Join the exceptional and become a Sotheby's International Realty agent.
For buyers and sellers of luxury properties, finding the right agent can seem overwhelming. With many to choose from and a lot riding on their success, prospective clients often start their search with online reviews.
“In my experience, buyers search for reputable brokers in conjunction with their house search,” explains Nancy Leigh, Associate Broker with Anne Erwin Sotheby’s International Realty.
“Real estate reviews are just as beneficial as a restaurant or hotel review. Finding an agent can be daunting, especially with so many third party sites. I want the client to feel more at home by reading a friendly and supportive review about me.”
While online reviews might not always be top-of-mind as you manage your day-to-day accounts and relationships, they have become a critical differentiator that can make or break business success.
Why do reviews matter?
Neybis Sanchez, VP of Business Development at Saint Kitts & Nevis Sotheby’s International Realty, emphasizes how important online reviews are. “Worldwide data shows that 90% of customers search reviews online prior to contracting a service from a company, and 88% believe what is written within the reviews,” she points out. “This makes online reviews a vital part of any business.”
How vital are they? Here are three great reasons why reviews are a powerful tool for prospecting and lead generation.
1. More reviews = more business
“My listing inventory has increased dramatically over the past two years as my online reviews have increased,” says Leigh. “People will see my name and read the reviews, then go to the Anne Erwin Sotheby’s International Realty website and read my bio.” From that first touchpoint, conversations begin and opportunities ensue.
2. Clients are searching for authenticity
As Leigh also observes, reviews add value not only by vouching for your knowledge and skill, but by making you relatable as a real person who lives in your local market and is a member of your community. “My most recent seller experience occurred because I’m a lifelong resident of York, Maine, and the sellers wanted to list with a broker who knew the area,” she says.
3. You can showcase your specialties
If you have helped a client with a specific or niche request, their review will attract others with similar needs. “I recall one particular time when a professional baseball player wrote a positive review—and by presenting this review to other professional athletes, I was able to acquire new customers and grow my business portfolio internationally,” says Sanchez.
How to earn a positive online review
“Positive reviews are a result of excellent customer service, integrity, and professionalism, and it’s always important to listen and understand the customer,” says Sanchez. “From beginning to end, the real estate transaction is the result of a relationship.”
Leigh agrees. “Every price point deserves your best service. Be honest, communicative, and work hard, and your clients will appreciate your performance and provide glowing reviews.”
But the process of purchasing or listing a home doesn’t always go as planned—and when hurdles happen, a client may air their grievances through a negative review. This is rare, but it can occur—and Sanchez says that when it does, it must be proactively addressed.
“An agent who receives a negative review should immediately have a sincere conversation with the individual who wrote it to seek a common resolution,” she says. “It is important that this conversation should be either in person or on the phone, to facilitate real connection. Perhaps there may have been a misunderstanding.”
Sanchez says a poor review is an opportunity for an agent to reflect; then they can reach out and clear the air with the client. “If an error occurred, correct it, then kindly ask them to remove the review.”
How—and when—to request reviews
When it comes to asking for a review, Sanchez says that the approach is simple. “Upon completion of a transaction, approach the customer and ask them if they are satisfied with the service they have received.” When they say yes, that’s an opening to see if they would share their experience online in a few short words.
“I wait a couple of days after the property closes and then I follow up with a short note—along with a thank you—asking if they would take the time, and I attach the link,” says Leigh. Give the client everything they need so the process is as easy as possible.
Both Leigh and Sanchez have worked in real estate for over 20 years, and in that time, online reviews have only increased in importance.
As Leigh says, “A positive attitude precedes a positive endorsement. The key is to work hard, love what you do, and success and endorsements will follow.”