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Why an Up-to-date Agent Profile Helps You List More Homes
Your customers are likely checking you out before agreeing to an appointment. Sellers want to see what else you sold--and buyers want to read what your previous customers have to say about you. Greg Drake makes the effort to ask his customers why they chose him, and found that what they read on his profile pages made a difference. He has figured out how to make sure his reviews get read--in particular by people on the verge of listing or buying a property. Drake has won awards for his five-star customer service. Here is his opinion on how this drives new business. Realtor.com's Local Expert product and your realtor.com profile are meant primarily to get your brand out there where people are shopping for homes. But can you point to actual business this brings? A couple of times this this year, I've had people click on the Local Expert ad on realtor.com and then they went to my realtor.com profile and reviewed that. They then contacted me and I got two listing appointments from it. One was a sell and buy, so I effectively got three sides from that combination of the Local Expert and the realtor.com profile. I know this because I stared asking how they got to me or chose to work with me. I asked them saying, "I know you're interviewing agents, why did you choose me?" Why do you think seeing this makes them inclined to work with you? One of the big things was they saw my Local Expert ad on realtor.com and they felt very comfortable with that backing from realtor.com saying, "Here is your local expert." They felt that it added extra credibility over the other agents that they were interviewing so it was that edge that got the team to where they needed to be to get the listing. It was extremely helpful. So they check you out when comparing agents. How are they going about their research? People find our team through Local Expert at or they'll look at the profile on realtor.com and they'll also go to my LinkedIn. I get a report on how many people have looked at my profile in the last week, and with LinkedIn I can see who is looking. I find a lot of people will do that—they'll do some of the research on realtor.com and go to LinkedIn as well. They look at everything to make sure they are choosing the right agent. They want to feel that the legitimacy and the credibility is there before they'll engage with you or they'll meet you. This occurs with a Connections lead when they say "I want to see this house today." Do they still look you up once you speak with them? You go out and meet them at the house. They don't know you and you don't know them. You're trying to gain rapport and gain credibility. I'll find that they will later go in and look at LinkedIn and then they'll look at my profile on realtor.com. I've asked them, "What guided your decision to work with me after you've seen houses with multiple other agents?" It came back to their research into our credibility and the sales volume and things like that, which show that I am an experienced agent and I know how to get the job done. They also see the recommendations, and from this they felt comfortable with me. That's what gave them the kind of edge to say, "Yes I want to work with you." Being able to bring in buyers is always interesting to sellers. Do you use this advantage when making a pitch for a listing? I bring up Local Expert in listing presentations because it's a key factor for people searching for that. I'm going to show up in your ZIP code as the Local Expert. They're going to contact me to find out more about your home, and who knows your home better than I do when I'm listing it? I can best answer the questions to find out what they're looking for. I can convert that inquiry into a showing, which is a benefit to you versus that lead going to someone who you know doesn't know your home who can't sell your home for you because they don't really know anything about it. Sellers understand it and they'll go online and they'll test it to see who are the couple of people that show up as a Local Expert in this area. To them, they see the value in having the Local Expert marketing the home. They feel comfortable going with me versus somebody who doesn't have that exposure. Greg Drake is the Broker/Owner of Realty Professionals, LLC. He provides a superior level of informed and professional residential real estate services to buyers and sellers in the Denver metro area.  
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Success with Testimonials: 3 Steps to Getting Them with Ease
Remember the famous childhood rhyme, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never harm me?" Well, think again. In today's digital age, words matter, and more importantly, what people are saying about you can make an impact on your business' reputation.
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Real Estate Website Testimonials Done Right
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Why Google Reviews Are Crucial for Real Estate Agents
Great Google reviews aren't just a nice-to-have — they're essential to converting prospects into clients. With 92 percent of buyers starting their home search online, prospects are going to be looking for Google reviews that verify you're a quality real estate agent. To build that trust, you want your smiling face to appear at the top of their Google search results. And, you want to greet them with a great Google business profile, high Google rating and plenty of excellent reviews from past clients. Here are four reasons why Google reviews are crucial for real estate agents:
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How Can You Use Your Strong Reputation to Expand Your Online Brand?
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Online Reviews and Testimonials: A Real Estate Agent's Best Marketing Tool
It used to be that to find a real estate agent, you would ask the people closest to you—friends, family, your next door neighbor. But more and more people are turning to the Internet and social media to provide them this sort of information, using product reviews and customer testimonials. Online reviews have become so important that a 2017 survey reported that 85 percent of consumers trust online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation from a friend. Whether you are a new or seasoned agent, client testimonials and online reviews can make or break your real estate business. Online reviews provide the insights about real estate agents that are most important to potential buyers and sellers—information about the agent's reputation, trustworthiness and knowledge. The kind of information that just may help a potential client choose you as their real estate agent. Satisfied customers willing to share their stories are some of the best marketing tools you can have. A good testimonial is an impartial and truthful account of how effective you are as an agent. A great testimonial can convince even the most skeptical potential client to hire you and help them buy or sell their home. How to Get Customer Reviews
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The Importance of Facebook Reviews and Ratings
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The Importance of Online Google Reviews and Ratings and How to Get Them
Real estate agents appreciate word-of-mouth advertising as much as anyone. Most agents have at one time received a call from someone who heard about them through a friend. So real estate agents have seen firsthand the power of the positive word-of-mouth to produce leads. On the web, that word-of-mouth advertising is often in the form of online reviews and ratings. And, just like literal word-of-mouth, those online reviews and ratings can happen without your knowledge or input. They can also be a major generator of new business. According to CREA, 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as direct word-of-mouth recommendations. And that's just one of the impressive numbers that underline the importance of web-based ratings and reviews. 94 percent of consumers would use a business or service with a four-star online rating Over half of millennials say they trust online reviews more than the opinions of family and friends A star rating is the number one factor used by consumers to judge a business online Why Google Reviews and Ratings Might Be the Most Important
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How to Handle Negative Reviews Like a Pro
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How to Use Real Estate Testimonials Online the Right Way
How can you use real estate testimonials much more effectively for lead generation? It's a question you should be asking yourself if you're not already. In today's online social media world, it's never been more clear that customer referrals and testimonials can grow your business. Especially when it comes to the Millennial generation, who are very reliant on recommendations by their peers for everything from restaurants to real estate professionals.
