In this article, I’m going to explain why real estate agent reviews can be a goldmine filled with rich sources of new business or a land mine that take an entire business down.
Reviews Are Here To Stay
Reviews are everywhere. These days, no one buys anything without looking at reviews first. As a society, we review restaurants, hotels, hairdressers, plumbers, movies, products – and of course, Realtors.
Reviews are a permanent part of our culture now. And if people won’t spend $10 on a lunch without first consulting the restaurant’s reviews, they’re definitely not hiring a Realtor without doing the same.
Positive Reviews Are The Best Insurance Policy
Online reviews is a numbers game. Let’s do a little math, shall we?
Let’s say a real estate agent named Sally has done everything in her power to build a positive online reputation and over time she’s received 19 reviews, all of them 5 stars. Now, let’s take another real estate agent, Kimberly, has also done a great job of serving her clients, but never asked for reviews or worried about her online reputation. She’s only received 2 reviews so far, but they were both 5 stars. So at this point, both Sally and Kimberly are 5 star rated agents. Perfect.
But then they both get a new client – And they are both the types of clients that you just can’t please. No matter what Sally and Kimberly do to make these clients happy, nothing works. They close the deal and both of their clients review them online – And it’s a measly 1-star review.
Since Sally already had 19 reviews, the 20th review puts her at a 4.8. But Kimberly isn’t so lucky. Since she only had 2 previous reviews on her account, that 3rd review puts her at a 3.6- Eek! Sally will still get loads of business, but Kimberly is now in hot water.
Don’t let this happen to you. The best way to ensure that your business won’t be affected by the negative review that comes – and it will if you’re in business long enough – is to dilute it with positive reviews first.
You’re Being Reviewed Whether You Participate Or Not
Did you know that both Google and Yelp have directory listings for your business already? And did you know that people are allowed to review your business without your knowledge approval? And did you also know that some of your unclaimed business profiles are advertising your competitors? Well, it’s happening.
Google your personal name and your business name to see what comes up. Then, create an account on every site that is associated with your business if you haven’t already done so. Claiming your business will allow you to take control of your online reputation in a positive way.
Best Practices For Real Estate Agent Reviews
- Respond to all of your reviews, especially the negative ones
- Never combat negative reviews online. Politely, ask the person to private message you so that you can provide a solution.
- Testimonials on your website are not as effective, they need to be on all of the major review portals
- Once you have an outstanding online reputation, this is powerful social proof – Send links to your online profiles to potential clients before meeting with them to establish yourself as a market leader
- Always include keywords in your reviews like “local Realtor” and “Miami Real Estate Agent” so you come up in more searches results
- Instead of asking for a review, ask your clients to “share their experience” – It has a more positive connotation
- Ask for the review throughout the entire process, not just after the close
- Ask for a review at the final walk through and secure a verbal confirmation
- People are usually very busy right after closing time, so follow up with them about a month later if the review still hasn’t appeared
- Oftentimes, people are too busy right after closing, so following up a month later has been more successful.
- Whatever review portal they found you on, have them review you on that portal to reduce friction
- Use apps like Revleap and Agent Reputation to get more positive reviews and mitigate the negative
- You can also build a landing page with links to the different review portals, so you only have to give them one domain (just be sure to exclude Yelp from this page though)
Which Review Sites Should Realtors Focus On?
Admittedly, there are hundreds of review sites out there, but only a few really matter: Yelp, Zillow, Facebook, and Google. I’ll each of them in detail below and the reasons you should make them a priority.
There’s a reason why I listed Yelp first. First, Yelp tends to show up first in all of the Google search results. This means that anyone looking for a local Realtor is probably going to end up on Yelp at some point, so you want to have an amazing profile for them to land on when they get there. Second, Google scrapes its ratings from your Yelp profiles, which means that when people Google you, they are going to see the orange stars by your name. And finally, Siri pulls her results from Yelp, which means that when someone asks her to find a local Realtor, that’s the first place she’s going to look.
That being said, I’m going to acknowledge that Yelp is one of the most well-known review sites, and also one of the most controversial. Real estate agents tend to hate this platform with a passion. I’ve heard agents say that Yelp buries reviews until you advertise with them, that they have aggressive sales tactics, and more.
The bottom line is that I’ve worked with clients who get a ton of business from Yelp and any agent that says otherwise just needs a little advice on how to properly work the platform.
Yelp Review Tips For Realtors
- Yelp has a right to terminate your account if you drive reviews to your profile in any way
- Yelp tends to bury reviews that come from direct links (i.e. email or text messages)
- Yelp tends to bury reviews that come in bulk within a short time frame
- Yelp tends to bury reviews that don’t come from active Yelpers
- An active Yelper is someone who has a completed profile, lots of images, a good amount of reviews, and friends on Yelp
- Yelp favors reviews when the reviewer is logged into the Yelp mobile app
- Add lots of personal photos and listing photos
As long as you abide by these rules, Yelp can be one of the greatest sources of business for Realtors ever created.
This one goes without saying because it’s the largest real estate portal in the world. It also has good rankings on Google and the orange stars will appear next to your business name as well for the world to see.
Zillow Review Tips For Realtors
- Fill out your profile completely
- Include all of your past sales
- Request lots of reviews
- Add a profile video to feature on your page
- Add lots of personal photos and listings photos
- Sign up for local area alerts, so that you’re notified whenever a local question is posted
Facebook is also on the list for a few reasons. First, the reviews from your Facebook Busines Page also appear in Google search results, and so do the orange stars. And second, everyone is one Facebook, so it’s much easier for them to give you a review there when you ask.
Facebook Review Tips For Realtors
- Fill out your profile completely
- To ensure that you get Facebook Reviews, befriend all of your clients on Facebook, then send them a link via direct message
- Run Facebook ads before, during, and after the listing
- Upload your database to Facebook and run ads to your entire database
Google is on the list because it’s the largest search engine in the world and if it has instituted a review system, then we should probably pay attention to it. Furthermore, Google also scrapes the reviews from all of the review sites above, so you want to make sure to monitor your overall presence on the platform.
Google Review Tips For Realtors
- Sign up for a Google My Business account
- Monitor all reviews from the Google Admin Console
Okay, so what have you learned today? What review platform are you getting leads from? Tell us your story, we want to know!