July 22, 2016
Editor's Note: This post was written by Jennifer Riner and originally published on Jason Fox's blog and can be found here.
Most consumers read reviews online. The internet is a crowded place, and clients want to be sure they know as much as they can about you before setting out to make one of the largest purchases of their lives. That said, in actuality reviews are an aspect of marketing that agents often overlook.
According to BrightLocal's 2014 Local Consumer Review Survey, 88 percent of customers review online ratings to determine the quality of local businesses. What's more is that, interestingly, 88 percent of consumers say they trust those reviews as much as personal recommendations!
While you might not have poor reviews, having no reviews can almost be as off-putting to potential clients. Instead of letting your online reputation suffer, follow these five steps to help you bulk up your recognition.
Clients are most likely to review you when you ask upfront. Bring it up early, preferably before closing, so they understood the significance of giving feedback online.
If you're looking for reviews from past clients instead of simply making it a habit moving forward, give them call instead of an email. Emails are easier to ignore and might not be taken as seriously if they are automated, while phone calls feel significantly more personal. Hey, they might even have a new opportunity for you!
If you remember them sincerely, clients will be reminded of the constructive and rewarding relationship you built and will be more inclined to give you a strong review.
When asking for reviews, provide some direction on what you believe to be highlights. Otherwise, clients can be overwhelmed at the idea of writing a supportive statement without knowing what helps you stand out.
Communicate strengths you were commended on throughout the deal, such as:
Ask your clients what areas you excelled in the most. Creating a stream of ideas makes it easier for clients to compose a thoughtful, practical and hopefully positive evaluation of your business.
Negative reviews are difficult to respond to, especially when they feel like personal attacks. What's worse, you might feel the relationship was relatively seamless until you read the opposite on your profile.
Most review systems, including Zillow's, allow agents to respond to all submissions.
Keep replies to negative feedback affable, and publicly offer to personally speak with your client in another forum. On the flip-side, also be sure to respond to clients who recognize your hard work and dedication in their reviews. Respond to positive reviews with a heartfelt message and wish them the best in their new home.
Show your appreciation for clients taking time to write you a review with a small gift like a Visa or Starbucks gift card. For new homeowners, a home and garden store gift card is a bit more personal, although you may have covered one of these areas in a closing gift.
Leaving a review can be tedious, so giving a small token of appreciation says a lot about how much you value your client's time. Plus, this helps establish positive rapport for the long term, leading to better client retention and future business.
You can sync your reviews with a personal or company website to give potential clients going directly to your page proof of your expertise. With the Zillow Tech Connect platform, brokers, agents and MLS's can publish word-for-word reviews found on Zillow.
Consumers highly consider your online reputation, so by incorporating these on your personal website you can establish trust with potential clients, right from the beginning.
Real estate is a competitive industry, which makes standing out imperative. Scheduling an hour a month for review requests from past clients and providing responses to current reviews is easy and, ultimately, effective. These ratings won't disappear, so it's important to focus on the long-term strategy and the benefits reaped from an encouraging reputation.