It doesn’t matter if it’s a restaurant, a cell phone, or a pickup truck, one thing is certain: online reviews matter.
This is especially true for your real estate business. According to a recent study, 87% of American consumers read online reviews for local businesses last year, up 6% in comparison to the year before.
Learn how you can harness the power of positive real estate reviews. We’ll address everything you need to generate great reviews from your clients in a variety of ways.
But first, let's look at why reviews are key to lead generation.
Why real estate reviews are important
Imagine being able to instantly build trust in the minds of countless future clients and generate more listings—all for free.
Sounds too good to be true? It’s not if your business has good online reviews.
That’s because reading reviews can be like having your future client talk to tens or even hundreds of people that have worked with you at the same time. They can quickly learn exactly what others experienced, how they felt, and what their final outcome was – all within minutes!
Reviews don't happen on their own. Gaining a wealth of great real estate reviews takes strategy, time, and effort.
But with the right strategy, you can generate great real estate reviews that fuel your business growth.
How to get a great real estate review
With how influential reviews can be on your future clients, it’s best to not leave anything to chance.
Let’s take a look at how to motivate your clients to share their experience.
How to approach asking for a review
“I don’t want to bother them.”
“They’re busy enough.”
“I’ll sound too pushy.”
It's normal to feel this way.
But most of your clients will want to share their positive experience with you if you ask the right way.
Don’t assume your request will annoy them. You go to great lengths for your clients, and they'll likely be happy to reciprocate your generosity. Kindly but confidently ask for a review.
Include the review request as part of your closing process
Choosing the right moment can make all the difference. This usually happens when they’re aware you’ve accomplished something for them.
The four best ways to ask for a review:
There’s no better opportunity to get a great review than asking face-to-face. The more you cultivate the relationship in person, the more likely they’ll be motivated to refer other sellers to your agents.
Start by asking them how they found you, and mention how online reviews have helped others find you in the past.
As you are reaching that key moment of closing, make sure to bring it up again.
They’re going to feel particularly grateful for your hard work as they see their home buying or selling process officially happen. That’s when you can casually ask them if they would take a minute to write a review to share their experience with others.
Maybe they got swept up with all the excitement and didn’t leave you a review. That’s when a personalized email can work wonders.
You can shoot them a quick email saying how much you appreciated working with them. Talk about how happy you are that you satisfied a particular need of theirs, and how you would appreciate it if they would take a minute to write you a review.
You may find out that they prefer talking on the phone rather than emailing. That’s when a “How are things going?” follow-up call is critical.
Mention first that you didn’t want to take much of their time and that you know they’re busy, but you just wanted to see how everything is going.
Mention how happy you are that you could serve them, and conclude by asking them to take a minute to write you a review.
This is an especially useful channel to motivate younger or first-time homeowners to write you a review. If you perceive that they would rather type than talk, this is the method for them.
Start the conversation by sending a quick text asking how they're doing.
After they’ve responded, ask if they’d be willing to share their experience with others by leaving you a review.
Take advantage of other moments to ask for a review
The best time to ask for a review is near the time you’ve made the greatest difference for that client.
Let’s take a look two great opportunities to ask for a review:
After showing a home
Most tours allow plenty of time to show the home, explain the process, and guide them on what they need to do. While you’re giving them the next steps they need to take, be sure to kindly mention how much you would appreciate sharing how you helped them with others by writing you a review.
Months after closing
Don’t assume the ship has sailed just because they haven’t left you a review yet.
You can still reach out to them with a follow-up email.
Wish them a happy three or six month anniversary, ask how it’s going, and see if they'd mind writing a review about their experience working with you.
Now that we know when and how to ask for a review, let’s see what you can request to include in your reviews.
What a quality review should include
Not all reviews are created equal. The best reviews contain key components that are especially motivating for future clients.
Since your past client is essentially telling their story, it would be the most effective if it included the key elements to that story.
