Tonya Eberhart is the founder of personal branding firm BrandFace, LLC. Michael Carr is a former BrandFace client-turned-co-author and partner. They focus on helping real estate professionals become the face of their business and a star in their market. Learn more at BrandFaceRealEstate.com.
An Easier Way to Get the Reviews You Want
These steps will simplify the process of requesting, gathering, and publishing client testimonials online.
October 4, 2016
Collecting customer reviews can be an arduous task, but here’s why it’s worth it: They provide some measure of confidence to your prospects, and they can directly affect your search results on almost any platform that accepts reviews. The more you have, the more likely you are to appear near the top of the list. But isn’t there an easier way to get the reviews you want? We hear from many agents that it takes a lot of time, there are too many platforms to consider, and it’s next to impossible to get the reviews you need on all of them.
So let’s look at ways to simplify the process of getting reviews. If you could choose only one platform to send your clients to, which should it be? Where would you get the most bang for your buck? When do you ask your customers for a review? And how do you make it easier for them to follow through? Here are our top tips for getting incredible reviews in the right places.
When and How to Ask
It all begins and ends with providing stellar service. If you maintain that standard, you’ll rarely have a problem getting a great review or recommendation. We always recommend asking for a review in person. It’s difficult for people to say no when you’re face-to-face. There are three times that are optimum to ask for reviews.
- Immediately after a customer pays you a compliment. You don’t have to wait for the transaction to be completed in order to get a great review. When a client says, “I really appreciate how thoroughly you explained things to me,” respond with, “I’m glad you appreciate that! Would you be kind enough to say that on camera? It would really help me, and my broker would love it!”
- Any time you know you have overdelivered (regardless of whether the client says something about it). You know the pendulum is swinging in your favor, so take advantage of it. Say something like, “We’ve accomplished a lot together this week. I do my best work when I have a client like you who appreciates it, so thank you. Would you consider saying a few nice things about how we work together and my level of service?”
- At the closing table. We strongly suggest making a request for a review at closing part of your regular process, even if you have to tell the client that your broker requires it. You can add some levity to the moment by saying, “Please say a few words about your experience working with me. My broker requires it in order to cut my check, and I sure do like to get paid!”
Which Review Platform Works the Best?
If you have the time and staff to solicit and post reviews on multiple platforms, by all means, do so. However, if time is an issue (and for most of us, it is), we recommend that you funnel all of your reviews to one source and then display that source on all of your marketing platforms.
If we had to choose one platform, we recommend Google Reviews. Most people have a Google account, which is the starting point for the review process. And Google is the largest search engine in the world, so you’re likely to get the most eyeballs there. The search engine optimization boost you receive from utilizing Google Reviews is just plain common sense. In order to receive, read, and respond to your reviews, you must set up (and verify) a Google+ page and a Google Business account. Once it’s set up, the rest is super-easy.
Take the Onus off the Customer
When you ask for a review, take it upon yourself to execute as much of the task as possible on your client’s behalf. Do video reviews whenever possible, which are quickly and easily captured on your smartphone. Billions of videos are viewed on YouTube every day, and the SEO benefits are fantastic. So if your customer is willing to give you a video testimonial, you can transcribe it and send it to them via email or text with a link to Google Reviews. All they should have to do is copy, paste, and submit.
If they’d rather give the review in writing, guide them through what you’d like them to say, almost like an interview. Ask questions to elicit the response you want, such as, “What did you like most about my response time? What would you say about my knowledge of the real estate process?”
Leverage Your Reviews
Using one main source for all your reviews can actually make marketing those reviews much easier. How do you make sure every review also displays on your website and social media outlets? You can use a Google Reviews embed code, widget, or plug-in, which will allow all of your reviews to appear on most websites and social channels. When you do this, you leverage the power of all those reviews. And again, there are SEO benefits that come from those links, which is an added bonus to having your prospects see so many wonderful reviews.
The key to getting consistent reviews with maximum leverage is to put a system into place so it becomes second nature. Don’t let it be an afterthought. Ask for reviews throughout the transaction, don’t make your customer do too much work, and set up the feeds on your website so reviews are automatically added to your marketing platform. But most of all, keep your brand strong by underpromising and overdelivering on your service to clients each and every day.