What if you put your customer references directly on your website?
I’m talking names, phone numbers, and email addresses of at least 15 past customers… and putting them on your website for the world to see. No opt-in required.
Do you think that would help your website conversions?
A better question…
How could putting customer references on your website NOT help conversions?
Think about it…
If you have a strong Identity that’s powerfully communicated on your website, you’re going to need to provide social proof to back up all your big claims.
And there aren’t many better ways to do that than giving prospects an instant way to talk to living, breathing people who have hired you, worked with you, and love you.
Putting references directly on your site—instead of providing them to prospects only when asked for—is also a supreme show of confidence.
You’re telling your prospects, “I’m so confident in my work, I’m giving you the names and numbers of 27 of my customers you can call right here, right now.”
Since calling a stranger can be first date levels of awkward, it’s also a good idea to provide the prospect with a list of “ice-breaker” questions to ask your references. These can include…
- Were you satisfied with the results produced by the company?
- Were there any issues during the project? If so, were they handled appropriately?
- If you needed the company, were they easy to reach and responsive?
- Did you ever feel pressured or stressed by them?
- If you had to do it over, would you choose them again?
Of course, I’ve had contractors object to putting references on their website. Here are the most common ones…
Objection 1: What if my customers don’t want to be on my website?
Easy—don’t put them on your list!
Getting a customer’s written permission is necessary, but you’ll find it is much easier to get than you think.
For example: If you’ve completed 500 jobs, and you’re shooting for a reference list with 20 names, that’s only 4% of your past customer base. Doesn’t that seem doable?
Objection 2: What if my references get too many phone calls?
Then, by all means, remove them from the list.
Let your references know up front that they can request to be taken off your list at any time, whether permanently or just for a breather.
A good solution is to rotate two or three different lists once or twice per month. You will quickly find out that only your most earnestly interested prospects actually take the time to call your list. And most of them actually WAIT until after they’ve engaged you in conversation to actually pick up the phone.
Objection 3: What about my customers’ privacy?
If you don’t want your customers’ names showing up in Google searches, have one of your website geeks code your reference page so it’s not indexed by search engines. This way if someone searches your customer’s name, your webpage will not show up in the results.
Objection 4: What if my competitors see my customer list?
What could your competitors do with the information, exactly? Call your customers, tell them you’re awful and try to make them talk crap about you to your prospects?
Remember, the people on your reference list are HAPPY customers. Your competitors aren’t going to do anything with this list, and even if they did, it wouldn’t affect you in any way.
Asking Can’t Hurt…
Ultimately, there’s no harm in asking your customers to be on your online reference list.
The worst that can happen is that they say “no.” The best that can happen is that you create a powerful form of social proof on your website—one that NONE of your competitors have the guts to utilize.
P.S. Is putting customer references directly on your website a gamble? No, not at all. Simply follow the steps above, and you’ve got a powerful new persuasion tool for your website. Give it a shot!