How to be a 5-star broker with online reviews

Written by Juliet Jacques

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.

Oh No! I Got a Bad Yelp Review!

In today’s technology-driven world, broker reviews are easy to find. And although most brokers work hard to perform well for their clients, even the best brokers get a bad review once in a while. However, knowing how and when to respond can mitigate negative reviews and could even turn them into a positive for brokers. Whether good or bad, word of mouth recommendations carry a certain level of authority among consumers, with nearly 90 percent of consumers saying they trust online reviews as much as word of mouth recommendations.  If you want to know how to get more online reviews, we’ve got you covered.

While 17 percent of consumers say they would write a review after a positive experience with a brand, many reported that they would be more likely to write a review after a bad experience. Once something is posted online, it’s there forever; as a result, many agents worry that a bad review would be detrimental to their business. That’s one of the reasons why building a strong collection of online reviews is a smart way to set yourself up for long term success and part of this strategy is managing negative reviews by addressing them quickly.  

Responding to negative online reviews 

If you don’t regularly monitor and take care of your online reviews, you are risking sending a potential client straight to one of your competitors. But it’s not just the review itself that’s important — how you respond to that review is often just as important, if not more, than the review you received.  

And keep in mind that improperly responding to a negative review can often be just as detrimental as not responding at all. And just like the review, your response will live online for all to see — anyone who searches for you will likely come across your response, so always remember that there’s a huge audience for whatever you post.  

When it comes to responding to negative online reviews, a good rule of thumb is this: simply handle your response the same way you would in person. Even if the customer is in the wrong, begin your response with a sincere apology.  

Here are some other tips for responding to negative online reviews:  

  • Don’t let your ego or pride get in the way. 
  • Always keep your response professional — don’t be defensive and let your feelings take over or get the best of you.  
  • Be empathetic and try to imagine things from your client’s point of view. It can help to think of the client as a friend or relative — respond to the review as if you were talking to someone you care about.  
  • Do your best to try to resolve any issues and help the client — offer them an easy way to contact you directly to resolve any outstanding issues and to get the problem taken care of.  

Lastly, remember that people are looking at how you respond, so it’s always in your best interest to show that you are trying to be as understanding and helpful as possible.  

Using Yelp to Grow Your Real Estate Business 

For real estate agents, having a Yelp profile can give you the edge to help you get ahead of your competition. You may already have a strong online presence marketing your real estate business on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, but if you’re not actively promoting your business on Yelp, you may be missing out on a valuable source of referrals.  Starting a newsletter or blog is another great way to build your referral network.

Many agents are getting referrals and growing their business through Yelp. To learn more about how Yelp can work for real estate agents, how to set up your Yelp profile, how to regularly get reviews, and how to respond to negative reviews, sign up for our course Yelp for your Real Estate Business today.  

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