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[Video] What Happens When Someone Googles Your Name?
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How to Win Over 'On the Fence' Clients — Once and for All!
On occasion, your go-to closing line may not cinch the deal for you, and your prospects or leads may request more time to consider signing on with you. It can be frustrating to not have solidified their business, but, more importantly, you may not have any idea what (if anything) you can do to sway them once and for all. That's where a robust realtor.com® profile can come in handy. The time for the hard sell has come and gone, but by sharing the testimonials and reviews of past clients who have worked with you, you'll be able to offer one resource that could help you win their business.
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How to Leverage Social Proof as a Real Estate Agent
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4 Best Methods for Getting Real Estate Testimonials
Your real estate website, social media posts, and local advertising are a few of the marketing pieces that generate leads for your real estate business. But testimonials are the powerful social proof that your prospects crave. Are you leveraging the power of testimonials from your happy clients? Comments from home buyers and sellers who have worked with you are the proof that prospective clients need to feel confident that you're the agent for them. Here are some of the best ways to get strong real estate testimonials for your business: 1. "Listen" on social media Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are terrific sources for collecting real estate marketing ideas, connecting with prospects and sharing your personal brand. When you receive a positive comment from a happy client, be sure to send them your thanks and ask if they would agree to you using their comment as a testimonial. Even if it wasn't their intention to write a testimonial, you may find that most people will agree to you repurposing their comment in your marketing materials. 2. Host appreciation events for past clients Client appreciation events are a wonderful way to keep in touch with your past clients and ensure they remember who you are. An event could be anything from a family movie night, ice skating afternoon, BBQ, or wine and cheese party. An event is a nice way to have face-to-face interactions with your past clients (which can even lead to referrals!). While you're mingling with your past clients, requesting a testimonial can come up quite naturally in conversation. Let your past clients know that testimonials are helpful for your business and ask them if they'd be willing to contribute.
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How Do You Rate Your Online Reputation?
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Reputation Management: Placement of Online Reviews Matter
More often than not these days, real estate consumers are researching agents and brokers online to verify their reputation before contacting one to buy or sell a home. While it is an effective marketing strategy to increase your sphere of influence through content on social media, blogs, and broker websites, potential clients really want to hear what others are saying about you. While proactively engaging clients to provide online reviews can bolster your reputation as a real estate crackerjack, the neutrality of the venue that consumers find agent reviews makes a difference in credibility and trustworthiness. The authenticity of Realtor reviews on home finder websites can seem dubious for consumers. Anecdotes abound about agents using these sites to repeatedly provide themselves with positive ratings--or, worse yet, exchange positive reviews with their fellow agents quid pro quo to bolster their numbers. Even more, these websites tend to provide little or no oversight over the quality or validity of the reviews. Potential leads are internet savvy enough to know that online reviews on home finder sites are an open field for abuse and gaming of the system. While free review sites also share the bias created by allowing anyone to anonymously say anything without any proof, they can be even more difficult for consumers to understand. Since free review websites were not intended to be inclusive of service industries like real estate, they do not effectively address the complexity of the agent and client relationship. In these venues, it is difficult for agents or brokers to respond to negative reviews as Realtors are bound by a code of ethics and confidentiality agreements that can inhibit online candor, especially with regard to complicated transactions. As a result, consumers cannot distinguish between business misunderstandings, real complaints about an agent, or concocted stories written by a competitor.
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'How are we doing?' – Asking for feedback
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The 3 Best Ways to Get More Real Estate Testimonials
Real estate testimonials from your happy clients are a powerful business-building tool. In fact, they're one of the best credibility indicators in your real estate marketing arsenal. Real estate leads expect you to be biased, but they trust that other buyers and sellers will tell it like it is. That's why testimonials are so powerful; a bunch of great ones on your website can easily sway a lead to pick up the phone and give you a call. But a steady stream of great testimonials doesn't "just happen." Even if you're providing top-notch service, some clients don't think to give you testimonials/ don't realize how important they are to your business success. You need to be proactive. Here are three fantastic ways to get more testimonials: 1. Let clients know you value testimonials. The saying, "If you don't ask, you don't get" is often true. Show your clients your testimonials and let them know you're open to receiving them if they feel you've done a great job. When showing them your testimonials, let them know you're proud when you receive one and how much you value them. Also, it's a good idea to put a blurb in your signature that you're open to receiving testimonials.
