This article, modified from a post originally written and published by RankMyAgent.com, takes a close look at online review management. REALTORS® can now display RealSatisfied testimonials and RankMyAgent testimonials on their REALTOR.ca profile page. Visit My Profile tool to update your profile.
Building a strong collection of online reviews is a powerful way to set yourself up for success.
Despite all of the research showing just how important it is for real estate professionals to maintain a positive online reputation, many agents have not fully embraced the need for online review management.
Here are five common myths about online reviews for real estate professionals:
- Most of my business comes from word-of-mouth; I don’t need to worry about online reviews
There’s no denying word-of-mouth is still one of the most powerful tools for real estate professionals to attract new business. However, friends and families of your past clients will still be interested in knowing a little bit more about the person they’re trusting to help navigate such a major financial decision.
Prospective clients are going to look for information about you — even if you have already been referred by a close friend or family member. You want what they’re finding to be positive.
- No one trusts online reviews
Does this sound like you: “I’m not interested in managing my online reputation because no one trusts online reviews?”
In reality, 88% of consumers trust online reviews just as much as they trust word-of-mouth recommendations.
Sure, there are many fake testimonials and biased review sites out there, but the overwhelming majority of today’s consumers are intelligent enough to tell the difference between those and the legitimate, credible client-submitted review platforms.
- It’s too easy for a few negative reviews to damage my reputation
You might be surprised if you knew how many real estate professionals shrug off online reviews because they think their efforts will be wasted if they get negative reviews.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Negative reviews are a normal part of business and today’s review-savvy consumers expect them. In fact, only having spotless five-star feedback might cause some potential clients to have doubts about authenticity.
In many cases, negative reviews can be more powerful sales tools than positive ones because they give you the opportunity to respond and showcase your customer service skills and willingness to work with and satisfy all of your clients.
- Reviews are out of my control. Only dissatisfied clients leave reviews
Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t just unhappy clients who leave reviews. Most reviews out there are positive and, according to poll results, only 19% of people are more likely than normal to write a review after a negative experience.
Compare that to the 17% who said they’re more likely to write a review after a good experience and the number becomes even less significant.
One reason is that modern technology has made it easy for anyone to write a review about anything in just a matter of minutes.
- Online reputation management is either expensive or time-consuming
The Internet is a big place, but that doesn’t mean it has to be hard to manage your online reputation. Sure, there are a lot of different review platforms out there but it doesn’t need to be expensive or time-consuming to make sure prospective clients see an accurate portrayal of your skills, knowledge and level of professionalism.
Through the use of comprehensive review management platforms, you can centralize all of your online feedback and share it across social media and on your personal or brokerage website. This can be a highly effective way to convey your record of past client service to new potential customers.
Actionable steps for online review management
It only takes a few minutes to start developing a positive digital presence. To help, here are six actionable steps:
- Set up your account with an online review platforms;
- Get in touch with recent clients who were happy with your service and ask them to spend just a couple of minutes leaving their thoughts about their experience;
- Share your top reviews across your online community as social proof for potential customers;
- Use widgets to instantly synchronize reviews to your personal or brokerage website;
- Respond to any negative feedback in a polite, professional manner; and
- Rather than attack or attempt to discredit a negative reviewer, respond empathetically and in a way that shows that you’re willing to work to resolve the problem together.
Our thanks to Riti Verma from RankMyAgent.com for the tips on online brand management. Share your own suggestions in the Comment section below.