Reviews are one of the most powerful marketing tools in a real estate agent’s arsenal. When a buyer or seller looks for a real estate agent, they’ll typically start by asking someone they know for a recommendation or by searching for agents or homes online. Having your positive reviews online places you as a contender for that person’s business. And knowing which of your clients were happy enough with your service to recommend you to their family and friends means you can create a plan to follow up with those people throughout the coming years; they’ll  always know how to get in touch with you and have you top of mind. 

You can also include your positive reviews on your flyers, business cards, website, email signature, and social media sites so that anyone who wants to see if you’re the right agent for them can easily see your proven record of success. With all these reasons and ways to use testimonials, there are still many real estate agents, who have a lot of very happy past clients, who don’t have very many testimonials. The key to changing this is simple: you just have to ask.

Some past clients will take the initiative themselves and leave a positive review on their favorite review site, but many won’t. Even if they do, you won’t necessarily see the review if you aren’t using an active reputation monitoring system, like the one offered in Homes.com’s social media management services. So, it’s best to take the matter into your own hands so that you can send clients to the review sites your business is focused on. 

Have a Plan.

Before you start asking for reviews, figure out where you want them to show up and how you want to use them. It’s a good idea to cast a fairly broad net so that more people have the opportunity to see your reviews, but you have to be careful not to spread your testimonials so thin that you can’t monitor them and respond if you happen to get a negative review. Some popular places you can ask people to submit reviews about your business are Homes.com, Google My Business, Facebook, and Yelp. 

You may want to consider using an updateable URL, such as a bit.ly that you can use to redirect your incoming reviewers over time. That way you can easily shift between review sites without having to update any marketing materials that you include a review request on.

Lay the Groundwork.

The closing table isn’t always the right place to bring up testimonials, but asking beforehand is often jumping the gun and waiting too long after closing can result in indifferent or dispassionate reviews. When you do ask for reviews, make sure this isn’t the first time your client is hearing about your reviews by working existing ones into the buying or selling process. Include them on any marketing or educational materials you share with your clients throughout the process. This will not only give your client more confidence, when you do ask them for public feedback on your performance, they will already have seen your strongest testimonials and will be more likely to write a stronger testimonial as a result. After all, often the biggest hurdle a reviewer has to overcome is figuring out what to say.

Ask for Reviews.

Your individual sales process and relationship with your client will be a strong factor in determining when you should ask for a review. The specific circumstances will also come into play. If your client starts raving about how much they love working with you, go ahead and ask for the testimonial. If not, plan to ask them within the first few days of their deal’s close so that their experience will be fresh in their minds. If you are collecting testimonials on a number of review sites and locations, it’s okay to ask them to leave a review on several. Providing a list of sites for them to choose from if they’re willing to leave a review gives them the option to leave you many positive reviews without coming across as pushy.

If you aren’t sure whether someone you’ve worked with is actually happy with your service, you should still ask them to leave a review, but send them to your website or a review form that you made and control. That way, if the review is negative, you still see their comments and can address them privately. Don’t let the possibility of negative reviews stop you from building your library of testimonials. There are steps you can take to handle negative reviews, that actually leave you looking better than if you only have positive reviews.

If you need help monitoring your online reputation, click here to learn more about Homes.com Social Fuel. This social media program does more than create Facebook ads and post social content on your behalf. It also comes with an advanced reputation management program to help you track the positive and negative things people are saying about you online. Contact us to learn if a reputation manager is right for you.