Technology is changing everything.
From how we interact with our friends and family, how we shop, and how we make our decisions.
And it’s a good thing—if you know how to harness it.
We talk about convenience, novelty and creativity when it comes to tech, but one of the less talked about results of technology is the narrowing down of options.
At one point, you had 13 local cab companies to call.
Now you have Uber.
Soon, you’ll have 200 local roofing companies competing for bids.
And your customers will choose just one of several.
Technology doesn’t just make our lives simpler through clever apps, it also helps pick winners and losers through search results, algorithms and, the big one, Google reviews. Technology limits our options—even for roofing contractors.
There’s good news and bad news in this.
In 5 years, your customers won’t know about 70% of the roofing companies in your area.
Google will have dropped most of them to the second, third or fourth pages of search results because they’ll have so few reviews, a major factor in determining search rankings.
The good news? You can be one of those top-ranking companies.
The bad news? You can be one of those companies on the second page of Google.
And as content expert, Brian Clark, said: “the best place to hide a dead body is page 2 of the Google search results.”
Along with the dead bodies, apparently, on the second page of Google, you’ll find the roofing companies that failed to invest in gathering reviews.
While they were chasing the latest job or paying for leads, the winners were building a system that helped them gather reviews and grow—picking up business from all the guys who shut down.
Whether you’re a winner or a loser in the next 5 years is going to depend entirely upon what you choose to do today and over the next several years with your roofing company’s reviews.
Here’s what you need to know about harnessing the power of Google Reviews and how to set up a review gathering system that puts you on top.
So, what’s so special about Google reviews anyway?
Why put so much attention on such a seemingly small part of the vast, expansive Internet?
When customers shop online and consider their options, 84% of them trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations when making a purchase.
Of those customers, most read up to six reviews to make up their mind about the business and determine if it’s worth buying from.
On the search engine side of things, Moz’s 2017 study shows that online reviews count for as much as 10% of how search engines rank search results, impacting whether you’re on the front page or fifth.
Plus, online reviews build credibility. Your ads and marketing are an important component of promoting your business, however, without the social proof of online reviews, these are only your words—and customers are skeptical about marketing messages.
Now, think about this.
When was the last time you bought something, went to dinner or booked a hotel without reading a single review before making your choice?
It’s been ages for me, too.
Even small decisions like these invite review research. Now think about the choice your customers make when buying a new roof.
Think about how much time, effort and money goes into making a decision before your clients choose to move forward and have their roof done.
There are tens of thousands of dollars on the line. Their business or home might be at risk.
Do you think they’re loosely making that decision—or are they researching carefully, listening to others and making an informed choice based on evidence?
If you’d check online reviews before stopping at a new Tex Mex restaurant for a $7 burrito, what do you think your customers are doing when they’re shopping for a $15,000 roof?
In roofing, reviews are like votes that vouch for the craftsmanship, quality, customer experience and pricing.
If you want to give your future customers the tools they need to make an informed choice, you’ll need to focus on reviews to get additional votes.
Look at these reviews as votes in a political race. There can only be one winner in your area: the roofing company that convinces the majority of buyers they’re the best choice—and you have to be it.
Which brings the uncomfortable question to the conversation: what are you doing today that ensures you’ll win the election for the top roofing company in your area?
Can you easily collect reviews?
Do you have a system in place?
Do you know how many reviews your business has—and what they say about you?
This is only becoming more important for roofing companies.
You have to stop looking at online reviews as simply flattering remarks about your work.
You can’t treat them as an option; you have to think strategically.
Let’s talk about strategic vs. tactical thinking.
Strategically, we’re talking about a 5 year plan.
Tactically, we’re concerned with the next 6 months.
For an example of this, you might remember the name “Blockbuster”.
You saw their stores on every street corner and in every plaza—and you still may have a VHS copy of Braveheart you forgot to return.
(It’s yours now!)
In 2000, Blockbuster was approached with an opportunity to buy a small but growing media company for just $50M.
Blockbuster looked tactically and said ‘no’.
They looked short-term. They saw the media company, an online streaming service, as a niche and unlikely-to-succeed novelty.
They ignored the Internet’s growth in popularity and focused on maintaining the same business model they’d always had, the seemingly safe and ultimately short-sighted approach.
Today, Blockbuster is out of business and the business they passed on buying, Netflix, is worth over $100B.
You can see, then, why it’s so critical to think about your own business strategically and not tactically.
When it comes to your business, it simply isn’t sustainable to look only 6 months ahead, chasing leads, closing deals and finishing jobs.
