We often get asked what the best approach is to get real estate reviews. Real estate agents understand that word of mouth is the most powerful way of marketing an agency. To that end, you want to think of online reviews as being the digital version of word-of-mouth marketing.
That’s why it’s prudent to get your past clients and customers to show you some love by leaving positive reviews of their experience.
Of course, the online landscape is constantly changing, so it’s important to understand how to select the best review or testimonial-gathering platform. Your selection should be determined by:
- Whether the platform is free or requires a paid subscription
- Whether the review site is used by different types of businesses and industries
- Whether your local competitors use the site. This should compel you to use it as well so that you are among the top agencies in your area.
Additionally, you want to have a look at the specific features that are included on the review site. For example, does the site have the capacity to post across multiple platforms such as websites and social media sites?
Also consider whether the review site allows you to collect reviews from a wide variety of clients such as sellers, buyers, landlords, and tenants. Or, are you limited to just one distinct group of clients?
And lastly, how easy is it to actually collect reviews from clients? We will give you our best hints and tips to make it as simple as possible.
To get you started, here are some current review sites that you should be looking at.
Google Business Profile
We all know that most people will start their online search by going to Google. Therefore, your Google Business Profile should be your number one place for collecting reviews.
Google is not just real estate specific but rather, it’s the number one review tool for all types of businesses and industries. And, it’s the site that most people will go to first when they have the intent to purchase or find exactly what they’re looking for.
Another advantage of using Google is that the platform makes it easy for clients to find the exact location of any business through the use of Google Maps.
You’ll also find that Google collects reviews from around the web and then, includes them on your Google business profile. Therefore, if you also use another site to collect reviews for your agency, these can automatically appear on your business profile.
To get started, visit https://www.google.com/intl/en_au/business to learn more about Google’s business profiles and the available features.
Then, when you’re ready, visit https://business.google.com/ to create your Google Business Profile which will also give you a map with a pin to show exactly where your business is located.
So, how do you request Google reviews? You can do this in a number of different ways.
- If you click on the button ‘Get more reviews’, you’ll be given a unique link that you can give to your clients. You can send this link in an email or even in a text message. All the client has to do is click on the link and leave their review.
- When you click on the email icon on your profile, the link will appear in an email message that you can send to a client.
- You can also post a review to Facebook or Whatsapp by clicking on the relevant button.
Here’s mine if you want to show me some love and let me know what you enjoy about my free tips and advice: https://g.page/r/Cad3qxlPJFS2EAI/review
Realestate.com.au is still the largest and most popular online portal for people searching for a new home in Australia and New Zealand. It receives the greatest amount of online traffic when compared to other dedicated real estate search portals.
Although the site was a little late in introducing reviews to their portal, they’ve certainly made up for lost time. The site launched the agent ratings and reviews hub toward the end of 2018.
Agent Reviews are included as part of a realestate.com.au subscription and are published in various locations across realestate.com.au, including the Agent Search page, Agent and Agency Profiles and an on current listings. Elevated Agent Profiles (additional fee) will also showcase ‘compliments’ or endorsed skills, as selected by reviewers.
You can learn more about the features here: https://customer.realestate.com.au/residential/agent-ratings-and-reviews/
You might also find the help pages quite useful as they fully explain how the review feature works. REA reviews can be managed via the Ignite app and you can even reshare the reviews to other platforms.
RateMyAgent was founded in 2013 by Mark Armstrong. This is the only dedicated real estate review website and the one that started the trend in online reviews for real estate agents.
Since then, the website has evolved to also include reviews for property managers (Enterprise Plan required) and mortgage brokers. This makes it the most comprehensive review site for the industry not only in Australia but also in New Zealand and the US.
Collecting reviews on RateMyAgent also enables agents and agencies to qualify for their popular Agent of the Year Awards.
You can get started with collecting reviews on RateMyAgent and qualify for the Agent of the Year Awards with a free plan but to use their more advanced features which include the sharing of your reviews to your social media pages, website widgets, reporting and promotion of your reviews around their website you will have to opt for a paid subscription.
In late 2019, Domain partnered with RateMyAgent in order to show agent testimonials on their site. This partnership is still going strong today according to this RateMyAgent press release and this Real Estate Business press release.
