Remember the famous childhood rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never harm me?” Well, think again. In today’s digital age, words matter, and more importantly, what people are saying about you can make an impact on your business’ reputation.
What are people saying about you?
When was the last time you searched your name to see what came up? Take some time today to search your name on different browsers such as Google, Firefox, or Safari if you are a Mac user.
Why is knowing your business footprint important?
According to NAR statistics, 99% of Millennials search online websites compared to 90% of Boomers. Whether you receive a large amount of your business from referrals or friends, rave reviews and testimonials can catapult you to the top. They can also create strength and value as to why clients should choose YOU.
A 2018 survey reveals how consumers search and what is important to them. Here are some key statistics from the survey:
- 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses (including 95% of people aged 18-34)
- 91% of 18-34-year-old consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- 80% of 18-34-year-olds have written online reviews – compared to just 41% of consumers over 55
3 steps to getting testimonials with ease.
- Determine which sites you will focus on for testimonials. Preferably, start with one and focus only up to three sites as your main review sites. More reviews in one place look a lot better than 20 reviews spread out over multiple sites that your potential clients are not even looking at.
- Share positive reviews on your website. Promote your reviews on your website and social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter. Use them on your presentations and e-mail campaigns.
- Get the review before the deal closes. Life moves at a fast pace now, and as much as your clients value you and the job you did for them, once the closing takes place, people get busy. It takes effort to write a significant review, so request one during the transaction.
Top Realtor Sites For Testimonials
Consumers want to know what their home is worth and the value of the agent they are hiring. Zillow gets huge traffic, so many agents use this site to aggregate their testimonials in one place. On Zillow, you get to have separate star ratings for competences, like your negotiation skills, process expertise, local knowledge, and responsiveness.
The Not So Positive
If you ask your clients for a review, you can send them a link once you register on Zillow or have them go directly there. The challenge is in that Zillow asks that each client register in their system. For the review, they ask a series of questions which clients can respond to and complete about their experience working with you. Another challenge is the way they filter their reviews without letting the consumer know. Unless the testimonial is detailed enough, it might not meet their criteria and will not be published. This can be frustrating. Ask the person giving the review to save a copy of their testimonial on their computer in case they need to re-do it. Zillow does not let you know that the review was not accepted, so you have to keep an eye out, and clients should keep a copy.
Realtor.com was developed to connect realtors with consumers. It offers the most comprehensive, up to date list of properties for sale. Realtors can create their own Realtor profiles and connect their listings to their profile.
The Not So Positive
Realtor.com offers Reviews and Recommendations. Reviews can only be done when you have verified a closed transaction with a buyer or seller. Recommendations can be done by anyone who has worked with you to buy or sell their home. As an example, perhaps you were working with a buyer, and they were not ready yet to purchase. They can still leave a recommendation for you. However, if a client fails to register on their website, and it was a verified sale, it may still show up as a recommendation. When someone searches on realtor.com for you, they may see more recommendations than reviews. This can be confusing to the consumer.
Google (Google My Business)
Google is an important place for reviews, and they have made reviews a key factor in their algorithms when people search your name. This gives consumers an opportunity to find you and see what city you are working in and learn more about you. Google is key for your real estate business. People will Google your name, so your positive presence is important. If you want to rank in Google, you need to tell them where you are, which also plays into Google Maps. If you are in the real estate business, you want to have a presence here.
The Not So Positive
There is no guarantee that you will rank high on a search with Google, but Google My Business gives you have a chance to be visible. Take a positive step and start your profile on Google. Google verifies your location by sending a confirmation to your office address. Please make sure that your office will accept mail on your behalf.
Many websites promote Yelp, Foursquare, BBB, and Trulia, among many others, as places to post realtor reviews. My suggestion is to begin with ONE of the top three listed above. Keep it simple so you can begin now.
There are many advantages of having public testimonials. Some of the advantages include: building trust, standing out from the competition, and reaching a wide range of consumers who are searching online.
When you have a growing list of Zillow, Realtor.com or Google testimonials, your website has an even greater chance of being discovered.
Continue to endeavor this new year out positively. Make sure you are using recent reviews, received within the last 3 months. Look to your former clients as a great source for reviews. Also, please use authentic ones and not ones that are paid for through social channels. Readers can sense when the reviews are fake. Remember it is ok to get a negative review. It happens from time to time. Be sure to respond to the review in a positive and professional manner. That’s what keeps it real.
Highlight those positive reviews along with the stars on all your printed material, presentations and throughout social media. Be a rock star this year! Gain some fame with testimonials from satisfied clients.
Written for Form Simplicity by Janice Zaltman, a Realtor, LEED AP, Marketing Coach and Writer with more than 20 years of experience in the sales, marketing and media fields.