How to be a 5-star broker with online reviews

A strong online presence is essential for helping you attract new clients and build a good reputation. In fact, potential clients frequently turn to websites like Google Business and Yelp to see reviews by past clients. Creating good profiles on these websites and updating them showcases your business and adds a level of legitimacy. Potential clients will be encouraged by a profile with many sincere reviews, even if they’re not all five stars.

When it comes to choosing a Realtor, clients take a global view of their online presence, Anastasia Yefromova, Communications Specialist for the Steven Cohen Team, told Boston Agent magazine. “It’s hard to trace one single source of why a client works with us, but we found it’s more of a cumulative assessment of how everything looks: reviews, print and website. Having strong online profiles with a lot of reviews will help showcase your history,”

In the process of buying or selling a home, asking clients to leave reviews can easily fall by the wayside. Yefromova recommends sending an email to clients soon after they’ve used your services and letting them know it would mean a lot if they left a review. She also includes a link to the review sites to make the process quick and easy for clients.

When starting to build your profile, Elizabeth Bain of Commonwealth Standard Realty emphasized patience to Boston Agent magazine “It takes time to build up reviews because Yelp’s algorithms will hide many of them,” she said “Currently, more than half of my reviews are being hidden on Yelp. Make it a practice to ask clients for reviews and the profile will gain strength over time”

Take advantage of all the features Yelp offers, such as showing your response rate and response time. Bain emphasizes the importance of these figures. “I think the fast response time is key,” she said. “Consumers are looking for instant gratification, and the response time is one way to stand out against competitors.” Using features like this can help set you apart from the competition, she added.

With negative reviews, if there are only a few you probably don’t need to worry. Yefromova said her company decided not to respond to a negative review to avoid appearing defensive or attacking the client, adding, “It would also look odd if every review is 5 stars — it shows that this is genuine, that these are real people leaving reviews.” And if your profile has fake reviews or reviews not meant for your company, Yelp does have a process for reporting and taking these down. For more on this, check out our course, “Yelp for Your Real Estate Business.”

So don’t be afraid to ask clients to leave reviews. It’s a small step in the home-buying process but a very important way to improve your business in the long run.

How to make virtual meetings and events more engaging and inclusive

They were a novelty at first, but now that we’re used to them, it’s clear there are some serious drawbacks to Zoom and other digital meeting platforms. One person’s audio isn’t working, another has a screaming child or barking dog in the background, and others are clearly not paying attention, unless of course the meeting is interrupted by a Zoombomber.

Another problem is that it can be hard to read the virtual room. With fewer nonverbal clues, people often talk over each other. A 2019 Women in the Workplace report created by McKinsey and LeanIn.org found that 50% of women surveyed had experienced being interrupted or spoken over during a workplace meeting. Digital meeting platforms have likely made the situation worse, allowing workplace bullies to hide behind their screens.

But with some workplaces going permanently remote, it looks like Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts are here to stay. Luckily, there are ways to make virtual meetings more entertaining, compelling and equitable, according to Creative Impact Group President Joanne Brooks, whose company stages corporate events such as trade shows, product launch celebrations, team building exercises, and lately, virtual meetings. Brooks offered the following tips for agents looking to think outside the “Brady Bunch” Zoom box to create a memorable virtual event.

  • Plan ahead. Create an agenda and share it prior to the meeting, but don’t stop there. Have a plan in place in case the meeting — or any participant — goes off on a tangent. Knowing how to bring it back on track is key to keeping participants involved while avoiding dead air or a loss on engagement.
  • Build inclusive interaction. Attendees will get the most out of your meeting if they are able to participate before, during and after the meeting. Find out what participants want to discuss beforehand, organize breakout groups to give attendees the chance to interact and discuss topics at hand, and follow up with relevant resources afterward.
  • Take breaks. Attention spans are even shorter in a virtual setting, according to Brooks, so it’s important to give audience members time to process all the information you’re giving them. The venue may be virtual, but attendees can still move around their space. Incorporate physical movement — even elements of yoga — to retain concentration and focus during a long meeting.
  • Bring in some talent. For a special virtual event, surprise guests by bringing in a comedian, local celebrity or important figure in your company to moderate the meeting. Give attendees a chance to ask questions and interact, something they can’t get from watching a recording. Other ideas to engage stressed out clients or associates include hosting an interactive cooking demo or a virtual fitness training session.
  • Hit them up with treats. Not everything has to be virtual, said Brooks. She suggested mailing packages with branded items ahead of the meeting or delivering lunch to participants’ homes, a memorable way to thank attendees for their time and engagement.
  • Rehearse. Treat a large virtual event like any other involved production you might undertake and give it a dry run ahead of time. Make sure your content is polished, technology is working, and key players are on script.

If you’re looking to work optimally from home, our article on productivity habits has you covered. If you’re looking for other ways to adapt to the new landscape created by COVID-19, read our post on staging for the post-coronavirus era.