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In our modern world, to be called “trustworthy” is high praise. In our industry — especially in a hot market where ethics can seem like an afterthought, and transparency is hard to come by — earning the trust of prospective clients is more important than ever.
From gathering reviews to applying for awards, here are six ways to earn the trust of real estate prospects.
1. Get Reviews
I believe the No. 1 way to earn the trust of prospective clients is through reviews. To have reviews that are relevant and read, there are some key elements agents need to consider. The number of reviews you have is critical so consumers can trust they aren’t just from your mom and BFF.
Additionally, reviews should be posted on third-party websites such as Zillow, Realtor or RateMyAgent. This builds legitimacy and helps the consumer have confidence in the credibility of the reviews.
In addition to having lots of good-quality reviews on the right platforms, you also need to keep your reviews fresh and recent. If your last review was from 2020, you need to get a few new ones.
As a consumer, if I saw your latest review was from many months ago, I might start to wonder if you’ve been working much lately. Also, when I request reviews from my clients, I ask them to share specific experiences they’ve had with me and my team.
Not only does this help the third-party website algorithms know the review is real, it also gives prospective clients an idea of what it might be like to work with you. You’ll notice themes if you end up with enough reviews, and you can then use those in your marketing.
If you’re well on your way to having a robust review ecosystem, then there are still five other ways you can build trust with prospective clients.
2. Share client success stories
One of the easiest ways to foster trust and goodwill is to create a “client success story” page on your website or blog to feature your clients’ actual stories of working with you.
You can perhaps share how many offers you wrote or what you did to make sure your sellers had a smooth move even with a quick sell. Telling real stories and sharing photos from the showings or with your clients is a great way to showcase your expertise.
And it goes without saying that you should get your client’s permission to share this information, photos or any other content before posting it. Assuming they are a big fan of yours, they will likely not only give you permission, but they’ll probably share the post on their own social media too — which creates social proofing.
3. Be a contributor
In addition to reviews and client success stories, what about writing as a contributor for your local paper, business journal, Inman News, a real estate website, etc.? Having your work published on third-party websites via respected media outlets is another way to get potential clients to trust you.
It might take pitching a few ideas locally and doing some research, but if you’re a pretty good writer and willing to invest the time, there are so many opportunities to contribute to the endless appetite Americans (and other agents) have for real estate-related content.
4. Speak or teach at events
Speaking at events, whether in person or virtual, is another way to show clients that your peers respect you and want to hear from you. It shows you are standing out in an industry with countless Realtors.
Depending on the topics you speak about, you may also be able to repurpose the content for your clients. For example, if you are often asked to talk about your Facebook marketing, you could include this in your listing presentation, along with where you’ve spoken and taught on the subject.
5. Apply for awards, and look out for lists
This idea is the one where you have the least amount of control, but it’s another great way to build trust. Winning awards and being placed on lists allows clients to easily see your expertise and professionalism.
You might be surprised at just how many opportunities are in your town or city for awards. And for recognition on a national level, if you are writing or speaking on topics consistently, it’s likely you’ll catch the eye of list-makers.
In addition, some rankings and lists are driven entirely by sales numbers, so that’s another opportunity for top-producing agents to shine. I have many friends who were named to Realtor Magazine’s “30 Under 30” list, and although most of us have since aged out of that opportunity, it’s still been a life-changing award for many of them.
6. Watch your language
We know real estate agents often don’t have the best reputation among consumers. Staying away from words and phrases like “top producer,” “million dollar” this or that, or “one billion in sales” is a wise move.
Many of my own friends believe “$30 million in sales volume” equates to being a millionaire. If only that were true, right? Instead of focusing on the money you’ve made, focus on the results you’ve gotten for your clients.
And in the end, the most important thing isn’t to get tons of five-star reviews, speak at a conference or be on a special list. The best advice is this: If you want to be trusted — be trustworthy.
Stephanie Lanier is the founder and CEO of Lanier Property Group, a boutique real estate firm in Wilmington, North Carolina.