fine. As long you as ask once and then let it go. Painful as it is for all of us, we may ask people who don't really want to recommend us.

So you have to be gentle about it, no matter how you approach it.


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