Word of mouth used to be the way that consumers evaluated the products and services they were interested in purchasing. The rapid adoption of the Internet - along with mobile devices giving easy access to online review sites - has exponentially escalated the power of the consumer in 2017.
So what can a business do, and what can a salesperson do when confronted with a negative online review?
First, let's consider what would prompt someone to leave a review for Electronic Merchant Systems. Our business is not a trendy restaurant or coffee shop so leaving a review is not something our tens of thousands of satisfied customers are compelled to do. Very few people take the time to go online to praise their cell phone or gas company ... or for that matter, their merchant services company.
This means that if we turned a blind eye to our listings on review sites, we would end up with primarily negative reviews. EMS follows a best practice of responding in a non-confrontational, helpful manner to negative reviews. The problem is that there are numerous sites out there and new ones popping up with regularity. Many of these review sites are shady and nonsense websites out there that exist to discredit companies. Legitimate review sites do not add their own commentary, require a reviewer to login and authenticate, and always allow for a business owner response. Unfortunately, the payments industry has several sites that are missing all of the aforementioned trust elements.
What EMS is Doing About Reputation Management
IMHO, Google My Business is the most important (and mainstream) of all the review sites, and every business has a listing. They dominate the search market, and a company's Google My Business listing appears on a company name search at the top of the right side column. Google My Business is also the simplest site to get reviews on since most people have a Google login. Check out our Google listing and view real EMS clients giving their honest feedback - https://g.co/kgs/6ud3EG .
EMS is also investing in improving our Glassdoor.com presence by enhancing our listing and asking for employee reviews. Though primarily a review site for job searchers, it regularly appears "above the fold" on page 1 of Google searches and serves as an important trust element. Plans are in the works to also address other legitimate, mainstream review sites that start to gain consumer traction.
How Can a Salesperson Overcome the Objections of a Negative Review?
Make sure the prospect understands that any big company is going to have some complaints online. Inform them of credible third party reviews Electronic Merchant Systems has received. This lets the third-party sources do the talking. These could be EMS' Google My Business link or our Better Business Bureau A+ rating. Always be prepared to show your prospects how to locate these trust elements.
Try to illustrate the fact that you can find negative reviews about everything under the sun – even products that 99% of people love. Try this technique and see if it works for you:
1. "I respect that you were doing some research. That's important, and I recommend it. Do you mind if I ask you where you came across this review?"
2. "And do you mind my asking, "Who is your cellular carrier?"
3. "Will you do me a favor? Go to the website where you saw the negative review, and search the site for reviews of Verizon or Sprint (or any other company whose products they might use daily).
If you get completely hung up on trying to convince them their "findings" on the Internet are completely ridiculous and that they need to see it your way, then you're going to lose them. Don't be pushy. Be professional! Possibly time for, "This opportunity may not be for YOU."