Customer Reviews & Improving Your Online Reputation
According to the National Association of Realtors®, millennials were the largest group (37%) of home buyers in 2019. Consequently, your reputation is more important than ever when it comes to your online presence. Why? Because practically all millennials (98%) use the internet for their home search and when choosing a real estate agent. With that said, reviews and testimonials from clients are essential to growing your real estate career.
Continue reading to learn how you can get more client testimonials and reviews to help improve your online reputation.
Feeling like you don’t know where to start? The key is to not be afraid to ask for reviews. Sometimes, people don’t know where or how they can give you a review, or even that you would like one at all. If you’ve had problems with negative reviews in the past, remember that the few clients that may have had a negative experience are much more likely to take the initiative on their own to post their experience online. This is why it is crucial to ask for reviews- 70% of consumers will leave a review for a business when asked, which will help to generate positive ratings. Don’t forget to express your gratitude when they follow through with a good review.
Here are a few ways you can encourage testimonials from your clients:
- Newsletters: Create a few surveys via Google Forms, SurveyMonkey, or Typeform for different groups; for example, group them by demographics or type of client. You can then incorporate the survey link into a newsletter to encourage feedback about their experience. Be sure to include some questions that require their written input along with some yes/no and multiple-choice questions.
- Social Media: This is a great tool to use for clients you are already connected with on social media platforms. This allows for your interaction to be less formal and more personal. The likelihood of the person completing your survey is much higher when you personally reach out to them via social media.
- Give them a call: Depending on your client and the relationship, you can always give them a phone call to follow up with them to see how they are doing and use this information to transition into asking for a review or testimonial from them.
Third-Party Review Sites
Websites such as Yelp, Zillow, Realtor.com, and Google My Business are some of the top websites used by potential customers to read reviews about real estate agents. Keep in mind that you are not able to control the kinds of reviews you receive on these sites and there will times where you wish you could delete a bad review. The best way to deal with negative reviews is to respond respectively and professionally, so that the reviewer feels heard and to show potential clients that you are listening to feedback. Acknowledging negative reviews can have a big impact on your reputation, considering that 97% of consumers read these responses.
However, if a reviewer seems very upset, it’s best to keep your response brief and try to move the conversation to a private setting if possible. Additionally, most websites will allow you to flag or report reviews that contain inappropriate language or false information, but this will not always successfully remove the review. At the end of the day, whether positive or negative, reviews allow potential clients to understand your personality and set expectations for working with you.
Don’t have time to ask for testimonials? There are some websites, such as TrustPilot, that can help streamline this process. You can send emails asking for feedback in bulk, or automate these emails based on certain criteria (e.g., after a closing). While many websites have a native feedback form built into their website, using a third-party source will often be more powerful. Google will only display star ratings in search results from trusted third-party review sources, and since 58% of consumers put the highest weight on the overall star rating, encouraging clients to provide feedback through these sources can have a big impact.
Website & Social Media
If you have mastered building relationships and networking, reached out to past clients, and are present on relevant third-party review sites, by this time you should have a solid foundation of reviews and testimonials to feature on your website. Many review websites like the ones mentioned above will offer “widgets” that you can embed on your website or social media profiles to showcase your best reviews. Consider creating a whole page on your website dedicated to your testimonials and reviews, but don’t be afraid to also display them on other prominent locations, such as the homepage.
Reviews and testimonials from clients help build credibility that will allow you expand and grow in your real estate career. In a technology-driven society, it is imperative that you are utilizing the tools given to increase client reviews and testimonials that will in turn improve your online reputation and help increase client referrals.