Are you getting real estate agent reviews from your customers? In fact, do you ask people to leave a review of your services? Reviews are incredibly important for any business, but especially so for real estate agencies, where personal connections and referrals actually define your success. A Google review can shape your business more than a Google ad. So a big question for you: have you already coined a well-functioning system for generating customer reviews?
From Google to Yelp, from Facebook to Twitter, people are sharing their experience of buying from you and what they say really matter.
Moreover, real estate agent reviews strongly affect your local SEO and sales (check out this actionable guide to local real estate SEO).
This means one of your first-priority tasks should be encouraging all of your happy customers to take a few minutes and tell others what is so great about your real estate agency.
Ever wondered what those tiny golden stars next to the local listings are? That’s right, they are Google reviews people leave about a business. Once you manage to get 5 customer reviews on Google, you get a 5-star rating.
These tiny yellow stars have a huge impact on your sales. Yes, that’s the correct way to take it: not traffic, not leads, not prospects, but sales which are the only thing delivering you the real revenue.
How so? Take a look at the following stats that explain everything pretty well:
- when judging a local business on its reviews, 60 per cent of customers say the overall star rating is the No.1 factor they pay most attention to;
- 68 per cent said positive customer reviews make them trust a business more, even without visiting their website;
- 51 per cent of customers select a local business if it has positive reviews.
*Stats taken from 2015 Local Consumer Review Survey by BrightLocal
These are quite revealing stats, right? Plenty of real estate agencies, however, don’t get really serious about collecting customer reviews, or user-generated content, as they are sometimes called. Well, it’s up to them to decide, but you will certainly want to do everything the smarter way and customer reviews are exactly the kind of a thing you can fully capitalize on.
The most important touchpoints to be mindful of
You should assign as much time for getting real estate agent reviews as you do for marketing your listings and following up. In short, it pays, always.
Here’re a few important things to focus on:
- you need to get real estate agent reviews not only because they grow your rankings or traffic, but because they grow your whole business. You get more people really interested in your agency and they’re gladly showing this to the other customers by reviewing your agency;
- reviews give your future customers confidence whenever they search and come across your brand. “Hey, this agent must be good,” they think, “he’s got 10 reviews on Google, I might as well check out their website”. That’s how it works usually: those star ratings translate into actual clicks and calls;
- part of this huge effect Google star rating has on your real estate agency is the fact they are so visually striking. It’s almost next to impossible to resist clicking on a listing which has 4 or 5 stars next to it. Not sure if this actually works? Take a look at the image below as it shows everything pretty well:
A simple roadmap to get plenty of real estate agent reviews
What are some great ways to put collecting your reviews on the right track? What works and what doesn’t? It’s sometimes hard to figure out, but you can safely start with the actionable and proven tips from below. They will guarantee you significant progress with getting your real estate agent reviews.
1) Aim for the 5 stars
Here’s the very first thing to start with. Aim at getting 5 Google reviews, so your listing has the 5-star rating. These stars are a real key to your sales success. They draw attention, help you stand out from the competition and, most importantly, they make people click on to your website and buy from you.
Don’t worry if the Google review that your happy customer just left doesn’t show up immediately. It usually takes Google a few days (up to a week, actually) to display it.
2) Get diverse reviews
Focussing only on Google reviews is not the best way to deal with real estate agent reviews. The thing is you need to get feedback from multiple sources: Google, Tripadvisor, Yahoo! Local, Zodio, Foursquare, Bing Places, Travelindex, WhoDoYou, etc.
This is really going to help your rankings as Google sees you are mentioned on many different sites and this makes your website more trustworthy. The best strategy to get diverse reviews is to focus on one review site at a time. Get 5 Google reviews; then switch to get 5 Tripadvisor ones; then 5 Zodio reviews and so on. Once you’ve done all this, start all over again. You’ll quickly get used to this and the whole process will be on-going.
3) Ask your every customer
That’s just the way it works. To get plenty of reviews, you need to ask every single customer to review your service. It’s up to you to take care of this – people won’t remember they can share something nice about your company unless you ask them.
What is the best time to ask for the review? Immediately after the deal’s made. It’s really just a matter of saying “Thanks for choosing to work with us and we’d be grateful if you could review us on Google. As you can imagine, this will really help us to reach more customers seeking out our services”.
