• The number of consumers using online reviews to select businesses has increased from 76 percent to 92 percent since 2012.
  • Choose a platform that allows you to leverage positive reviews to your social media and Web presences.
  • Early on, begin talking to your clients about the importance of feedback for your business.

The new year is here, and now is the time when you should begin preparing your real estate business for success in 2016. In today’s digitally driven marketplace, few growth techniques are more effective than building a powerful collection of positive online reviews that will, in turn, boost your online reputation.

So far in 2015, we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of consumers turning to online reviews for choosing which real estate professional to work with. In increasing numbers, people are relying on these online reviews to make all types of important decisions.

According to Statista, since 2012 the percentage of consumers who read online reviews when selecting a local business or professional has increased from 76 to 92 percent — including a 4 percent gain between 2014 and 2015.

Based on the current momentum, there’s no doubt that an even greater number of buyers and sellers will find themselves searching through digital review platforms during the real estate process as we progress, and your online reputation will only follow you through the years.

Setting yourself up for success

For many professionals, the most difficult part of getting started in collecting online reviews is simply figuring out where to begin. They ask:

  • Where, exactly, are prospective clients searching?
  • How can I talk to my past clients about leaving feedback?
  • When should I talk with current clients about reviews?

These are some of the most common questions that agents ask when first venturing into the world of online reviews. Luckily though, things clear up pretty quickly once you get the hang of it.

1. Choose your online review platform wisely

Choose a site that is real estate focused, and ensure that the platform you choose is independent and unbiased. This is where prospective clients will go looking for honest feedback, so you want to pick a site that is moderated where the reviews are based on verifiable transactions.

For increased marketing effectiveness, opt for a platform that allows you to leverage positive reviews to your social media and Web presences. And don’t underestimate the value of being able to use the review data to gather insights about your business and improve your geo-farming techniques.

2. Don’t hesitate to take action — are you ready to get started right away?

Your first step should be to contact your most recent clients and ask them to take a few minutes to share their experience with other buyers and sellers. If you make contact over the phone, always follow up with an email that provides a link directly to your review profile to maximize compliance.

amenic181 / Shutterstock.com

amenic181 / Shutterstock.com

3. Start planting the seeds for your next reviews

You don’t have to wait until a deal closes to bring up online reviews with your clients. Early on, begin mentioning the importance of feedback to your business whenever you reach a major milestone such as an accepted contract or passed inspection.

Do this so that when everything is all said and done, your clients will already be mentally prepared to write a review.

Thankfully, you don’t have to wait until you close some deals to begin implementing these new business-building strategies — just think of it as a New Year’s resolution, a commitment to making 2016 your best professional year yet.

Riti Verma is the Founder and President of RankMyAgent. You can follow her on Twitter (@rankmyagent) or LinkdedIn.

Email Riti Verma.

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