You’ll miss the bigger trends when you look on a micro level.
But looking 5 years out?
Five years gives you incredible vision to see where the industry is headed, what customers want and how technology is impacting roofing companies.
And part of your five year plan must include a serious focus on Google reviews.
If you’re serious about leveraging Google reviews, there’s a decision you have to make.
From today forward, reviews are a critical part of your business, just as vital as a nail gun, hard hat or truck.
Start your prioritization of reviews the next time you pick up a check from a finished job.
You aren’t truly finished until you not only have the check, but have also gotten a review from the customer.
Your customers are busy so it’s key that you help them understand why reviews matter for them not just you.
This is their chance to be heard, to help other people just like them and, if they’re generous, give you credit for your great work.
Helping them understand why their review matters will help you collect more reviews—guaranteed!
This mindset change has to transfer to your team, too. Incentivize review gathering.
Offer a bonus at the end of the month to the employee who secured the most reviews and set an absolutely minimum number of reviews you expect from your employees each month.
Put it in their language and interest, too. Help your employees see that more reviews equal more jobs.
More roofing jobs equal better pay, more consistency and the chance to be part of a growing business.
This affects their paycheck and their lives, not just your business, and it’s your job to make them see this connection.
When you make reviews an integral part of your business, just like safety gear, you build up a culture of a certain behavior.
Grab a cup of coffee (or something aged in an oak barrel, if you prefer), and open Google.
Search on Google Maps: “roofing contractors” and the name of the area or city where you operate.
(For now, ignore Yelp and Facebook. Google is the big player that will offer the best ROI because it’s where folks come for researching big decisions!)
Scroll through your competitors.
Notice how many reviews they have. Some probably have zero, a few have a handful and those who “get it” have many reviews.
Identify the big players in your market and how many reviews they have.
Now, note how many reviews you have. What’s the gap or difference in the number of reviews between you and the company with the most reviews?
This is your new goal: to close that gap and then exceed their reviews. If you’re actually one of the better-performing roofing contractors, don’t settle; you can still get better.
Next, open up your customer list. How many people have you done work for or have come into close contact with the quality of your work?
Who can you ask for an honest, quick review?
After identifying who you want to reach out to, start your review gathering database which can be as simple as a spreadsheet with the names and email addresses of those you’ve identified as being likely to leave a review.
For as much as I’ve talked about how important these reviews are, the next step might surprise you.
Don’t take on the review gathering yourself.
Delegate this to someone else.
Your time is your greatest asset and this is an easily delegated task.
After all, a successful business owner doesn’t ask “what can I do?”, they ask “who can do this for me?”
Whether it’s your kid who is home from college for the summer, a retired friend or an existing employee, make this their responsibility and remain essentially hands-off once you’ve agreed to a goal of review requests each week.
Have this person report to you weekly with their progress. Identify what’s working, how many reviews they’ve collected and what the new reviews are saying about your business.
Keep this a system you can track, measure and improve.
And here’s a big bonus: use this to create a Google Review link to include in emails and messages to your customers.
Where does my emphasis for focusing on Google reviews come from?
It’s not a theory or an idea I invented, believe me.
In fact, it’s from partnering with over 100 roofing companies over the past few years.
I’ve seen what the companies who are growing are doing.
I’ve seen what the companies who are closing are doing. It’s part of my job to identify high-growth activities that work for roofing companies specifically—and communicate it to you and my clients.
The common trend that I’ve identified in the growth group is their approach to reviews.
It’s clear that the winners are taking Google reviews seriously and the lack of focus on reviews is directly contributing to the overall failure of the weakest roofing contractors.
With minimal investment in time and resources, you’ll not only gain valuable insights about your business, you’ll also becoming king of search results and survive the great paring down of roof companies that technology is accelerating faster and faster each day.
Your business depends on what you do next and I’m eager to hear the results you’ll achieve.
My Mission with RoofEngine is to enable commercial roofing contractors live and operate in a state of radical abundance.
By that I mean having a radical abundance of high quality leads, having a radical abundance of projects in your pipeline, and a radical abundance of cash flow and profit.
We accomplish this on a daily basis by installing proven & tested systems into commercial roofing companies across the country. Every problem you are currently facing has been solved by someone else.
For this reason, we don't need to charge you anything upfront. We don't need to get you into a contract. Those are all scarcity based business practices. I believe that if you are as good as you say you are when it comes to selling and marketing , you don't need to take money upfront. Deliver what you say you're going to deliver before all else.
It's a simple philosophy.