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Are You Using Online Reviews to Generate Referrals? (7/19)
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How to Delight Your Negative Commenters into Clients
"This agent is terrible. Would not recommend." It's that sinking feeling you get when you see a bad review. No matter how nasty, I think most of us can deal with negative comments in email form or on the phone. What really sucks is when it's public on social media. That Facebook page you've been working on to build your brand... suddenly shot down with that one comment. What are people going to think of me now? But you know what? Whether it's a bad comment or a bad review, there's a way to bounce back. This commenter is simply a lead that you need to save, and they've given you the chance to impress them—with your whole friends list as your audience. And that translates to an amazing opportunity to highlight your strengths. Handle it well and you not only strengthen your brand, but you might even be able to delight that commenter (plus your onlookers) into a client. So some time ago, we wrote a post on why you need to respond quickly on social media (which I'd encourage you to read first if you haven't already). And today, we're giving you the exact scripts you'll need to combat those negative comments right away.
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How to Create an Online Reputation That Gives Clients Confidence! (6/9)
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How to: Get More Testimonials
Testimonials or reviews from current or past clients are increasingly important to real estate agents. In an age of "social proof," where 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, testimonials are the new "word of mouth" marketing. As a real estate agent, you should be featuring them on all of your marketing materials, including your website and social media channels. But how do you go about getting them? That can be the tricky part, especially because you are already so busy with the business of buying and selling houses. Here are our top three tips to help you collect client reviews that will, in turn, help you collect more clients: Ask for them. It's hard to get something if you don't ask for it! Make asking for testimonials part of your process at closing. Don't say, "Will you leave me a good review on my website?" (which will probably go in one ear and out the other). Instead, ask for feedback: "What did you like about the home buying/selling process?" You can do this via email or in person, depending on your level of comfort. Some clients might even let you film their response with your smartphone, giving you video content that you can easily upload to your website, YouTube channel and Facebook page. Facebook is also a great place to collect testimonials, especially if you add their free review feature to your business page, which brings us to our next tip...
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RankMyAgent: A powerful new tool in the real estate market
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3 Ways to Get More Reviews
Positive online reviews from past clients not only give you more credibility, they can enhance your overall online profile. For example, when someone Googles your name, your Zillow profile has a good chance of appearing in the top 10 search results. Underneath your name, Google users will see your Zillow star rating, which is based on reviews from past clients. The more stars and reviews you have, the better you're going to look to a potential client. The question isn't whether online reviews should be part of your marketing strategy—it's how can you get more of them? Here are three ways to help you do just that. 1. Follow these tips Online reviews should be a key objective in your overall marketing plan. Treat them seriously and be deliberate about the process to get them by following these tips: Be thoughtful about how you ask for a review. Doing an email blast to past clients is the absolute worst way to get a review. Instead, use your request as a way to reconnect with clients, update them on the market, and stay in front of them. Give your clients something in return. When you email your previous clients to ask for a review, provide them something of value, such as updated market data that is relevant to them. Always respond to negative reviews as soon as possible. Even the most professional agent may at some point get a less-than-stellar review. So if you receive a negative review, respond to it quickly. Tactfully present your side of the story and offer a solution to the problem.
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Friday Freebie: Scripts that Make Asking for Recommendations Painless
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How to Get Real Estate Testimonials and Where to Use Them
How often have you turned to the web to read reviews of a trendy restaurant or a hotel you're considering visiting? If you're anything like the majority of consumers out there, you read reviews and testimonials pretty regularly, and guess what? Your real estate prospects do too. Social proof is a relatively new term describing what happens when we read positive comments about a product or service we're considering paying for. It's like the online equivalent of seeing a long queue outside a restaurant... you can't help but think, "Wow, people really love that place. I should try it." Are you leveraging testimonials as the social proof your prospects need to confirm that you're the best REALTOR® for them? Here are some of the best ways to get strong real estate testimonials: 1. Hold a contest for past clients Many satisfied customers are happy to provide you with a testimonial, but if you offer them a chance to win something, they'll be even happier to oblige! Use your real estate CRM to send a mass email to all past clients asking them to provide you with a testimonial about their experience with you as their Realtor. Let them know that those who contribute will be entered in a draw for a gift card at a local restaurant (or another prize of your choosing). Be sure to let contestants know that you'll be using their testimonial in your real estate marketing materials.
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Let Your Clients Market Your Services with Online Reviews
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Online Reputation Management 101
You may have a certain reputation among colleagues and consumers in your local market, but is that reputation reflected online, where many new prospects are doing their research about real estate agents? Today, the Internet is where most consumers are making major decisions about the things they buy and the professionals they choose – real estate agents included. How do you ensure that your online reputation is stellar? It's a complex question that requires a multi-pronged solution. This may include agent ratings, agent profiles on consumer-facing property search portals, social networking, your personal website, and much more. Sound intimidating? That's why many companies with expertise in digital marketing for real estate have taken much of the responsibility off of your hands. Each company manages online reputation management differently, so it's important to understand your objectives and your options. To help you learn more about online reputation management, we recommend reading the following articles. They're a good place to get started: If You Read One Article About the Importance of Online Reviews, Read This One Managing Your Personal Online Presence: A Guide For Real Estate Agents What the Internet Is Saying About You Negative Agent Reviews: What to Do 5 No-Pain Strategies for Getting Testimonials and Online Reviews
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Are Reviews Radically Reshaping Real Estate?
