Choosing A Service Provider - Web 2.0 Style

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Services for Real Estate Pros with Zillow

The question has been asked many times, is Web 2.0 helping people make money?  I wanted to share a process I went through this week with a dentist.  Hopefully from this experience, you can relate it to your business as a real estate professional. 

My mom has given me many great things in this world, but unfortunately I also inherited her bad teeth.  My Go to fullsize imagehuge sweet tooth doesn't help either.  But I recently woke up one morning only to realize that I had cracked a tooth.  I called up dentist to make an appointment and found out that they no longer accept my dental insurance.  I needed to find a new dentist and fast.

Step 1- Logged on to http://www.deltadental.com/ to find a service provider in my area on my plan.

Step 2- Opened another browser window and typed in http://www.yelp.com/.  Searched dentists in zip code 60622. 

Step 3- Looked at the dentist list on Yelp to see which ones have the most reviews and the best reviews.  I want to know exactly what other people are saying, not what dentists are saying about themselves!  I narrowed it down to one dentist who had 33 positive reviews.  This dentist had also taken the time to enhance his listing on Yelp (which is free) to include pictures of his facilities and had written a review of himself with a message as to what he is all about.  I liked that he was familiar enough with technology to do this.  Signaled to me that he would also be up on technology as it related to dental care.

Step 4- Cross checked dentist with website from Step 1.  Bingo!  We have a match.  I filled out the new patient request form on the dentist's website site (I found the URL on Yelp) and someone from his office calls me within the hour. 

Go to fullsize imageGood news for the dentist - I need a crown.  Bad news for me - I need a crown. 

Today people are placing so much value on what the general public is saying- maybe even more so than what the experts say and certainly more than what the service providers themselves are saying!  When I need to buy a new electric toothbrush, I read the user reviews on Amazon.  When I go on a trip, I read the user reviews on TripAdvisor.  When I eat at a new restaurant, I read the user reviews on Yelp.

You need make sure you at least have a presence on sites like Yelp and then work to build a good reputation. 

Some homework for the holidays- If you are good agent and think your past clients will say good things about Go to fullsize imageyou (if you answer no to this, you have bigger problems to worry about than web 2.0) why don't you send them an email and ask them for their endorsement on a site like Yelp.  If you provided stellar service, I am sure your clients would be happy to spend a few minutes doing something that can help you gain more business. 

Once you have this reputation built, you can make statements like this on a listing presentation-  "Past clients have been very satisfied with my service. If you would like to hear from them for yourself, simply look me up on Yelp and you'll see exactly what they had to say." 

Building a reputation is so important in the online world we live in today.  As people move around the country and not know who to ask for referrals for professional service providers, they rely on sites like Yelp to get referrals from their online peers.  It is important that you are well-represented as the public is going through these decision making processes. 

 

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Rainer
41,053
Frank Jewett
tech4REpros - San Jose, CA

Sara, good post highlighting one of the additional benefits of social networking which is "meaningful referrals" as opposed to marketing pap.  Thanks!

Frank Jewett

Dec 19, 2007 06:53 AM #1
Ambassador
890,780
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy
Excellent post.  Way to bring the business models together so that we could see the benefits. 
Dec 19, 2007 11:04 AM #2
Rainmaker
698,298
Bill Roberts
Brooks and Dunphy Real Estate - Oceanside, CA
"Baby Boomer" Retirement Planner

Sara, This is why I read your blog. I never heard of Yelp before. I appreciate the education.

Bill Roberts

Dec 20, 2007 02:43 AM #3
Rainmaker
182,040
Sara Bonert
Zillow - Atlanta, GA
Real Estate Internet Marketing

I was trying to find some numbers on just how popular Yelp is, and came across this blog with some good information- http://gesterling.wordpress.com/2007/06/14/yelp-by-the-numbers/

The site is attracting about 4 million people a month (realtor.com is around 6 million and zilllow is at 4 million, to put it in perspective).  Apparently I am not the only one who used the site to find a dentist, it was the fifth most searched term in the last 60 days.  Doctors were the eighth most searched.  How long until real estate agents make the list?  Better get there now and beat the crowds!

Dec 20, 2007 05:35 AM #4
Rainmaker
13,878
Emily Johnston
Keller Williams Realty - Rancho Bernardo, CA

Sara-

Thanks! I'd not heard of Yelp either! I'm on... now what???

Do you have a business page?

Thanks!!

~Emily

The San Deigo Real Estate Expert

Dec 26, 2007 11:44 AM #5
Anonymous
sara bonert

Emily-

If you (or your brokerage) is already listed, then bgin to enhance it by starting with creating an account.  Also, encourage your past clients to leave feedback.

If your business is not listed, start here- http://www.yelp.com/login?return_url=%2Fwriteareview%2Fnewbiz%3Fsearch_loc%3Dchicago%2C%2520il

Dec 27, 2007 01:11 AM #6
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Sara Bonert

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