- Delivering an amazing customer experience is critical -- it's a strong foundation for online reviews.
- When it comes to asking clients for positive reviews, make sure that you plant the seed early.
- Closing can be a hectic process for your clients. For that reason, immediately after closing is not a great time to ask for an online review.
Nearly every real estate agent understands just how important it is to have a strong online presence. But in today’s digital arena, simply being active on social media isn’t always enough to bring in new clients.
Consumers are increasingly turning to online reviews to reconfirm word-of-mouth referrals and are searching for unbiased recommendations of local real estate agents.
Online reviews are more important than ever before
Online reviews play a more important role than ever for local SEO. This is not surprising as 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personnel recommendations.
Recently, Google announced a new update called “Reviews from the web” to Google searches within local Knowledge Panels. This update basically takes the top three relevant reviews sites in any vertical and aggregates the results in local search results. This means that your online reputation is more vital than ever before.
If you aren’t focused on building a collection of positive reviews for yourself, you’re likely missing out on a source of potential new clients. The recent National Association of Realtors report on Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report 2016, highlights an agent’s reputation was the most important factor for home buyers as they were selecting an agent to work with.
Luckily though, building up your digital reputation isn’t as challenging as it might sound.
8-point checklist for leveraging online reviews
If you’re ready to ramp up your online profile with positive feedback but aren’t sure where to begin, follow this handy checklist, and you’ll find yourself riding on a wave of business-boosting reviews in no time.
1. Provide an awesome customer experience
Delivering an amazing customer experience is critical as it serves as a strong foundation for online reviews. Although this seems to the basic step, it lays the groundwork for managing your online reputation.
2. Make it easy for clients to leave reviews
Before you even begin to ask for reviews from your clients, have a system in place to make the process as smooth for them as possible. This should typically involve coming up with a plan to make phone contact, mentioning how important client feedback is for your business and then following up via email with a direct link to your review profile.
Be sure to highlight how the entire process will only take a few minutes, and always follow up with the email as quickly as possible.
3. Leverage your past client list
When it’s time to get started building your review profile, you should always begin with a list of your most satisfied past clients.
Look at your most recent transactions and then work your way backward. Always contact them by phone first, and then follow up with a link to your review profile in an email immediately afterward.
This demographic will be your biggest supporters and are the best source of great feedback to get your profile started.
4. Plant the seed early
When it comes to asking current clients for positive reviews, make sure that you’re planting the seed early on — typically after a big milestone in the buying or selling process.
With buyers, this can mean mentioning how your business relies on online reviews after they get a contract accepted on their first-choice home.
For sellers, consider bringing it up once a contract passes the inspection period.
5. Follow up after closing
It doesn’t matter which side of their table they’re on: closing can be a hectic process for your clients. For that reason, immediately after closing is not a great time to ask for an online review.
With so much going on in their own lives, your clients aren’t likely to remember your request. Instead, wait a week or so after the transaction has closed to call them up, check in on how they’re doing and ask them to leave some positive feedback for you after their experience.
This allows them time to get their lives back in order yet still have a fresh memory of the high level of service you provided them with.
6. Listen to client comments
The absolute best way to improve the number of positive reviews you receive is to ensure that you’re keeping your clients happy from day one.
If you do get a negative review, don’t take offense to it. It’s natural to get defensive, but instead of responding right away, take a few minutes to calm down and really examine what the client had to say.
Are their concerns truly misguided, or do they raise legitimate issues? Negative feedback isn’t always bad — sometimes it’s necessary to help us grow and discover new ways to provide enhanced service to our clients.
7. Respond to all feedback
There’s one common trap that even the best, most well-review real estate agents can fall into: only responding to negative feedback.
Everyone always wants to defend themselves when someone says something bad about them — and done properly, that’s a great idea. But it’s also important to follow up on positive reviews as well.
Not only does this give you a chance to highlight the top things that the reviewer mentioned about you, but it also shows potential clients that you’re very responsive and excel at communication.
8. Utilize review management platforms
It’s important to use review management platforms to manage your online reputation. With real estate-focused review platforms, you should be able to collect reviews, showcase them on your personal website, social media profiles and your broker’s website. You will also have the ability to gain performance insights.
Even if you’re just now beginning to build your online reputation, don’t worry — it isn’t that difficult or time-consuming. It only takes a commitment to improving your business and an eagerness to help guide your clients (both past and present) toward leaving you positive feedback.
And if you follow the helpful tips outlined in this checklist, you’re very likely to see your review profile begin to grow almost immediately.