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If You Read One Article About the Importance of Online Reviews, Read This One
Online reviews are an unavoidable part of the way consumers make decisions today. According to a Harvard study, 72% of local consumers consider online reviews to be as trustworthy as personal recommendations. Online reviews are the new word-of-mouth. By following these five simple steps, you can start turning reviewers into allies, and reviews into new business today: 1. Enable Reviews on Facebook Since your potential clients are consulting online reviews, it's in your interest to make reviews easy to find and fill out. Enabling the reviews on your Facebook business page is one of the best ways to do this. (If you don't have a Facebook business page, create one NOW!) Facebook's reviews are prominently displayed and offer visitors to your page the added convenience of not having to go searching for review websites.
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5 No-Pain Strategies for Getting Testimonials and Online Reviews
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3 Action Steps You Can Take Now to Leverage Online Reviews
Lead generation: It's the lifeblood of the real estate professional. And because of this, you continually seek out ways to improve your lead generation strategy and the results it brings. Agent Reviews is a lead generation trend that has been a topic of significant conversation, controversy and scrutiny within the real estate industry in recent years. From Redfin's "Scouting Report" to realtor.com®'s "Agent Match" to high profile undertakings from the Houston Association of Realtors®, the real estate press has been full of stories about Agent Reviews, industry reactions – positive and negative – to Agent Reviews, and how Agent Reviews are changing the competitive landscape of the industry, for the better and for the worse. A new study by T3 Experts sought to tackle the controversial lead generation strategy of Agent Reviews. One conclusion reached from the survey, which included nearly 900 real estate professionals: For those who make it a key part of their business strategy, it does pay to generate leads from Agent Reviews. Here are some of the key findings from the T3 Experts Survey and the Survey Report: The group getting the most leads from Agent Reviews - those with 51+ leads from Agent Reviews in the last 12 months, whom we refer to as "Top Lead Generators" in the Survey Report - are intentionally and purposefully focused on leveraging Agent Reviews as a specific part of their online lead generation strategies. Ergo, more focus equals more results.
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The Power of Real Estate Agent Reviews
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Recommendations for Going Digital
A successful real estate agent will be a master of earning repeat business and referrals. After all, even in today's age of digital marketing, we are a "people" industry. However, a new study sheds a new light on the context of the recommendations we receive. Although the data is limited, the authors of the study conclude that online recommendations may be just as convincing as those made in person. The Study The study was performed by ShareThis in collaboration with the Paley Center for Media. Now, the study is limited because it focuses only on three product categories: supermarket, automotive and mini-tablet. Real estate was not considered. And only 6,000 consumers were surveyed. The online "shares" in the study were on social media and in email. What the authors found was that the lift in purchase incidence from an online share was quite similar to the lift in purchase incidence from an in-person share. You can read the report yourself if you'd like further details.
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Managing Your Personal Online Presence: A Guide For Real Estate Agents
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What the Internet Is Saying About You
Guest contributor Melissa Dittmann Tracey of REALTOR®Mag says: When consumers begin their hunt for real estate, you know where they turn: the Internet. But how do potential customers and clients find their way to you? Broadly speaking, word of mouth, personal connections, and even chance encounters are still the predominant ways people link up to a sales agent. But the Web is assuming a more prominent role in the decision-making process of buyers and sellers as they figure out who can best help them through one of life's most important and trying financial transactions. To be sure, the specter of online ratings and rankings provokes anxiety—even outrage—for some practitioners as the platforms themselves and types of information being shared are still in flux. But make no mistake: Consumers' expectations about using the Internet to find out whatever they can about real estate practitioners is headed nowhere but up. Last year, 12 percent of buyers said they used online recommendations while searching for an agent, up from 3 percent in 2001, and half of those buyers report being influenced by what they read online, according to the 2013 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. The majority of customers who do receive word-of-mouth referrals say they're checking up on you, too, according to a ZipRealty survey of 2,500 buyers in 2012. People are vetting real estate practitioners in the same way they search for plumbers, doctors, and other service providers, using Google searches and review sites like Yelp and Angie's List.
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We are Not Borg
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6 Steps You Can’t Build an Online Reputation Without
Today's tech savvy consumer spends a lot of time online reading reviews, referencing social media and looking through countless websites before making a purchase decision. Since buying a home is one of the largest financial investments a consumer can make, you can bet they are doing extensive research to find the right person to help them through the home buying process. Are you confident in what they are finding about your business? Building a positive online reputation for your brand should be top priority if you are serious about growing your business. Highly recognized brands like Target and Starbucks have spent millions, if not billions, of dollars growing their brand online. While it's unlikely you will ever need this amount of money to market your real estate business, it just goes to show how important your online image is. Homes.com spokesperson Joe Sesso highlighted strategies that can help real estate professionals improve their online reputation during his "6 Steps to Building and Protecting Your Brand" presentation at NAR 2013. We've consolidated this presentation into six easy steps, so that you can use it to start taking control of your online reputation today! 1) Ask yourself three simple questions What does my business do the best? This will help you evaluate the strengths of your company. Sesso stresses not to do too much, rather spend your time focusing on the few things that you excel in. The best way to do this is to figure out what you're doing better than your competitors and build your brand off of those strengths. What does my business lack? Identifying your weaknesses may be the most difficult step of the process. Start by identifying what you can do better, recognizing the areas in which you lack will help you become better at what you do. Sesso has found that the most common weaknesses are inconsistent social media campaigns and lack of customer reviews. Consumers rely on one another for recommendations and these two resources are where they are gaining the most insight. What are my opportunities and potential threats? Determine what competitors you have in your area and find creative ways to stand out from them. If there's a local builder in your market, see if there are any partnership opportunities that allow you to both grow. Maybe there's a new construction neighborhood that has yet to sign an agent to help sell the homes, see if your business can fill that void. Always be on the look out for ways to extend your connections and opportunities to "one-up" the competition.
