Get Positive Online Reviews
I find myself working with mostly real estate agents and agencies these days, but this post is just as important to anyone in business. For realtors testimonials and online reviews have become the standard for consumers in deciding whom to do business with. Good reviews from real customers are almost as good as a referral from a friend or family member. Bad reviews are the kiss of death. Unfortunately, there are many businesses that don’t get reviews or testimonials unless the customer has had a bad experience. They’re quick to let everyone know who not to do business with, but good experiences seem to fade away as happy memories. Even more, unfortunately, real estate is one of those industries. Less than 1% of reviews in real estate come from happy customers. Much more often it’s the disgruntled tenants that choose to vent online. How can you fix that situation?
Ask For Them
The simplest answer is often overlooked and sometimes panned as solicitation. And it is a solicitation, but what exactly is wrong with asking a client that you have spent time and effort with to achieve a mutually positive outcome for a good word? Absolutely nothing. In fact, it’s the natural next step after the completion of a great transaction. Agents are in the same position as salespeople in this situation. You’ve spent face-to-face time with the client, you’ve worked hard to get them what they want, and you’ve developed a rapport along the way. You have no problem asking for a referral, so why would you shy from asking for an online review or testimonial?
How to Ask
Having testimonials on your website is great, but it’s much more effective to have these broadcast on social media for more people to see. The most common tactic for asking is indisputable via email, although it’s not the most effective. If you do send emails to ask for reviews or testimonials, make sure that you personalise the email and include a ‘review’ button (please see below for an example) that makes the process as simple as possible for them. The more effective way to ask in person. A face to face request is almost 10 times more likely to receive a ‘yes’. One agent, I’ve met records video testimonials from every client after their closing and then posts them himself. It’s just a part of his overall transaction, not an ‘add-on’ or anything uncomfortable. The clients are always in a good mood because they’ve just received the keys to their new home or their check for selling their home. Perfect timing, and smiling clients. One note on asking for reviews: many sites discourage or forbid businesses from providing ‘incentives’ in exchange for reviews. The best practice is simply not to ever do this!
Review Button Examples please click to try:
The links will go to Real Social’s review pages only as an example. If you have any questions on how to do this for yourself please feel free to email us.
Video testimonials are great, but if you’re going to do it at all – do it well! A professional image always presents better than a DIY attitude, i.e. shot off the cuff on your iPhone. Professional doesn’t mean boring or stuffy. Make them light and watchable. Here is an example by Dave Dwyer in Brisbane, Australia. His videos are very professional, as you can see below, but also easy to watch.
Videos cut across platform boundaries, so you can grow your Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube channels simultaneously with the same content (you don’t want to always do this with text posts). Videos and images are still the most liked and shared posts, so by growing your testimonial collection you can also grow your social media presence.
Make it Organisational
This agent’s idea should be incorporated in some way into every agent’s or agency’s standard operating procedure. The idea should be promoted from the top down and never neglected in any transaction. Training can even be instituted for employees of an agency to make sure everyone understands the importance. And it is very important. As stated before, you are almost guaranteed to get negative reviews. And negative reviews online are really, really bad for business. To counteract this almost certainty, you need to work hard to get more positive reviews than negative. Many more. And once those positive reviews greatly outweigh the negative, it would be surprising if a business doesn’t look up going forward.