You know how important online reviews are to your real estate business, but if you’re like many agents, it’s one of those things that you put off every year.
Don’t put it off any longer! Online reviews will only become more critical for real estate agents heading into 2022. Why? Consider digital marketing platform BrightLocal found nearly 90% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2020.
Also, the number of agent-represented buyers who consider online reviews and ratings “as very or extremely important” jumped 11 points over 2018’s data, from 42% to 53%, with an even larger share among younger buyers, according to Zillow Consumer Housing Trends 2020.
Clearly, younger generations value online reviews the most as Zillow data again illustrates ratings and reviews scoring “very/extremely important” with 61% of Gen Z, 66% of millennials and 53% of Gen X buyers who work with an agent.
Millennials, in particular, are used to consulting reviews for everything from comparing dog parks to auto mechanics. So it’s only natural that they’re likely to consult online reviews and ratings before choosing you to be their real estate agent.
Timing is everything when asking for a review. You don’t want to ask for it too early when the transaction is still in play, and you shouldn’t wait too long when the client has moved on to other priorities in their life.
Instead, catch the buyer when the excitement of owning their new home is fresh and they’re excited to rave about their agent experience. When you hand over the keys, mention that they’ll be receiving a review request. By catching them hot off the heels of the sale, the client will be more likely to recall specific, accurate details about the process and lead to a more genuine, inspiring review.
Asking for a general review may not be enough to yield the results you’re really looking for and may undercut your true talent. Ask the client to write about the part of the client/agent experience that you feel will have the greatest impact. Perhaps you found the client the perfect house and earned the winning bid by making an offer in record time. By giving clear, specific guidelines upfront — without putting words in their mouth — you can help guide the theme of the subject matter.
BrightLocal found that consumers consider the following five factors most important when reading reviews:
In that same survey, only 48% of consumers say they would consider using a business with fewer than 4 stars, and 73% say they only pay attention to reviews written in the last month.
The key, therefore, is to create a consistent, review-generating process that will enable you to post timely, quantifiable and qualitative reviews year-round for your business.
Of course, most agents want to see only stellar, flawless reviews posted on their behalf, but even the highest top-performing real estate pros will occasionally receive negative feedback. By responding to all feedback — good and bad, you’re letting both existing and prospective clients know you care enough about your service to fix any areas of concern. Take responsibility for any slips in service that may have occurred; and, if the situation seems like it may warrant a detailed explanation, take the conversation offline and let the client know you’ll be contacting them directly. If you feel like you need to explain a situation in response to a negative review, read your response from a third-party perspective and consider soliciting a second- or third opinion from a trusted friend or colleague before you post.
Maybe you’re interested in working with first-time buyers or downsizers. Or perhaps you have expertise in working with investors and contractors interested in fixer uppers. Whatever your desired specialty, soliciting more of those types of reviews will help you build your portfolio and develop a niche to help guide the future of your business.
Requesting reviews is one of those tasks that agents can easily forget. However, by integrating your Zillow Premier Agent and dotloop accounts all the heavy lifting is done for you. Every time you close a transaction in dotloop, the integration will ask you if you want to send an auto-generated review request to your client. Any reviews received will automatically post on your Zillow Premier profile page.
Here’s an easy 2-step process to use the Zillow Premier Agent integration and get reviewed in 2022:
When you receive leads through your Zillow Premier Agent account, you can create a transaction directly in dotloop using the Zillow Premier Agent app and request reviews once you close the transaction in the transaction management platform.
If you’re not already integrated, this simple process will enable you to quickly generate online reviews and ratings to build your business. To integrate your Zillow Premier Agent and dotloop accounts, follow this navigation:
Log into your Zillow Premier Agent profile > Settings > Link Dotloop > Link Dotloop Account. Click sign in and then “Link Accounts”
Every time you close a transaction in dotloop, the system will prompt you to auto-generate a review request for your Premier Agent Profile directly from dotloop. At your discretion, the client will receive a request to write a review, which will then post automatically to your profile.
While Zillow is a great place to start for online reviews, you’ll also want to pay attention to your reviews on other sites, namely Google, and your own business website, which will have a major SEO impact on your search rankings. These sites will require a little extra lift on your part but will handsomely reward by playing into Google’s algorithms which favor original content.
It’s not uncommon for clients, especially new homeowners, to miss an email or two. They may have the best intentions to review you but, like you, they too get distracted and forget. As a best practice, wait about 1-2 months before sending a followup email with your review request for those who fail to act initially on the first request.
Received a glowing review from a recent client? Great! Now highlight that quote on your social media channels. Create a visually attractive graphic using a pull quote format, characterized by large quotation marks, a quote of no more than 2-3 lines, maybe a picture (with permission) and attribution of the reviewer. Just make sure you check with your client before sharing on your social channels. If they’re reluctant to post their full name, you might ask them to use an initial for the first or last name.
No great review should go unrecognized, so it’s always worthwhile to take the time to thank an exceptional review written on your behalf. Reply publicly and thank the client for their business, then pick up the phone and call them.
The sale may be final, but the impression of your reviews, and the way you respond to those stellar write-ups, will continue to shape your reputation long into the future.
Make sure to catch next week’s blog on “Resolution #2: Integrate with Time-Saving Apps for Virtual Transaction,” in which we’ll show you how to work smarter and build more efficiency into your transactions using two key integrations.