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Negative Agent Reviews: What to Do
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What to Do About Bad Reviews
Keeping in front of the competition is crucial for agents, and real estate agent reviews create an excellent after-sale line of communication with your clients in addition to being excellent real estate agent marketing tools. Giving clients the opportunity to comment on your skills, service and experience shows them that you appreciate their business, care about their opinion and want to improve you customer service. Overall, it's a great first step in solidifying your long-term client relationships. Some of our more active ReachFactor agents have given us feedback on how to get client reviews. One example is Eugene Mills, who shared with us that gathering real estate testimonials is part of his closing process. And we have also profiled San Antonio REALTOR® Scott Myers, whose utilization of social media has helped him generate a staggering 81 real estate agent reviews. However, most agents probably feel that they don't have the time to add another step to an already detailed and time-consuming process. Also, considering that a home sale can often be an emotional event for people, some agents might not want to open themselves up to negative feedback from an unhappy client. So, what happens at the end of a sale when you receive a negative testimonial from a buyer or seller, especially if nothing could have been done in that situation to satisfy the unhappy customer? ReachFactor member Robert Diamond--whose verified 5-star reviews give him high marks for service, communication, trustworthiness and professionalism--admits that not every client review is going to be a knockout.He says negative reviews have only happened to him twice in his career, and both times he followed the same procedure, which would work for just about any agent who's gathering testimonials and reviews to market themselves online.
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Choosing a Solution for Online Reputation Management
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Stik: Authentic Reviews
Lets say you are in need of a product or service. Following the ZMOT concept, which hopefully you have read, you do your due diligence and start researching your options online and stumble upon a few possible choices. What drives your decision to one vendor or another? Chances are it's going to be the reviews and/or testimonials. Testimonials are tricky these days. There are nefarious services that companies can pay to give them better reviews, which I obviously don't recommend, and consumers aren't so easily fooled anyway. Not only is today's consumer looking for reviews, but the smart consumer is also evaluating the validity of these statements. John H says "fantastic customer service!" Peggy S says "best person for the job!" A testimonial without substance like a full name, photo, or even possibly a linked social media account doesn't hold water anymore. That is what drives the new, updated version of Stik...no anonymous reviews, no phony recommendations! Each review is linked to a "real" live social media account, so your potential clients can see that you really do have raving fans and not just a creative mind!
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Get Them Talking: Client Reviews
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How to Use Client Testimonials
Client testimonials are worth their weight in gold. First, they're free, and what real estate agent doesn't love that word? Next, they may just be the number one way to build your credibility with prospective clients. Finally, testimonials allow you to toot your own horn, without appearing pushy. Testimonials as Reviews The popularity of sites such as Yelp, Urbanspoon, Angie's List and Glassdoor attest to the American consumer's thirst for knowledge of companies, products and services before they spend money on them. Consumers just happen to now be clamoring for real estate agent reviews and, sadly, not finding them. Or at least not finding reviews that they can trust. When all the agent reviews on a real estate portal are positive, it can make consumers feel like they're trying to pick the proverbial needle out of a haystack when searching for agent assistance. Agents who use testimonials in their marketing efforts don't necessarily use the words of clients who had a bad experience, and consumers don't expect them to. Depending on how agents use testimonials, however, they can be a powerful yet subliminal cred builder. Tip: Although you shouldn't use the word "review" when soliciting feedback, it's a great keyword to use on your website. Check out Seattle agent Maynard Wagner's site for an example.
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Friday Freebie: Free Tools from realtor.com®
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The Painless Path to Reputation Marketing
How many times have you been surveyed today? The escalating trend in customer satisfaction surveys has increased so much lately that you might dread even the smallest query to a technical support number, sales support representative or—gasp—trip to the grocery store. Inevitably at the end of the interaction, you're asked to spare a few moments to "rate" the experience. The experience of a two minute phone call, that is. When we have a bad (or especially good) experience it's a no-brainer, and we're actually happy to share our thoughts on the matter. However, because software companies like SurveyGizmo and QuestionPro have made it possible for anyone to create customer surveys, the public at large is starting to use the term "survey fatigue." As a real estate professional, how do you prevent this onslaught of surveys from interfering with the reputation marketing you conduct for your real estate business? Here are a few pointers: Make It Quick and Painless: Our agents recommend presenting client review surveys at closing. This is an opportune time, because everyone is in the same room and in most cases are feeling positive about the transaction. Communicate the Purpose: Often the customer satisfaction surveys we're asked to complete are tied up to the salary and bonus structure of the people helping us. This fact can make consumers feel at once cynical and guilty about completing one. Communicate to your clients that their opinions are only going to be used to help you hone your skills and services, in addition to displaying for future customers what your strengths are.
