Your business sells great products. Your restaurant makes the best food in town. Your factory turns out high-quality products 24/7 – and you get letters from customers praising your product or service offerings.

So you sit back in your office, feet up on the desk, and bask in the glory of positive reviews from customers. However, are you taking advantage of customer reviews? Positive feedback from clients and customers builds trust and encourages prospects to visit your eatery or order your products.

Positive customer reviews are solid gold to any business – if you use them to your advantage.

Here’s how to help turn those positive reviews into positive cash flow faster, regardless of the nature of your business.

Why You Want Customer Reviews

A good review of your business can appear online or offline.

Websites like Angie’s List®, Amazon® and Yelp® post customer reviews for restaurants, service providers, products, professionals in your area – there’s no shortage of business review outlets. In fact, 70% of us use online reviews to help make buying decisions. Bad reviews? Bad for business. With good customer reviews, people may start lining up at your door.

Customer reviews are similar to word of mouth advertising – one friend telling another about this great restaurant or this great outlet store. Positive reviews deliver positive results, no matter what business you’re in.

Positive reviews, sometimes called client testimonials, build trust with prospective customers or clients. Trust gets prospects to call you.

Providing customers with the opportunity to leave customer feedback builds a relationship between business and customer. Your brand becomes more easily recognized with positive customer reviews.

Positive reviews are recognized by search engines like Google®, Yahoo®, or Bing®, helping to improve your business’ page rank. The link to your company website may appear on page one or two of search engine results page instead of at the back of the pack.

Customer reviews also work locally. Search engines offer local search. Just add a zip code in the search box, for example: “Italian restaurants 89014.” Your favorite search engine will look for Italian cuisine in the 89014 zip code, and local restaurants appear on page one of results page.

Online customer reviews are powerful selling tools, creating confidence in the minds of empowered consumers looking for a good deal. Use customer reviews wisely and you should see a jump in sales.

How to Make the Most of Positive Customer Reviews

1. Simplify the process of leaving reviews. Amazon encourages buyers to leave product reviews, good or bad, and that’s smart business. It enables buyers to find the right item based on reviews written by people just like them. If you own a store or restaurant, leave satisfaction surveys on tables and counters and ask customers to rate your business’ performance. If the same customer objection keeps popping up, fix it.

2. Know when to ask for a customer review. Timing is critical for asking customers to leave a review. If you sell new cars, you may want to wait a month or two to request a review to give buyers the opportunity to form an opinion about the car they bought from you. On the other hand, leave satisfaction surveys on dining tables in a restaurant so customers can rate everything from service to food to a well-lit parking lot while the memories are fresh in their minds.

3. Don’t bribe customers to leave good reviews. People can tell a genuine review from one that was written just to get free shipping. Keep incentives separate from customer reviews to get honest, satisfaction-driven reviews.

4. Turn to your regulars. Repeat buyers are excellent sources for excellent reviews. That’s why these customers are repeat buyers! Ask your regulars to leave a short review of your products, services, or food.

5. Turn a negative review into a positive experience for the reviewer – and do it fast. A single bad review on a site like Yelp or Angie’s List can sink your business. Take action when you encounter a bad review and fix the problem. Follow up with your own review of how the customer’s or client’s problem was fixed. Do this quickly by tracking reviewing websites that cover your search area. The longer a bad review sits unanswered, the more business you’re apt to lose.

6. Post positive online reviews in your place of business. Print them out, frame them, hang them on the wall, and let them help you boost sales.

7. Use customer reviews on your website, blog posts, social media, brochures, and other leave-behinds or take-aways.

Customer or client reviews can help your business grow faster by building trust. Even a bad review that you “take care of” shows that your business values client care and retention. Use reviews to grow your business and build an established customer base.