Why Do Online Reviews Matter?
Your clients have power.
And online reviews are the tools they use to wield that power.
According to research by T3 Experts, the growing influence of online agent reviews is one of the biggest trends in real estate right now.
Despite being a point of controversy in the real estate industry, the consumers’ rising demand for information means that the trend of agent reviews will only increase in significance. Instead of trying to fight it, use it to increase your sales numbers.
Agent Reviews Build Trust
Reviews are an organic (and free!) way to build trust and strengthen your reputation. According to the 2013 National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the “most important factors when choosing an agent” break down like this:
Consumers trust peer recommendations 6.5 times more than traditional advertising. Agent reviews are seen as candid communications meant to guide future customers with their decisions, rather than “fake” testimonials from clients who may have been incentivized by the business itself.
It’s pretty straightforward. It’s all about trust. Online reviews allow customers to express their honest opinion about a service or business. And they use these trusty reviews to find an a trustworthy agent to work with.
Agent Reviews Generate New Business
A 2014 survey found that “Realtor®/Surveyor” was the 13th most frequently searched-for local business type, and that the number of people searching for “Realtor®/Surveyor” tripled from 4 percent in 2013 to 12 percent in 2014. (source)
A joint study by Yelp and Nielson showed that “real estate” is the 13th most regularly searched-for topic on Yelp (30 percent). According to Reevoo, online reviews produce an average of 18% uplift in sales.
“Online reviews shouldn’t be thought of solely in the context of lead generation, but also as confirmation of an agent’s success and “protection” of their current and future business. Yes, once in a while we get calls from people who have never heard of us but found us because of our online reviews. But people very consistently say, “I’ve seen your signs all over town, so I looked you up and read your reviews online.” - Leslie Ebersole, Team Leader, Baird & Warner
How To Build Your Agent Review Strategy
Now that you know how reviews can generate more revenue, you’ll need to form an effective agent review strategy. This means building it into your processes as a long-term objective, rather than a one-time deal. Here are some basic steps to building your review strategy:
Create a business page on all major sites
Always provide outstanding service
Ask for a positive review
Make it part of your closing process
Don’t fear a bad review
“Agent ratings and reviews get the headlines, but their true value comes as a by-product of the consistent, systematic measurement of the customer experience delivered in every transaction. Consumers, agents, and the industry win in this scenario.” - Jeff Turner, President, RealSatisfied
69% of agents said that leads from reviews were either relatively easy or very easy to convert (T3 Experts). Agents who consistently leverage online reviews for lead generation see major results. Simply put, good reviews translate into cold, hard cash.