Clients can play a major role in the success or failure of any business. Well, technically, if you think about it; they are the business. For real estate agents, especially those working outside of a large brokerage firm, word-of-mouth referrals from clients are not only the best; sometimes they’re the sole form of advertisement for their business, and to build a strong brand and business, agents need to display the real estate agent reviews generated by clients on their website and social media platforms. Why? Because fellow client reviews are often seen as more credible and trustworthy to clients rather than judging based on their potential real estate agent’s supposed competency. So, asking for feedback from clients, and especially asking for reviews is very important for any real estate agent in order to retain future clients.
Asking for feedback from clients
Keep in contact with clients: We all know how difficult it is asking for reviews. We get shy, we’re afraid to disturb our former clients. So, the first thing one needs to do when learning how to encourage customers to write reviews is to keep in touch. If you call or send an e-mail out of the blue – after having spent months without saying a word – they can find it a bit offensive and you might even get a review, but not a positive one; and those are not the type of customer feedback you’re looking for, right? If you keep in touch with former clients, you won’t: (i) feel like you’re disturbing them, popping by just to get what you need and (ii) they won’t feel like you’re using them. It’s all about making natural and casual the fact that you’re asking for reviews.
But how to do that? How to encourage customers to write reviews?
So, once the house is sold and the deal is complete, make sure to continue to nurture your relationship with your client. Make follow-up calls 1 week, 1 month and 3 months after closing – chances are you’ll have lingering issues regarding the house to talk to him (or her) anyways but try to focus on personal aspects of the house to build a relationship. Do the e-mails too. Send one exclusively asking for reviews; provide the link to your reviews page or however you’re compiling them inside the message. If they don’t do it via e-mail, reach out by phone after the 3rd-month call and ask them straight up for their kindness in helping you by writing a review. Try SMS too; people are busy, so it might be easier for them to reply a text on the go with their review. Listen, even if not for the reviews; failing to follow up with clients is one of the reasons why real estate agents fail and get out of business, so start connecting with your former clients and asking for feedback from clients will get easier on both of you.
Give something in return: people are busy. Even if you properly follow-up and nurture a relationship with your clients; they might not have the time and interest to turn on the computer, go to wherever and write a comprehensive review – because you’re not after token “great agent! I recommend!” reviews; right? So spice things up; throw a prize in the mix. A sweepstakes of sorts where clients who write reviews over the next 30 or something days will be eligible for a reward. Because you’re a real estate agent, make it real estate related. Maybe some home bar essentials? A reduction on your next service fees – or even a small free service that you could provide, like a no-strings-attached Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)? – can also be a good attractive idea when asking for reviews.
Make it easy for them: from a business side, asking for reviews for your own website is cool but everyone knows you will only put the best most positive ones, right? And for the paranoid mind; who can prove those are even real and not just the work of a sneaky/desperate mind in need of good reviews? So we recommend directing your clients to a third-party website for reviews such as Google My Business and LinkedIn. It will give more credibility to the feedback, as both Google My Business and LinkedIn do not allow the business in question (you) to alter any information the client submits. When potential clients see the unbiased truth about service, they will be more inclined to book your services.
But then you ask us: Hey, RealEstateAgent.com; What if I just started? I’ll have just one or two reviews at best…
Still do it. Influencing other people to hire you is not the only reason you should be asking for reviews. Customer feedback is also one of the building blocks of a professional expertise. It’s actually great that you just started in the business. You should make asking for reviews a habit from early on in your career. Make several types of customer feedback available throughout your service so you can correct problems mid-relationship and also for you to analyze data that is not pertinent to only one case. For instance: if you can; have automated call or SMS service right after a phone call questioning how it was and things you could do better. Attach a poll form with questions relating to your performance doing whatever step you’re completing – they just chose you as their client and signed the listing agreement, you just close the deal on their house, you just finished the closing process etc. It seems like a crazy and expensive thing to do, but it actually isn’t. There are a lot of tools and services – like SurveyMonkey, Boast and Typeform – that can help you out with that.
Presenting reviews to your clients
Did you get the gist of how to encourage customers to write reviews? Great! But sorry to break it to you: it’s not enough to just go out asking feedback from clients. You need to transform the reviews and the data into information in a nice, professional, understandable and helping way. Ask for the clients if you can use a picture of them or the house you bought or sold with them. Check out sites and apps like canva, prezzi, or any presentation tool that can produce a nice report of your reviews and data that you’ve collected from previous sales from former clients – or not even previous sales; if you collect data every step of the way like we said before, you’ll be able to use their information even if you did not close the deal for them or if they jumped ship at the very end of the process. You can provide statistics like “10 clients, 5 houses sold, 3 gave up, 2 are still pending; all have received offers”. This sort of transparency will actually help you. But if designing is not your forte, and you’re feeling overwhelmed with stuff that wasn’t really in the brochure when you’ve signed up for this agent thing… well; see how building a real estate team is important? Get a designer to help you out with this and many more things; there’s plenty of work for them in connection with your business.
The social influence of testimonials and the way customer feedback can improve your skills are not to be overlooked. We hope we’ve helped YOU out, and – if so – we hope you have the time to pay it back and write us a review of how our articles have helped you!