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Consumer Alert: Avoid MyBizCard
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You Don’t Always Want a Client Testimonial
Chris Drayer of RealSatisfied says: "Always ask for a testimonial, because you never know who will give you one." Perhaps you've heard this line of thinking before. It's motivational, something you'd hear from a stage somewhere. It's designed to get you beyond the fear of asking for a testimonial. But it's has a critical flaw. Beneath the strategy of how to ask lies a much deeper root issue. And it's exposed by the word, "always." Do you really want to ask for a testimonial from someone who is lukewarm about your service? How about someone who is even less than lukewarm? Here's what I have gathered from observation. Most of the real estate agents I have met have never, ever had an upset real estate buyer or seller because of something they did. They are the best of the best and they will send you all of their testimonials to prove it. The other agents in their transactions, however, that's a different story. "They" are the ones that cause all of the problems. So, lets talk about the "other" agent. Whenever you get together for a cocktail or a fund raiser for RPAC, or a YPN meeting - the other agent, we'll call her Annie Agent, decides to tell you a 15-minute horror story. I won't retell the story, you know it all too well. So, here's the take away from that story: "I have the client from Hell." – Annie Agent
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Sham Rating Site? Oregon Agents Raise the Alert
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Friday Freebie: Mountain of Agents Online Directory
Can consumers find you online, or are they finding your competition instead? In this week's Friday Freebie, we're introducing you to a great online directory where consumers go to find real estate agents they can trust. Free Profile in the Mountain of Agents Directory Mountain of Agents was created for consumers by a consumer frustrated with the process of finding a reputable real estate agent. This online agent directory lets prospects search for real estate professionals in their area by zip code and view ratings by current and former clients. Participation in the directory boosts your online visibility and gives you a great new source for leads. Every rater is authenticated through Facebook, and each new rating is posted to the rater's Facebook wall--providing you with exposure to their network of contacts! Other benefits of claiming your Mountain of Agents profile include: 1-click agent ratings - Ratings equal leads, and Mountain of Agents makes it simple for clients to leave ratings with the click of a mouse--no written recommendation required. Video greeting - Welcome prospects to your profile by introducing yourself and your services via an integrated YouTube video. This give your profile a personal touch and lets potential clients 'meet' you virtually. Instant SEO - Each Mountain of Agents profile is a single, concentrated source of information about YOU that search engines love. Your website benefits from the SEO love, too, when you link to it from your profile. Click here to claim your free profile today!
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Win the Listing Before You Get to the Presentation
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Don’t Worry About Keeping Up, With One Big Exception
Guest contributor Meg White of REALTOR®Mag says: At the 2013 International Builders Show in Las Vegas this January, technology writer and reviewer David Pogue combed through the latest online advancements and sorted out the ones to which audience members ought to direct their attention. Pogue, who regularly writes about technology for The New York Times and Scientific American, said that even he has a hard time with the pace of innovation. "It's too much for even me to keep up with," he quipped. "How are you supposed to keep up?" His entertaining keynote speech kicked off with some of the most interesting "shiny objects" out there, mostly the byproducts of new app development. Pogue praised light-hearted apps that help users learn to play and share their love for the South American wind instrument known as the ocarina as well as more industry-specific apps, such as those that help property owners control and monitor indoor temperature and security systems. The one thing these apps have in common is the constantly-improving hardware on which they're designed to operate.
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3 Practical Ways Real Estate Agents Can Get More Testimonials
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A Better Approach to Agent Ratings
There is a long and dismal history of online rating of real estate agents. With so many of us chasing so few transactions — the average agent only has about three per year — we agents eagerly search for ways to stand apart from our colleagues. Many agents boast about their "Five Star Real Estate Agent" rating from a prominent Denver magazine. However, you won't find either the program or the agents on the magazine's website. Why? Because it's not the magazine's editorial product, but rather an advertising feature in which agents pay different rates for different size write-ups (basic listings are free). Once published, agents routinely claim they were "named a Five Star Agent" by the magazine. But that's not quite true. Years ago, I lost a listing in Wheat Ridge, CO to another agent. The seller cited the agent's Five-Star rating by that magazine as one of the reasons for selecting her. Since I hadn't heard of this agent, I checked the MLS for her transactions over the past three years. She had had no listings and had only had three buyer transactions in the last three years, yet she had been selected as a "Five-Star" agent. I was stunned. If you Google the phrase "rating real estate agents" you'll find many websites claiming to recommend highly rated agents. Since I know the top agents in my area, it is amusing to search on sites like Zillow or Angie's List for my area's "best" agents. On Angie's List, the agent with the most reviews when I searched "Golden" had 10 glowing reviews, all dated November and December 2012, but on the MLS, I found only two sold listings in the last 12 months, both of them in Park County, and nothing in the metro area.
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Testimonials: The untapped source of your Web business
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How to Rack Up the Reviews
Whether the housing news that comes out week to week is good or bad, real estate agents need to use all the marketing tools available (including online tools) to stand out and be attractive to potential clients. The competition for listings is just too fierce not to. Previously on our blog, we shared tips on how to write about yourself online. But it's also important to know how to get others to write about you, i.e. client reviews to promote on your web site. And it's not as difficult as you'd think. One of the easiest rules of thumb is that people writing product or service reviews are most likely to do it early in the process. This is because they are fresh off the experience and (most likely) happy and relieved after the transaction. A number of our agents make testimonial requests part of the closing process, because it allows you to explain the importance of the review in person (rather than via email or over the phone) and clients are more likely to respond, especially if they've had a good experience.
