THE VALUE OF REVIEWS
If you think that online reviews have no influence on your prospect, you’re dead wrong. More and more consumers are looking for online reviews about you and the only thing that may be worse than a negative review is to have no reviews at all! After all, wouldn’t you be skeptical of a product on Amazon or eBay that didn’t have reviews? Of course, hiring a real estate agent is a much bigger decision, which makes online reviews that much more important.
CONSIDER THESE 2013 GOOGLE RESEARCH FINDINGS:
- 89 percent of consumers say online reviews are trustworthy;
- 86 percent of consumers look for online reviews when researching products or services;
- 80 percent of consumers say negative reviews will dissuade them from making a purchase;
- And, 85 percent of consumers say they’re more likely to make a purchase if the product or service has favorable online reviews.
Google and Yelp! are the most influential online review websites, and the study showed that having no reviews is as bad as having negative reviews. So how can you get good reviews or offset negative ones? Here are some tips:
HAVE AN OPTIMIZED WEBSITE
This sounds simple, but having a website that ranks well in search results will allow prospects to see who you are and give you control over the message.
ASK CLIENTS FOR REVIEWS
Happy clients are the least likely to post a review, so ask your satisfied clients to go to Google, Yelp!, LinkedIn or other websites and post their feedback on your services. I also recommend that you implement an exit interview process after each matter is concluded; this allows you to address any issues with your client that could prevent a negative review either online or via word-of-mouth
NEVER POST FAKE REVIEWS
Consumers can sniff out the fake reviews and after that happens, you won’t be trusted. Not to mention this is highly unethical
MONITOR ONLINE REPUTATION
If you get a negative review, respond appropriately online and offline. Acknowledge the review with a reasoned, rational response and then take it offline to attempt a resolution. Be sure to thank those who post positive reviews as well.
Most REALTORS hesitate to become involved with online review sites, fearing a negative review. Let me share something with you: you cannot work in this industry without eventually having an unhappy client. Avoiding these platforms altogether because you’re fearful that someone will give you a negative review just doesn’t make sense. Don’t let your fear control you.
The way to successfully handle a negative review is to have as many positive reviews as possible. Think about it, the last time you went to order something on Amazon, did the product have both positive and negative reviews? Of course!
But you still purchased it right? Why? Because innately we all know that there will always be someone who isn’t happy with a product or service. As long as we see more positive reviews than negative ones, we usually still invest in the product or service.
Recognize that it’s just feedback. By asking people to review you and give their honest feedback, you have the opportunity to grow, learn and improve the client experience. Although the experience can be painful, it is necessary if you really want to wow the client and build a lifestyle real estate business.
CLIENTS AS REFERRAL SOURCES
There are four primary reasons real estate agents don’t receive more referrals:
- Your referral sources aren’t adequately educated about what you do.
- You’re too vague about your perfect client.
- You don’t consistently communicate with your clients.
- You fail to remind them to send you a referral.
So how do you identify your best client referral sources? Listen! You’ll learn what clients want and be able to deliver it, which makes for more referrals and better client retention. Here are some important methods you can use to actively listen to clients:
Always offer clients a way to provide feedback, through your website, an online survey and in your e-newsletter campaign. Simply asking for their thoughts is often enough to garner some important insights.
If you’re a regular Starbucks customer, you have undoubtedly received a free survey with your receipt. You provide them with some feedback online and you get a free drink for your efforts. This demonstrates the importance of asking clients for their thoughts about their experience with your firm. Keep your finger on the pulse of how satisfied they’re with how your firm is treating them, and you’ll have a satisfied client who is more likely to refer you to others.
SOCIAL MEDIA INTERACTION
Monitor your social media channels to see what people are saying about you. You can search for your company name on Twitter and Facebook, and you should be regularly monitoring LinkedIn groups, Yelp! and Google for other comments about your company
CLIENT SATISFACTION SURVEYS
Using formal client satisfaction surveys gauges client experiences with your firm. Send one out after each engagement is closed and respond immediately and personally to any negative feedback.
Once you have gathered a list of good potential client referral sources, you need to educate them on what your ideal client looks like. Here are the top five things your referral sources need to know:
- What your perfect client looks like. You need to answer this question very specifically. The more clear your description, the easier people can envision your clients.
- Why someone should hire you. Be sure your referral sources understand the precise reason you’re better than your competitors and how you differ from others.
- What problems you solve. By helping your referral source understand the kinds of problems you solve for clients, they will know what to listen for in daily conversations and be able to recommend you to someone who mentions having a problem you solve.
- How you follow up. Your referral source needs to know you will follow up promptly and professionally with the people they send your way.
- Why referrals are important to you. Let your source know that you rely on referrals as a way to build your business and how much you will appreciate their referring people to you.
And finally, always remember to thank them and let them know that their referral is meaningful to you.