Brandon Doyle, ABR, e-PRO, is a second-generation real estate pro with RE/MAX Results in the Twin Cities. He is also coauthor of the book M3—Mindset, Methods & Metrics: Winning as a Modern Real Estate Agent. Learn more about Doyle at www.doylerealestateteam.com.
Why Your Online Reputation Matters
These tips will help you approach clients for online testimonials and handle the situation when a bad review arises.
September 19, 2019
Your online reputation is the first thing clients notice when they Google you. But managing your online reputation can be time-consuming. Real estate is already a busy job, so a lot of brokers and agents forgo the additional task of collecting online reviews. That’s a mistake. Managing your online reputation is one of the most valuable things you can do for your business.
There is direct correlation between online reviews and revenue. A study by the Harvard Business School found that a one-star increase in overall star rating leads to a 5% to 9% increase in revenue. This tells us that the better your online reputation, the more revenue you can expect. Remember, clients want proof that your firm is going to provide quality services. Reviews are the best proof that they can get since they represent the authentic views of other clients.
How You Can Improve Your Online Reputation
Since online reputation has such a big impact on your bottom line, it’s important to make sure that you’re doing everything you can to put your best foot forward with clients. Luckily, improving your online reputation doesn’t need to be a million-dollar investment. Online reputation tools can help in this process. There are options such as ReviewPush, Pozative, and RealSatisfied. I personally use BirdEye, which I like because it has a dashboard that allows me to see my reviews from all over the internet in a single location and the reviews are validated by a third party such as Google or Facebook.
No matter what online reputation tool you chose, here are some important dos and don’ts to improve your online reputation and get more clients.
- Send Review Requests to Clients
Getting more reviews is an easy way to look great to prospects. After all, a firm with 500 client reviews looks a lot better than one with just three. More reviews show that your firm is highly trusted.
So, what’s the secret to getting authentic client reviews? By simply for asking them. Chances are you have a ton of satisfied clients out there, but they’re not going to take the step of leaving you a review on their own.
The most effective way to send review requests is via text or email—and make the process quick and easy. All your clients should have to do is click a link and leave a review.
- Respond to Client Reviews
Many real estate practitioners neglect to respond to client reviews. If a client leaves a five-star review, don’t just pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Responding to reviews is a great way to build client loyalty and fix problems before they become larger issues.
Be sure to respond to both positive and negative reviews. A response to a positive review is a great way to say “thank you” to a happy client. If your client is unhappy about a specific issue, make sure you address their concern and show them that you’ve taken steps to improve. Here’s a template you can use to respond to negative client reviews:
“We’re sorry to hear about your experience at our business and we’d love to make things right. Please give us more details at (phone number) so that we can make sure this problem doesn’t happen again.”
There are a couple of tactics that real estate firms often resort to that only end up hurting their online reputation. Here are a couple of approaches you should never take, under the risk of penalty from sites like Google.
- Don’t Buy Reviews
Some brokers and agents hear about the benefits of client reviews and are tempted to buy them from shady third-party providers. Do not—under any circumstance—buy reviews.
Buying reviews accomplishes the exact opposite of what it’s supposed to do. Real estate pros are hoping to improve their online reputation, but all they end up doing is hurting themselves because it’s not hard to tell when reviews are fake. You’ll end up losing some credibility with clients.
- Don’t Gate Your Reviews
Instead of sending reviews to all their clients, some agents and brokers “gate” their reviews by only asking a small group of clients who they’re sure will leave positive messages. Don’t be afraid to send your review form to every past client. Frankly, a couple of negative reviews won’t hurt your business. Prospective buyers and sellers typically expect a business to have a few negative reviews. The best way to deal with bad reviews, as I mentioned earlier, is by responding quickly and effectively. That also shows prospects how you handle problems when they arise, which can positively influence your reputation.