All the Right Words in All the Right Places
Customer reviews are a hot topic, and rightfully so. Not only do reviews provide some measure of confidence to your prospects, they can directly affect your search results on almost any platform that accepts reviews. The more reviews you have, the more likely you are to appear near the top of the list when people are seeking a property and/or an agent. Some agents have excelled at the process of getting a multitude of reviews; however, we hear from many of you that it’s a arduous task at best and that there are just too many platforms to consider. Plus, it’s next to impossible to get the reviews you need on all of them.
We decided it was time to look at ways to simplify the process of getting reviews. If you could choose only one reviews platform to send your clients to, which should it be? Where would you get the most bang for the 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.
How & When To Ask:
Of course, 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 so hard for people to say no when you’re face to face! Overall, there are three times we recommend that you 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 someone says, “I really appreciate how thoroughly you explain things to us”, 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 over-delivered (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. In fact, we strongly suggest that you make it part of the process, even to the point of telling your 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 the checks and I sure do like to get paid!”
If you have the time and/or staff to ensure that your reviews show up on multiple platforms, by all means do! Obviously, that is the ultimate situation. 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 throughout all of your individual marketing platforms. If we had to choose one platform, we highly recommend Google Reviews. First, almost everyone we know has a Google account, which is the starting point for any reviews process. Second, it’s the largest search engine in the world. When you want to know about a company or an individual, the household term that most of us generally apply is ‘Google it”. And finally, the search engine optimization boost you receive from utilizing Google Reviews (on the world’s largest search engine) 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.
Making It Easy:
When you ask for a review, take it upon yourself to execute as much of the task as possible on your client’s behalf. We highly recommend video reviews whenever possible, which are quickly and easily captured on your phone. Billions of videos are viewed on YouTube every day, and the SEO benefits of video are fantastic as well. 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, pull out your phone, tablet or notebook and take down their comments right away. But most of all, guide them through what you’d like them to say. Most people respond like a deer in headlights when you ask for a review or recommendation. Ask them questions to elicit the response you want, such as, “What did you like most about my response time?”, or “What would you say about my knowledge of the real estate process?”. And don’t forget to integrate your brand in the mix! For example, Sheri Sperry - MCNE®, a RE/MAX agent in Sedona, Arizona is branded as ‘Your Solutions REALTOR’. Whenever she requests a video review, she can ask her clients to end the review with a branding statement like, “Sheri was our solution to finding the perfect home” or “If you’re looking for solutions, call Sheri”. Using these catch phrases effectively will infuse your brand into your reviews and help you stay top of mind for all the right reasons.
Leverage the Reviews:
Utilizing 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. There are multiple resources to teach you how to do this. We recommend YouTube video tutorials to guide you through this process. When you do this, you leverage the power of all those reviews by displaying them on multiple online locations. 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 in place so it becomes second nature. Don’t let it be an afterthought. Ask for reviews throughout the process and at the end, execute on your customer’s behalf as much as possible, lead them to reflect your brand in their comments and set up the reviews feeds so that each time a review is given, it’s automatically added to all of your marketing platforms. But most of all, keep your brand strong by under promising and over delivering each and every day.