Online Reviews & Testimonials: A Real Estate Agent’s Best Marketing Tool
It used to be that to find a real estate agent, you would ask the people closest to you—friends, family, your next door neighbor. But more and more people are turning to the Internet and social media to provide them this sort of information, using product reviews and customer testimonials. Online reviews have become so important that a 2017 survey reported that 85% of consumers trust online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation from a friend.
Whether you are a new or seasoned agent, client testimonials and online reviews can make or break your real estate business. Online reviews provide the insights about real estate agents that are most important to potential buyers and sellers—information about the agent’s reputation, trustworthiness and knowledge. The kind of information that just may help a potential client choose you as their real estate agent. Satisfied customers willing to share their stories are some of the best marketing tools you can have.
A good testimonial is an impartial and truthful account of how effective you are as an agent. A great testimonial can convince even the most skeptical potential client to hire you and help them buy or sell their home.
How To Get Customer Reviews
Testimonials are crucial to any real estate business—and many agents make the mistake of not asking for them. Most agents are hesitant to ask for a review. But if you’ve just sold the client’s home or helped them buy their dream home and you know you’ve done a great job, don’t hold back in asking your client for a testimonial. Most clients are more than happy to oblige.
Some of your clients will provide a testimonial without you even asking. Most of the time, though, you will have to reach out to your buyers and sellers and ask. Not everyone will say yes—that’s ok. Identify those customers who you think are most likely to provide a strong testimonial. Then, give them some guidelines and key points about what to include.
Make it as easy as possible for your clients to provide you their feedback. One way is to give them a short list of questions and prompts. Here are some examples:
- Why did you hire me as your agent?
- How did I help you?
- What did I do best? What could I have improved on?
- Would you recommend me to other buyers and sellers?
Readers of testimonials need context; it helps them understand and relate to the person giving the testimonial. New clients will resonate the most with a testimonial that comes from someone like them—and they’re more likely to hire you because of it.
Try these tips for getting more testimonials:
- When you have a great client moment, like solving a big problem, ask for a review right then and there to capture the vibe.
- Toward the end of the buying or selling process, thank your client for hiring you and ask them for a testimonial. Explain to the client how the testimonial will help other buyers and sellers to find the right agent.
- Make the ask right after closing the sale. Request testimonials as part of your closing process. Many agents actually hand out or email directions on how to provide an online review or testimonial right then and there.
- For those clients who don’t respond with a review right away, set a date in the future to follow up and remind the client to provide a testimonial. For example, send the client a “happy-six-months-in-your-home” email, ask how things are going, and see if they are willing to provide a testimonial at that time.
You know you provide great service to your clients, so make it a habit to ask each of your clients to provide a testimonial or online review.
How to Leverage Testimonials
Respond and Acknowledge your Reviews:
The best way to leverage your reviews is to respond to each and every one, whether the client gives you five stars or one star. A classy response to a scathing review actually works in your favor. Potential clients will appreciate the fact that you invested the time to respond to someone who was less than polite, and will be impressed even more your gracious response. In fact, 45% of customers said they are more likely to visit a company that responds to a negative review. A stellar response record shows accountability, and builds your reputation as a timely and likable agent focused on customer service.
Spread them across the Internet:
As an agent, you’ll want to be sure to have reviews from your clients on major social media sites like Facebook, Google and Yelp, as well as real estate specific sites like Zillow, Trulia and realtor.com. Your goal should be to build up multiple reviews across these sites. Zillow, for example, reports that agents with five or more reviews get more than twice as many inquiries — the site is definitely friendly to impartial client reviews. They have a rigorous process of “reviewing the review” and if they feel like you’re stacking the deck (like with reviews from family members or reviews that you may have unduly influenced), Zillow will inquire further before they are posted.
Make them Social:
To truly leverage the power of reviews and testimonials, put them on your social media channels. The best way to do this is to ask your clients to leave a review for your on Facebook page. Search engine optimization (SEO) experts believe online reviews play an increasingly important role in SEO. You can also ask them if they would post about their experience with you on their personal Facebook page, or tweet their review and include your Twitter handle. On top of gaining social proof from reviews and testimonials—your website and social media accounts will gain favorably in search results.
Additionally, create images featuring your client testimonials and reviews and share them across your social channels, especially Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Mix this content in your calendar, along with blog posts and listing updates.
Don’t forget your website, email and newsletters, flyers…
Remember, once your clients have reviewed you online, there are other creative ways to use those testimonials to show your track record as an agent. Include your strongest reviews right on your home page and pepper them throughout your website in places like your “about” page. Add them at the bottom of blog posts or email newsletters as additional social proof. And, don’t forget to incorporate your testimonials in direct mail pieces or other print marketing you use in your business.
Start Collecting Client Testimonials Today
Client reviews are a must-have for any real estate agent—they serve as a “greet before the meet.” The reality is, your customers can tell your story and be your voice better than you can. Testimonials provide an effective way for clients to get to know you as an agent. The ultimate goal is to have a potential client read your reviews, and then decide they have to work with you.
A positive testimonial is powerful—it’s worth its weight in gold. Potential clients are looking for genuine, trustworthy and believable agents, so let your testimonials speak on your behalf. The more reviews you have, the better.
One of the best way to leverage your testimonials is on your website. WolfNet understands the importance of clean, easy-to-use websites, which can kick-off a powerful client relationship bound to generate stellar reviews. WolfNet’s sites are visually stunning and are optimized for lead capture and mobile devices. What’s more, there are many clever ways we can help you incorporate testimonials, like adding a widget to your site that rotates your testimonials within your website header, or a blog post that is really a testimonial at heart. We have design features that will help your testimonials stand out visually, and show the collective power of what clients are saying about you as their agent. Click here to learn more.