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Build Your Portfolio of Online Recommendations
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Product Review: RatedAgent.com
Agent ratings are a hot topic among real estate professionals today. Consumers love service provider ratings, and real estate is among the last service industries to adopt a solution. There are a variety of tools available – each with a slightly unique approach. One provider of service ratings for real estate is QSC, with several customer satisfaction survey options along with a consumer website, RatedAgent.com. RatedAgent.com allows consumers to look up quality of service ratings during the agent selection process. Since its founding in 1998, QSC has been a leader in creating consumer centric service standards and real estate agent ratings. The Basics Providing consumers with trustworthy, comprehensive, and impartial agent ratings is a central goal for RatedAgent.com. However, they also look at agent ratings from the professional side. They've developed tools to help on both the individual and company level; we'll dig into that a little more thoroughly shortly. The Customer Satisfaction Rating (CSR) on RatedAgent.com is simple for both consumers and agents to understand. It is an average of the Overall Satisfaction question from both buyer and seller returned surveys. There are no other factors or secret formulas that influence the rating; it is solely based on the overall satisfaction as rated by verified past customers. When an individual or company joins RatedAgent.com, they agree that every closed transaction must be surveyed to maintain integrity. This is central to the RatedAgent.com philosophy – it ensures that consumers can trust their ratings. Surveys are sent via email; however, if a client does not have an email address, a paper survey will be sent for a nominal fee. Brokers or franchises may configure their accounting system to automatically trigger customer surveys to be sent for all completed transactions through a simple interface. The results of returned surveys are aggregated and shared with each agent and, if applicable, their management team. Users can set up custom email notification settings so they know when new surveys are returned. At any point, authorized individuals may look at their overall ratings with easy-to-generate reports. This all happens within the RatedAgent.com web-based back office solution (which, to be clear, is internal and not accessible by consumers). Ratings are based on a rolling three years, so this is the default setting for any report, but users can adjust the date range. For most users, reports look at either buyer or seller data – the questions asked of buyer and seller clients are different, so reporting them separately makes more sense. Once a report has been generated, the masthead shows overall ratings (including both buyer and seller data), but the rest is specific to either buyer or seller.
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Great Service… Going Beyond the Talk!
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The Right Way to Respond to Negative Feedback
Staying ahead of the competition is crucial for real estate agents in any market, and real estate agent reviews create an excellent after-sale line of communication with your clients in addition to being excellent real estate agent marketing tools. 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. Some of our active ReachFactor agents have given us feedback on how to get reviews from clients. One example is Eugene Mills, who shared with us that gathering real estate testimonials is part of his closing process. And recently we profiled San Antonio REALTOR® Scott Myers, whose utilization of social media has helped him generate a staggering 81 real estate agent reviews. However, most REALTORS® probably feel that they don't have the time to add another step to an already detailed and time-consuming process. Also, considering that a home sale can often be an emotional event for people, some agents might not want to open themselves up to negative feedback from an unhappy client.
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How to Gather More Client Reviews
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Why More is Not the Same as Better
While the real estate industry still maintains a preoccupation with more – more sales people, more listings, more clients, more sales, and ever more services - consumers are focusing on better. "More" is a typical producer/service provider orientation. "Better" is more commonly a consumer perspective. As human beings and businesses mature, the pursuit of "better" is a natural substitute for the passion of "more." Perhaps it's the process of growing up, learning, becoming more discriminating and maybe growing a little older too. So is the real estate industry really stuck in the adolescent mind-set of just wanting more? The evidence is pretty damning based upon what is measured, what's bragged about and what's recognized, awarded, rewarded and compensated. Learning from history If consumers "grow up" and those providing service don't, can consumers outgrow an entire industry? Is there real danger here? Actually it's quite safe... as long as all the service providers continue to play the same game, by the same rules and no one offers a "better" alternative. If every pizza parlor makes pizza essentially the same way then the consumer has little choice, that's just the way it is.
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Product Review: RealSatisfied
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Siri, Find Me a Real Estate Agent
Every day, consumers are coming up with new ways to find their next real estate agent. One of the more creative ways we've been seeing lately is the use of the Siri on the iPhone. Siri gives the iPhone user the ability to ask ANY question (believe me, we've tried!) while they're moving through their busy lives. So what criteria does Siri use to determine who shows up when the buyer or seller asks the question: "Siri, find me a real estate agent." During the April 2012 RainCamp event, IMSD founder Ben Kinney revealed his findings on how Siri decides which real estate agent would be recommended by Siri. Watch this three minute video for Ben's insight on mobile real estate marketing.
