You are viewing our site as an Agent, Switch Your View:

Agent | Broker     Reset Filters to Default     Back to List

Part 2: Build a Mountain of Compliments!

March 01 2011

Mountain of agent image 1People like to evaluate and share experiences. When it comes to evaluating an experience and letting others know where they landed, the people that choose to take time out of their day are typically those who either had an exemplary experience or an awful one.

Agent ratings serve two purposes:

  1. To give valuable feedback to an agent for him/her to understand areas of strength and areas that need to be strengthened
  2. To provide the agent with testimonials they can use to build their online reputation and establish local expertise

As you are reading through this series about agent ratings and the available solutions to real estate professionals today, what is your motivation?

Are you looking for a marketing tool? Are you looking for a way to stand out from your other local competitors?

Or do you feel like you have reached a plateau as a professional and would like feedback to help you grow and expand your skill set?

This series will help both types of people find the solution that fits their needs.

 

I will say that if you are not looking to use agent ratings as a means of growing your skill set or enhancing yourself as a professional, but you are looking for an easy, attractive way to showcase what skills your clients feel you exemplify, this will be an interesting solution for you.

Mountain of Agents has a unique way they gather and showcase agent ratings. I asked Michael Becker, founder of this company, to share his insights and solution with us as we learn about their offering.

Why Agent Ratings Matter

"In an industry where word of mouth is still king, ratings are an important intangible factor that can definitely swing prospective clients to contact one agent over another," says Becker.Mountain fo agents image 2

After a consumer has done their research on buying and selling a home, the next important step is to find the right real estate agent to meet their emotional and situational needs. Becker demonstrates how online homebuyers can search Mountain of Agent's zip code directory, quickly finding local agents with the highest ratings. This online portal gives agents the ability to accumulate compliment ratings and reserve a specific zip code to further establish themselves as the local expert.

 


Online reputation matters to any service professional. Becker says, "Given that most tech savvy consumers are using the Internet to also find agents, it's imperative your online reputation sparkles with rave reviews and high ratings."

Becker views agent ratings as a tool to gauge customer satisfaction. The goal of agent ratings to Becker is to create a strong online and offline brand. Agent ratings are not limited to online marketing alone. These ratings can be added to marketing materials offline as well, such as flyers and brochures.

"You can have great ratings on a given web site, but they may not mean much if you're not actively promoting your personal brand in your community. A balanced combination of a great online and offline reputation is what every agent should aim to achieve," says Becker.

When asked where he recommends agents begin to manage their online reputations, Becker believes, "Managing online reputations actually begins offline. With countless website resources for feedback solicitation available, it's more important to focus on your work ethic and your relationship building. You shouldn't find yourself having to 'manage' anything online if your professionalism and conversion rate speaks for itself."

What should agents look for in an Agent Ratings solution?

As a founder of a company that provides an agent rating service, Becker has spent some time evaluating which key features he believes an agent ratings solution should have to meet the needs of real estate professionals. When developing his solution, Becker felt that the following features are essential to a successful agent ratings solution: simplicity, usability and mobility. These are the driving factors of Mountain of Agents.

 


Becker recommends each agent consider the following before joining any rating community:

  • How easy is it for clients and peers to rate me? Can they do it from their smart phones or tablets?
  • How easy is the site to use? Can my clients and peers find me quickly and easily?
  • How much effort does the user have to put in to provide feedback?
  • Will the site represent me positively and follow my own professional standards and personal ethics?
  • Does the site offer social media networking integration?

mountain of agents image 3Becker is passionate about the real estate process and catering to the client. He says, "Mountain of Agents incorporates a fun, interactive rating system to get consumers involved in a painless feedback process. Since most aspects of the home buying or selling process are not "fun," it's important to us to provide at least a few aspects that can be rewarding."

What is Mountain of Agents?

Mountain of Agents is a real estate agent directory that offers an online referral-based rating system designed to help users find the right real estate agent, and to help real estate agents generate direct leads based on their public compliment ratings.

 


Agents can register for this free service online in a few minutes. Once their membership is confirmed, agents can create a profile and add a headline, detailed bio, professional certifications and links to their social media accounts.

Each agent's profile has a unique URL to help agents make it easy to promote to their clients and ask for ratings.

Once they have a profile on Mountain of Agents, agents can solicit clients and peers to submit 'virtual' compliments in six important consumer-based categories:Mountain of agents image 4

  1. Geographical Mastery
  2. Marketing Expertise
  3. Active Interest
  4. Trust and Compassion
  5. Helpfulness
  6. Likeliness of Referral

How is this different from other solutions?

Several solutions gather ratings and post all the results, both the negative and the positive.

 


One key difference between Mountain of Agents and other solutions is that the site's main focus is providing home buyers and home sellers a quick and simple way to find local agents through their zip code directory. They've incorporated a rating mechanism into agent profiles to get both clients and agents actively involved at each stage of the research and feedback process. Mountain of Agents' rating system only gives clients and customers the opportunity to compliment the agent. This means that agents will be able to gather a number of positive ratings, but this solution does not provide an opportunity for agents to hear direct commentary from their clients, or hear any constructive criticism to help them grow as a professional. However, if an agent isn't pretty certain they'll receive positive compliments, chances are they probably won't be signing up, yielding a fairly reliable pool of agents in their directory.

This may not bother some agents; again it comes down to motive. What is they motive for you to solicit ratings from past clients? To grow, bench mark your skills/success, or to showcase your strengths and stand out from the crowd?

For Becker he sees agent ratings as a way to gather positive ratings and make those attractive and easy to add to any online and offline marketing materials. He does not see value in gathering criticism, as far as marketing is concerned.

"If you're worried for any reason that you might receive negative feedback from clients, hold off from joining any rating networks where users or peers can submit written testimonials for the time being. Instead, focus on repairing relationships and improving your own street credit before opening yourself up to the online real estate community." For Becker managing a reputation is first, gathering ratings is second. If a professional does a good job managing their clients, gathering ratings should be almost second nature, and there should not be anything to be concerned about.

 


He says, "Once you're confident in your track record, you'll be able to spend more time promoting your Mountain of Agents profile and networking through the usual social media outlets."

"People are definitely more likely to complain in an open, non-confrontational medium such as the Internet. While plenty of consumers are ready to spread the word about a good experience they've had through any means available, they don't usually have the time to sit down and write a testimonial," explains Becker.

This is one of the main reasons he chose to integrate a simple, anonymous, quantitative rating system into their zip code directory; a system that he believes can only have a positive affect on one of our member's profiles.

"If you feel there are other agents racking up more compliment ratings than you, it's a sign you need to promote your member profile and remind your clients to rate you. Adding one of our badges to your website will also increase your profile's visibility and allow clients direct access to your rating," reminds Becker.

Conclusion

Mountain of Agents is a real estate agent directory designed for consumers to quickly and easily find local agents.

It will benefit agents who are primarily focused on aggregating positive ratings quickly, to get clients involved in the feedback process with minimal effort, and have a simple, colorful display to showcase their strengths. If you are looking for a free agent ratings system that is designed to help your socialize and market your strengths this may be worth checking out.

If you are looking more for a solution that is designed to provide you with open ended feedback in order to help you target strengths as well as weaknesses and grow as a professional, this solution is probably not for you.  Stay tuned, next week we will look at QSC which will be more up your alley.


Click here to read the other articles in the Agent Ratings 101 column.

RET-Read-More-Articles-button-150px