On Domain, only the 5 most recent RateMyAgent reviews by home sellers (not buyers) are displayed. If you want to see more reviews, you then need to visit the RateMyAgent website.
It’s important to note that in order to take advantage of the Domain integration with RateMyAgent, you’ll need a Domain Platinum Package plus a RateMyAgent subscription. To get more information on how this works, you can visit the help page for Domain.com.au.
At the back of the real estate portal pack
If there is one thing that I learnt in my corporate career (where I managed a team of developers that coded new features into real estate portal websites) is that to leapfrog your competition you need to offer features that are of high value and not available on your competitor’s website. If you remain a copycat business and follow and repeat every step leading competitors take, then you will always remain behind them.
Here are some lesser-known real estate portals that you might like to consider for reviews:
Rate My Agent has also struck a deal with Soho and their agent testimonials now appear both on the Soho app and website. Different to Domain, the Soho platform will display six testimonials that can be from both sellers and buyers. To view more reviews, you’ll once again have to visit the RateMyAgent site.
Some other real estate websites or portals that currently don’t offer reviews include:
- All Homes
- Real Estate View
- Listing Loop
- Lease (commercial leasing)
- Speaking Same (https://www.lease.com.au/ business directory in Chinese)
Not even in the ‘real estate review’ running
For obvious reasons, these real estate portals that try to cut out the middleman/woman do not have any features for agents at all:
- For Sale By Owner
- Minus the Agent
- Rent Street
- Urban (for new developments)
Hints and tips for collecting real estate reviews
Whilst most happy clients are agreeable to doing a review for you when it comes time for them to put pen to paper, many find it challenging to get started or don’t know what to say, so it gets put down their to-do list.
By implementing a few simple steps into your review collection process, you can make it less daunting for them.
- Mention early in the campaign the importance of reviews to your business and that you would really appreciate a review after the transaction. That way, the request doesn’t come as a surprise, and the client can mentally note things that worked well for them or that they appreciated throughout the process, e.g. organising a tradesperson on their behalf to complete some work when they were having a busy day.
- Have a standardised review process and automate the requests and follow-ups if your chosen platform or CRM system allows it. In general, 25% of clients will give you a review if you simply ask so don’t miss the opportunity by forgetting to send the email.
- Include some starting points/prompts when you request a review. E.g. what did you like most about working with me? Were you happy with the result? Was there a time whilst we were working together when you felt I went above and beyond?
- Request the review at the right time – when the client is the happiest! This is typically when signing contracts for a vendor or buyer or the lease signing for a tenant or landlord.
- If your client isn’t digitally savvy, offer some help typing and posting their review if it would make it easier for them. (It’s important to note, though, that many review platforms are able to identify if agents are posting reviews themselves, so you should always do this in conjunction with the client on their device, not yours, to avoid reviews being taken down). Also, some people find it easier to say out loud what they are thinking versus putting it into a written format, so offering to transcribe their review could make it easier for them. That way, all they need to do is copy and paste.
- Follow up on your request a reasonable number of times – often, your request may have just slipped your client’s mind, and a reminder is the prompt they need to action it. But if they have yet to leave a review after 3 or 4 reminders, they probably aren’t ever going to do it, and your follow-ups will become an annoyance.
- Be sure to respond to all your reviews – research tells us people who wouldn’t usually leave reviews will feel more motivated to leave one if they see replies and feedback from you on your earlier reviews.
As a real estate agent, it’s definitely worth investing some time and effort into collecting reviews and testimonials from all of your clients. Remember that your past clients and customers are always going to be your best advocates. This means you should ask them to help convey how much they loved dealing with you while the interaction is still strong in their mind.
The main challenge you’re going to face is that there is a multitude of ways that you can collect reviews or testimonials and even a greater number of websites and social media channels that these reviews can show up on.
Therefore, if your time and resources are limited, it’s best to select just the top two to start with.
Engage expert real estate marketers
If you’d like a team of experienced real estate branding professionals to formulate a marketing strategy to help you grow your business, book a free one-hour consultation with me, Melanie Hoole. It’s always a pleasure for me to get to know you!
Join the Conversation - add your thoughts