Everyone knows that referrals are the lifeblood of real estate, but do you know what’s almost as amazing? Online reviews. Online reviews are like evergreen referrals – a chance for you to let prospects know what others have said about you and how much they love your work. In fact, 88% of consumers look at online reviews before making a purchase!
Capitalizing on online reviews is a great way to build your real estate business, and fall is the perfect time to get started. Your business may be a little slower so you have time, and most of all, you probably have some happy clients you worked with this summer who you can ask for reviews!
Here’s how to make the most of online review to build your real estate business.
Claim Your Real Estate Business Page and Update Your Information
Step one is creating a place for your clients to leave reviews. Be sure to claim your real estate business Yelp, Facebook, and Google+. Also, make sure your office location, contact information, and picture are updated and accurate.
If you’re unsure how to lock down your business pages, here are some guides:
- Claim Your Real Estate Business on Yelp
- Claim Your Real Estate Business on Facebook
- Claim Your Real Estate Business on Google+
It’s helpful to have all three pages active, along with Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor®.com. When someone leaves a review, don’t be afraid to ask them if they wouldn’t mind posting in other locations as well, or if you can use that review on your website. The more mileage you get from reviews, the better!
Ask for Reviews – With Perks
No, I’m not asking you to be unethical. But when you send along your request for a review, send along a small $5 gift card. Include in your request, “As you know, reviews are vital to our business. To thank you in advance for leaving a review on XXX.com, here’s a small token of appreciation.”
Because the gift is given regardless of whether they leave a review, it’s not considered compensation.
Here are some ways to maximize the number of reviews you’re able to get from your customers:
- Mention Reviews Early. If you have a chance, mention early in the real estate buying or selling process that you request reviews from clients and ask if there’s anything you can do to help ensure an excellent review.
- Request the Review More Than Once. Just as you should ask for referrals in multiple ways, you can ask for reviews in multiple ways too. In an email, make the request and include a link or two to online sites. In a letter or postcard, remind them of the request and include in gift card. In person, make one last mention of how important review are. Of course, don’t do all of these within 24 hours of each other! But do them within a week or so, to trigger reminders if needed.
- Make Suggestions. Sometimes people just don’t know what to write in a review. Think about the relationship and, in your request, point out some things that went really well. “We were able to sell your house in XX days, which is great!” or “We got 10% over asking!” or “You mentioned how nice it was to have an agent that did XYZ.” Then, when you request the review, they’ll have those items right in front of them.
Ask for Reviews Even Without a Closed Transaction
Did you show someone homes, only for them to discover the loan wasn’t going to work? They may still give you a great review! Similarly, someone who didn’t sell their home because they changed their mind or had an emergency might still have enjoyed working with you. Don’t think that only closed customers will leave reviews. Anyone you work with can say something about the experience!
Zillow actually allows you to request reviews for a large variety of customer types, so consider all of these when you’re asking for reviews:
- Listed and Sold a Home or Lot
- Listed but Didn’t Sell a Home or Lot
- Helped Client Buy a Home/Lot
- Showed Clients Homes/Lots
- Found Tenet for Client
- Helped Client Find Rental Property
- Property Manage a Home Client Own
Think outside the box. The more reviews you have, especially five-star reviews, the more you’ll stand out among your competition. Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews on multiple sites, or ask permission to use the review in your marketing.
People want to know what working with you is like. A referral is one way they find out. But reviews can be even more powerful. Start your review-building process today!
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