Next big thing you need to do is follow-up. The very first time you ask for the review may bring few results. Your customers really wanted to do it but just forget altogether. So you send a follow-up a week later asking them again. These little helpful reminders really work – around 60 percent of the follow-up messages end up with a great review of your agency published on Google, just as you wanted right from the start.
3) Share your best reviews as social posts
This is a great strategy to let all of your fans and followers know that people think your service is great. You know it’s great, but since now you have solid proof behind it, why don’t you spread the word out?
You’d want to share all of your positive reviews across your social media. It’s especially good to share them via your Google+ page, at the same time thanking your customer for leaving it, just like this company did:
4) Embed reviews as testimonials
What you can also do to give your reviews a longer life and broader outreach, is embedding them as testimonials on your website. You only need to go to your Google+ post, click Embed Code and copy/paste it wherever you want on your website. You get a double benefit: the same review is used as a social post and a testimonial on your website.
5) Heads-up: reviews from the same IP address won’t get published
Sometimes agents can ask for reviews right after the rental is over, wanting to catch up with the customers while they are still here. But these reviews come from the same IP address and Google easily spots that. Your long-awaited review can end up not being published at all.
6) Heads-up: too many reviews at any one time won’t get published
Let’s say your agency was getting your real estate agent reviews quite rarely. First, you had no reviews, then you’ve got your first one, and second, and so on. Then all of a sudden, you got a whole flood of fresh reviews. Maybe you’ve emailed your entire customer base, or just have a lucky week for reviews.
While this sounds like a good thing to happen, it’s actually not. Google will see that you first have few reviews and then it all grew by leaps and bounds. Google takes these reviews as solicited ones, even if you’ve done absolutely nothing like that.
When it comes to real estate agent reviews, there’re things you control and things you can’t. Whenever you ask for reviews, good timing is an important thing to remember. Do not ask all of your customers at once – just start with a few ones.
7) Deal with the negative reviews
How do you respond to negative reviews? You won’t find a business that doesn’t get them. The question is not about focussing on them too much but trying to fix the issue asap, before half of your city knows about it.
|The No.1 thing you must never do is get defensive. Admit your service could have been better, refund, ask to let you know what was the worst part of it and ensure this is never going to happen again. You need to do this right after you’ve got that negative review.
Show your upset (or furious) customers you care, contact them immediately and apologize. More often than not, people will not only take off their negative reviews but will turn into your most loyal advocates! That’s just the way it works – when you show people you genuinely care about their best experiences, they will always help you out.
8) Make it easy to leave reviews
Oftentimes, people would really like to leave you a review, but just don’t know how. You need to take care of this, too. That being said, don’t only ask for the review. Provide your customers with a clear step-by-step path on how to do this so they won’t get confused along the way.
Make sure to check out this great (and totally free) tool from Whitespark, Review Handout Generator. You only need to add your phone number, website URL and logo and you’ll get your free branded PDF file with step-by-step instructions on how to leave Google reviews. You can then hand it out to your customers and save them both time and confusion.
Be mindful, however, that you can only ask people who already have Google accounts for Google reviews. You can check this out via your Gmail account. If people already use some Google products, it’s easier for them to write you a review and they don’t have to go through the fuss of creating a new account.
9) A steady, on-going stream of reviews
Once you’ll get your five Google reviews and those yellow stars will signal clearly how awesome you’re, you’ll feel very tempted to stop working so hard on getting your reviews. This will never do you any good and will lead to nowhere.
Those five reviews will soon become outdated and people will pay zero attention to them. Take a look at these stats:
*Stats taken from 2015 Local Consumer Review Survey by BrightLocal
So people want fresh reviews and good proof that your business is still out there, thriving and active. That’s why you should come up with an on-going, automated system to collect and manage customer reviews. Getting started with the above tips is really more than enough. Once you’ve put this on the fast track you can scale what works best for you and automate things.
Remember, however, that you’ll only need an automated review software if you work on a much larger scale. Most local real estate agents can successfully secure their customer reviews just by shooting personal emails to their customers and this won’t cost them a dime.
So getting real estate agent reviews is essential to both your local SEO and your sales. This means getting random reviews twice a year is good but not even as close to good as you need. If you’ve managed to put your review system in place, that means your business reached a whole new level. The above tips are tried and tested and certainly deserve your time of day.