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Get Client Feedback Without "Survey Fatigue"
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In Search of Negative Feedback (The RETSO Prezi)
Chris Drayer of RealSatisfied says: If you were in Atlanta last week, you may have been able to catch our presentation "In Search of Negative Feedback." If not, you are in luck, the presentation is below. Let them Swear. In Search of Negative Feedback on Prezi
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Word-of-Mouth vs. Online Agent Ratings
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4 Tips for Managing Your Online Reputation
Gone are the days of high school when your “reputation” was built with whispers and torn slips of binder paper. These days, you’re a professional adult, with a very different set of rules to follow for reputation management. True, word-of-mouth is still important in real estate, but you simply cannot ignore the Internet, where more and more people are looking for an agent/broker. Today, we bring you some highlights from another great whitepaper by RentJuice. The full whitepaper, “How to Manage Your Online Rental Real Estate Reputation,” is also available to download for free. Although RentJuice is a rental expert, their tips are certainly helpful for those of us selling properties as well. Here are 4 of their tips for managing your reputation online: 1) Begin by giving your reputation a boost.Don’t have anyone talking about you online yet? Start a conversation yourself! How do you do this? RentJuice suggests: Launching a blog. This will help establish you as an experienced professional. Frequent posts can help develop a “personality” and move your blog up in search engine rankings. Creating a LinkedIn profile. There are benefits to each of the social media sites out there. But the folks at RentJuice point out: “If you’re going to start any social media presence online, it better be a professional one if you want to generate business.” This excellent point leads you directly to LinkedIn. Starting a Yelp business account. First, start or claim your business. Then, direct your customers to this page and encourage them to leave a review. The truth is that consumers trust other consumers and will give greater credence to consumer-generated reviews.
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3 Easy Steps To Maximizing (and Preserving) Your Online Profile
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Friday Freebie: RealSatisfied
Agent ratings are becoming increasingly important for real estate professionals, particularly given the realities of our online world. If you’re ready to get started in this important area, we have a Friday Freebie for you – a 30-day free trial of RealSatisfied. 30-Day Free Trial of RealSatisfied If you’re looking for a tool to manage your reputation, you’ll want to consider this 30-day free trial from RealSatisfied. There's no commitment, no long-term contracts, and you can cancel at anytime! To start the trial, no credit card is needed. At the end of your free trial a credit card will be need to be added to the account to continue the service (we'll email the account owner 5 days before the trial ends as a reminder). If you like, you may also add a credit card to your account at any time during the trial period. To register for the 30-day trial, click here.
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What's a Client Review Worth to You?
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How To Effectively Use Testimonials
Guest contributor Ricardo Bueno of Diverse Solutions brings us this article. Testimonials  are great “social proof.” They’re great for giving people some perspective on your business. …are you good to work with? If so, why? …what experiences have others had in working with you?  Your goal, ultimately, is to make sure that site visitors feel educated about your services, and that they see you as an expert in your field. So today, I thought we’d talk about how to do just that… Building Your Credibility: 1. Create a testimonials page. Create a page on your website to hi-light your best testimonials and link to that page in your navigation. Here’s a great example from Real Estate Agent, Cyndee Haydon. Or, I love what Real Estate Broker Jay Thompson did to hi-light reviews for Agents in his brokerage: http://www.reviewouragents.com/existing-reviews.
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Moving Mountains In Real Estate
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Video: How To Deal With Negative Comments And Reviews
By now you understand the importance of blogging. You’re down with clients using review sites like Trulia, Zillow or Yelp to tout about your amazing real estate prowess.
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Redfin Pulls the Plug on the Scouting Report
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Reviews Spam - Where Will It End??!!
I was speaking with a potential business partner the other day about deceptive reviews online and how bad the review problem’s become. I was explaining the length we go to verify reviews, but he didn’t believe the problem was big enough to justify the expense. He thought we were wasting our money. Fake reviews are more prevalent than most people think. It’s not hard and doesn’t cost much. And the cheaters are getting pretty clever. See below: A negative review (a real one) of a doctor posted on Yelp.
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Q and A with Michael Becker of Mountain of Agents
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Creating Something Positive Out of Negative Testimonials
A post from the ReachFactor blog. As we’ve mentioned in past articles, testimonials are a good way (but not the only way) to create an after-sale line of communication with your clients. Giving them the opportunity to comment shows them that you appreciated their business, care about their opinion and want to improve your skills and service. Overall, it’s a good first step in solidifying your long-term client relationships.
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4 Ways to Create Lasting Client Relationships
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Your Reputation: To Be Shared Online?
Consumers today are demanding more and more transparency in every purchase they make. They solicit input from fellow customers about everything from digital cameras to books to doctors. They look to sites like CNET for objective ratings on electronics and they look to sites like findadoctor.com and lawyerratingz.com to learn about the training, reputation and customer satisfaction levels of professionals like doctors and lawyers. This paper will show real estate agents how they can take advantage of this consumer trend to grow their business. It will help agents understand why consumers want more information about the reputations of real estate agents online. It will also show how fellow REALTORS® have capitalized on this strong consumer need to grow their business.
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Part 4: Are You Reaching for Reviews? (ReachFactor)
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How to Meet Prospects Halfway
This month the San Francisco Chronicle posted an article that might not be addressed to real estate agents, but it should be. It’s called “6 Things to Do Before You Call a Real Estate Agent,” and much of the advice concerns cleaning, de-cluttering, mortgage pre-approval and other bits of leg work to make the home as attractive as possible to a buyer and facilitate a quick sale. Lesson No. 6 is the clincher: Scout Potential Agents.
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Part 3: Setting the Bar (QSC Agent Ratings)
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Part 2: Build a Mountain of Compliments!
People 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: To give valuable feedback to an agent for him/her to understand areas of strength and areas that need to be strengthened 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.
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Part 1: The Perfect Storm
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