The best components to a review:
- Attention-grabbing one liner (story introduction). In a single sentence, sum up their experience with you. This could be what you did for them or the quality that best describes what it's like to work with you.
- Why they needed you (story conflict). They might have felt overwhelmed with buying or selling, perhaps they needed guidance, or they had a bad experience before. Either way, this will explain what motivated them to turn to you for help.
- How you solved the problem (story climax). Here’s where they share what you did for them and how. This is often the part that most deserves any details they want to share about your services.
- What they recommend (story resolution). Finally, here’s where they apply their experience to any potential clients unsure about working with you. They talk about how you’re the agent they recommend or how anyone that works with you won’t regret it.
Having these components in mind is useful for clients who seem to be especially pleased with your services. You can request these four components in a review template over email. Doing so will make writing a review easier for them, as it will be a simple fill-in-the-blank format.
Now that you're all ready to request reviews, let's look at the best platforms to gather them.
The best places to get reviews (and why)
This is the best place to direct your past clients. If you can get a client to review you on Google, it will help you in multiple ways:
First, it’s the most-used search engine. Period. That means more eyes will see it.
Second, it will help your SEO, or search engine optimization.
Since almost three billion users are active on Facebook each month, chances are your clients will know exactly how to use it to review your business. If you're familiar with Facebook's demographic targeting options, you can develop a strong farming strategy for reviews.
If you’re looking for the most popular real estate website, look no further than Zillow. Having a strong customer review profile here can put your business above the competition.
Of course, there are other sites like Realtor.com and Yelp.
Good reviews on any site are better than no reviews. So if a client has a preference for one of these sites, don’t discourage them. A positive review on Yelp or Realtor.com can still result in a future lead.
Unfortunately, not everyone will leave you glowing 5-star reviews. So how do you provide damage control when this happens?
How to respond to bad reviews online
We’ve all been there: You bend over backwards for a client, providing exceptional service at all hours of the day… only to get a bad review. No matter what you do, some clients are just hard to please.
A bad review doesn’t have to ruin your online presence, though. There are a few simple ways to salvage as much as possible from a bad review.
- Don’t panic. It’s important to recognize that having a few negative reviews can actually lend credibility to the other positive reviews because they make you seem more authentic.
- Respond to their negative review. This can show potential clients that you’re not callus or aloof. Rather, you’re attentive and want to make things right. It can also show them that your disgruntled past client might be off-base with their negative review.
- Acknowledge their point and apologize. Without agreeing with them, simply apologize that they had a negative experience.
- Move them offline. Encourage them to reach out to you personally to see if you can make things right, instead of turning their review into an internet fight club.
- Keep it simple. Leaving a page-long rant defending yourself will make you look defensive and aggressive. However, a short-and-sweet response will give readers a positive impression of you.
How to ask for a video testimonial
There’s no replacement for being able to see and hear the person who is recommending you. The enthusiasm in their voice and conviction in their face can be worth ten ho-hum written reviews.
However, video testimonials aren’t for everyone. Determine what makes a good candidate and what a quality video review should include.
Who to ask
Make sure the person is ready to put their heart into their testimonial. Look for clients who are enthusiastic and who you really hit it off with. Anything less will likely come off as forced or insincere.
What they should include
Similar to what I mentioned above, help them tell their story. Have them include how they felt before they teamed up with you, what you did for them and how, and what the final outcome was.
Make sure to include their name and location. Include your name and contact information at the end to make it easy to contact you.
Having a wealth of positive real estate reviews can be a game-changer for your real estate business. Since they are real people talking about real experiences, each review can have a powerful influence on readers becoming your clients.
However, the best ones don’t just happen. They have to be requested, inviting the client to share the most important information on the right websites. And even though not all are going to be perfect, you can still take a proactive approach to create the best outcome possible.
Curaytor has helped countless agents like you level up their brand online. We'd love to chat with you and find out if we'd be a good fit for your business.