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The Power of Real Estate Agent Reviews

September 23 2014

thumbs up on couchThe internet has transformed the way we make decisions about nearly everything in life -- which products we buy, which doctor we visit, who we date -- that it's clearly no surprise that online reviews play a major role in all of these decisions. Now that the internet is powering real estate -- with nearly all home searches beginning online -- REALTORS® using client testimonials in their marketing the same way merchants use customer reviews to sell products.

Real estate agents always want to be developing and marketing their skills. There's really no better way these days to sell a product or service than to gather and publish reviews from real people. It works on Amazon, it works on e-commerce sites and Facebook, and it also works in the service industry.

In the old days your real estate business might have relied on word-of-mouth, print ads and home-sale figures to promote itself. Now it relies on your online marketing and internet profile, including your website, social media accounts, blog and listings. While it's crucial to keep your online presence fresh and up-to-date, it's important to know what people are looking for when deciding to take you on as a real estate agent. That can be answered in one simple question: "Can you sell their home or find them a home?" Client testimonials can help sway those potential customers by showcasing what past clients think of your skills and experience.

Online reviews are becoming big business with companies. As the New York Times points out (For $2 a Star, an Online Retailer Gets 5-Star Product ReviewsFor $2 a Star, an Online Retailer Gets 5-Star Product Reviews) some retailers offer major discounts to customers who write positive 5-star reviews on Amazon and other retail sites, in some cases offering a rebate that results in a free product.

Aside from any ethical judgment about what these retailers are doing, the article makes a larger point about the "value" of client testimonials. If a company is essentially offering free products for positive reviews, it's a sign that more and more customers, prospects and clients are consulting user-generated reviews and making major decisions based upon them.

ReachFactor is one of the leaders in real estate agent review technology. Agents who use ReachFactor do so for a number of reasons, but the overall benefit is that it helps them build an online reputation that enhances other forms of automated marketing like Facebook pages, Craigslist flyers, and their online profile on the ReachFactor site.

Your real estate agent reviews serve the purpose of marketing and reputation-building. Once they're in the can, they market your skills and track record. But as a business owner, these testimonials do much more than that: They provide you and your colleagues with valuable feedback that can positively affect future transactions and generate repeat customers.

Since the web changed from being editorially regulated to more participatory and user-generated (a.k.a. web 2.0) merchants and professionals have slowly opened up to product (or client) reviews on their web sites as a way to market their goods and reputations. Yet, customers might worry that the reviews are canned, and professionals may worry that competitors will find a way to publish bad reviews on their sites. This is why merchants like Amazon and sites like ReachFactor have safeguards in place to verify the testimonials so that a customer can trust what's being said about the product or professional. In the matter of real estate testimonials, it's stressful enough trying to find the right real estate agent for a home transaction than to have to worry about whether the agent's testimonials are legitimate.

What sets ReachFactor apart is their verification process. Each review is manually verified, so both agents and prospects can feel confident about the testimonials.

In addition to being excellent real estate agent marketing tools, real estate agent reviews also create an excellent after-sale line of communication with your clients. Giving clients the opportunity to comment on your skills, service and experience shows them that you appreciated their business, care about their opinion and want to improve the way you do business. Overall, it's a good first step in solidifying your long-term client relationships.

As an agent, you'll want to sign up for a service like ReachFactor and start making these client reviews part of your closing process.

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