Over the years, the business of real estate has transitioned from newspaper and bench ads to internet-based marketing. Future homebuyers now have constant access to real estate content, listings and virtual tours from competing agents—all online. Therefore, an important piece of the lead-gen puzzle is showcasing expertise online—potential clients are looking for a good track record when it comes to finding an agent.
Reviews and testimonials are vital to attracting new business. They are important for converting potential homebuyers looking to hire a real estate agent who can help them on their homeownership journey. As the real estate industry continuously navigates the ever-changing economy, agents should provide their leads with real feedback from real clients to highlight how they’ve managed different challenges over the years.
According to a survey conducted by ZipRealty, 62 percent of online homebuyers say they would contact an agent online based on excellent reviews clearly posted by real customers. Forty-three percent of online buyers who recommended an agent via word of mouth said they would use the internet to research the agent before contacting them.
This is why it is important that agents showcase real customer reviews. Positive testimonials can help potential clients decide who will best help them with the life-changing step of purchasing or selling a home. Reviews are helpful for showing an agent’s track record, as well as their commitment to being an excellent resource in their community.
Google—where most people start their search for products, business and services—has a section dedicated to reviews. Did you know, however, that Google may also pull review information directly from Facebook? So in addition to having reviews on your company website, adding reviews to your social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, can do wonders for you and your business strategy, and can provide future prospects with all the information they are searching for, no matter where they start their search.
To reiterate, reviews allow those in your community, or those interested in moving there, to research and understand how you can help them, getting them closer to working with you. And it can set the standard for the experience they will receive.
The home-buying or selling experience begins at the first contact with a potential client, from the moment they reach out, and continues until the transaction closes (and even past that). It’s important to keep in mind that each and every client will have something to say about their experience, and that’s why following up even after the deal is done is critical.
When asking for reviews, request a few sentences or more depending on their experience. Ask them to state how you helped them, if they would recommend you to a friend or colleague, what specific challenges you helped them overcome, how quickly their transaction closed if done in record time, and anything else they’d like to add. If you’d like even more robust content, ask for a video testimonial if a client had an exceptionally good experience, as this can help prospective clients feel more connected to you.
According to a 2019 Local Consumer Review Survey by BrightLocal, 76 percent of customers who were asked to leave a review, did so. In addition, 90 percent of those consumers also say they used the internet to search local businesses, with 82 percent saying they always read online reviews before making a decision.
So, what does this mean for your real estate business? Reviews are vital. Homebuyers want to ensure they can trust their future agent. As most people today are on social media, it’s more important than ever to not only be an active resource by providing content and keeping your community informed, but also to showcase how you have helped others in the past and how you can help them today.
By Paige Brown
Paige Brown is RISMedia’s content editor. Email her your real estate news and ideas to [email protected].