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How to Use Online Reviews to Build Your Real Estate Business

Use Reviews to Grow Real Estate Business

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:

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!

Need note cards or postcards to make those review requests through the mail? We can help, especially with seasonal or holiday postcards! Check out our selection today!

Why You Should Care About Online Reviews

Realtor ReviewsWord of mouth is a powerful marketing tool. Referrals are the cheapest way to gain business, and having happy clients can bring you an amazing amount of business. Unfortunately, word-of-mouth can be an anti-marketing tool as well – especially in our hyper-connected time.

The Impact of Online Reviews

The importance of Zillow, Trulia, and realtor.com in today’s real estate market cannot be overstated. In early 2014, these three online portals alone were capturing one-third of all desktop visits in the real estate category. Zillow had the lion’s share by far, capturing 16.53% of real estate traffic by itself. The recent Zillow-Trulia merger only makes this platform more powerful.

The reason this is important is that since 2010 Zillow has offered unfiltered reviews of agents, lenders, home improvement pros, and more. Over 780,000 real estate agents have Zillow profiles, hoping to capture leads from the thousands of visitors to the site. Each of these agent profiles – including yours, if you’re one of them – has unfiltered reviews from customers available.

Reviews are intensely important to online buyers, and with many prospects using them as a form of interview without actually contacting the agent. Unfortunately this means that you don’t have an opportunity to craft your message or present your best side. You reviewers do that for you – and not always the way you wish they would.

How to Impact Your Review Profile

Because Zillow’s reviews are unfiltered, you don’t have a chance to approve or deny someone’s comments. However, you can use the profile feedback to your advantage – in fact, it can become an important marketing tool if you have a large number of positive reviews.

One of the primary Great online reviews matterways to impact your review profile, of course, is to provide the best service you can to every single customer. We’re all already doing that. To stand out, take these additional steps:

  • Contact anyone who leaves a poor review and see if you can resolve their concerns. If you do, ask them to update their review with the steps that were taken or consider revising their rating of you.
  • Include a request for a positive review on Zillow as a standard part of your customer follow-up routine. The more happy customers you can get to share on your profile, the less impactful a negative review will seem.
  • If you feel someone is spamming your profile or has left completely inappropriate feedback, or you didn’t actually work with the person who left a negative comment, use the ‘flag’ feature to report the issue to Zillow. The inappropriate or spam review will likely be removed.

There are many real estate agents who are unaware that their Zillow profiles have unfiltered reviews attached. As a Realtor®, take advantage of the opportunity to strengthen your marketing position by asking for positive reviews from clients. Try to resolve any negative concerns that are shared. By doing so, you’ll have a whole new way to appeal to clients that doesn’t cost you any additional time or money. That’s a win!

How do you handle Zillow reviews? Do you actively solicit them? Share in the comments!