You’ve heard of RateMyAgent, but how can you leverage this free customer reviews platform to build your reputation as the go-to-agent, a newbie agent, or a buyer’s agent? We dig deep to unearth previously unanswered questions, from CEO, Mark Armstrong.
In this article we cover:
- Key facts about RateMyAgent that every real estate agent should know.
- How RateMyAgent helps new real estate agents and buyers agents establish their reputation.
- Where the property data is fed from and why this is important.
- How the RateMyAgent annual awards are calculated and who is set to benefit most.
- How RateMyAgent compares to RealSatisfied.
- RateMyAgents plans for Property Management.
RateMyAgent founders: Mark Armstrong (left), Xavier Perronnet, Ed van Roosendaal
RateMyAgent offers both a free and subscription-based website service set up to help real estate agents foster a successful “digital interview” by promoting their customer service capabilities, rather than the volume of properties they have sold. With over 20,000 real estate agents and agencies listed on their website, they are a real estate specific service that helps agents collect and share client reviews.
Based in Melbourne, Mark Armstrong, RateMyAgent’s CEO, highlights his belief that RateMyAgent replaces the now outdated letterbox drop. He says that when you look at the statistics, his service gains real estate agents 10 times the exposure of the now dying printed mail card at a tenth of the cost.
Mark believes that “People are no longer receptive to advertising messages arriving in their letter box, because when they collect their post they are most likely bringing in the shopping or ferrying the kids into the house. Not an opportune time! Potential home sellers are more open to your brand when the kids are in bed, or they are sitting on the lounge, of an evening, browsing their devices at their leisure.
“Let’s face it, there’s not much good news that arrives in the letterbox these days!” Mark Armstrong
Do you know these facts about RateMyAgent?
- RateMyAgent is free to use for collecting reviews; you can add on a subscription to improve your branding.
- They receive a review every 4.8 minutes, which is approximately 1 out of every 3 properties sold each month.
- Every RateMyAgent review has a unique URL and is indexed on Google and searchable in home sales results.
- Your RateMyAgent reviews are shareable across your social media sites.
- You also have the option with RateMyAgents new product, Agent Promoter, to promote your reviews via paid Google advertising, namely Adwords. To date, Mark Armstrong says he has had over 2,000 of his subscribers sign up to this service.
- There are also no lock in contracts – you can downgrade your subscription at any time.
How does RateMyAgent help new agents?
Mark Armstrong explained that he has seen junior and less experienced real estate agents embrace RateMyAgent, far more quickly than other more senior agents across the country because it gives agents in support roles a platform from which to promote themselves and build their profile before they become the lead agent.
RateMyAgent allows you to nominate a support agent, alongside the lead agent, for every listing. With more junior agents tending to manage the buyer relationships most closely they are provided with the perfect opportunity to build their reviews.
“Think about the time before RateMyAgent and think about how hard it was for a new agent to get a presence in the market.”
He adds “What usually happens with a new agent is that they join an agency. They get tucked under the wing of a more senior agent. The more senior agent feeds them business, and they would do all the work behind the scenes – with the listing agent taking all the credit for the sale.”
“Before RateMyAgent the junior agent was pretty much sitting in the shadows. What RateMyAgent does is establish a link for that support agent to the listing. And as that agent builds a relationship with the vendor or the buyer, it gives them an opportunity to request a review from those individuals, for their own work, and start to gather customer feedback to promote their professional profile.”
Mark shares; “We had an agent in Doncaster, in the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne, who was a relatively new agent and was excited to gain a listing directly via RateMyAgent. When he asked his vendor why she chose him, she said that one of his reviews resonated with her. He’d helped a vendor sell a home where there had been a death in the family. She said that his RateMyAgent review outlined the same situation her and her family were experiencing, and he received a glowing recommendation. So, she picked up the phone, called him in, met him, liked him and went forward.”
This example answers two questions:
1 – It highlights the power of reviews, and
2 – It demonstrates that if you are providing great customer service, RateMyAgent gives you the ability to showcase this fact.
“RateMyAgent doesn’t hinder your real estate sales career, it simply gives you a great platform from which to promote yourself.”
Where does RateMyAgent’s data come from?
Mark explains that all the information from RateMyAgent is retrieved from the CRMs, not the portals such as realestate.com.au or domain.com.au or data service providers such as Corelogic, Residex or PriceFinder.
“Also, another key benefit to the supporting agent or anyone else in the real estate industry who finds a buyer for a property is that they can be linked to the transaction, after the fact. It’s as simple as adding this person, via the CRM listing, once the property has sold. This goes for buyer agents too. It’s the perfect tool for raising your profile from the buyer’s side of the equation.” explains Mark.
“Most agents will take two years of doing ground work before they can start farming the market themselves. So, RateMyAgent is a great tool for showcasing the evolution of the agent’s experience as they come up the ranks.”
Who is most likely to benefit from RateMyAgents Awards?
When RateMyAgent runs its annual awards, our social media accounts become flooded with agents posting details of their RateMyAgent rankings.
Discover who the RateMyAgent 2017 Winners are.
“The Agent of the Year Awards are the only awards in Australia, which recognise agents on a suburb level and have a particular focus on customer satisfaction.” adds Mark.
But how does RateMyAgent decide who the winner is, at a suburb, state and country level?
Unbeknown to most, the awards are based on the following criteria:
- Percentage of seller reviews received relative to the number of properties sold.
- Total number of properties sold.
- Total sales value of properties sold.
RateMyAgent also uses weighted averages when assessing real estate agents using the above criteria.
Mark shares that “RateMyAgent doesn’t have an opinion about the data, the data is just the facts, and people need to appreciate that the awards are a reflection of the reality of the RateMyAgent reviews and industry sales data.”
“The key to winning the title of Agent of the Year for your suburb, state, or even nationally, is to get reviews for all your sales in the previous year. While sales value and the total number of recommendations are still key factors in determining the leading agents in the country, the number of recommendations an agent or agency has, relative to the number of properties sold, is critical,” says Mark.
“The reason why the awards have been so powerful. It’s because we bring the results down to a suburb level.”
He goes on to say; “We were conscious that we needed to make the awards as fair as possible. Did we get it 100% right? I don’t know, that’s a matter of opinion. The most common feedback I get is that an agent feels it’s not fair because they sold more property than the agent that won. I say to them that this is like saying that because you scored more runs on the board in cricket that you should win the football match. The key metric for our awards is not how much you have sold; it’s primarily customer service feedback.”
So, the key message from Mark is that; if your customers are happy, ask them for a review so that your statistics on RateMyAgent reflects this. Then you will have a greater chance of winning the RateMyAgent awards or being perceived as an excellent agent in your marketplace.
“The RateMyAgent Awards are all about the reviews on RateMyAgent, not simply the amount or value of property sold.”
How do you compare to RealSatisfied?
Mark sees RateMyAgent as a completely different business proposition to RealSatisfied. He highlights that; “RealSatisfied tends to be used by the corporate entity to look at internal processes and operations. RealSatisfied tends to be used to gather internal metrics and act as an end to end survey to look at not only the real estate agents performance in selling the property but also the administration through to settlement.”
Image source: realsatisfied.com.au
He adds; “We are unashamedly a marketing tool to help good real estate agents promote themselves. If you look at the differences between our reviews and any other real estate agent review in the marketplace, ours are all linked to the transaction. So you gain an insight into not only how well the agent performed, but information about the property, such as when it sold, what it sold for and the condition of the building – this additional information around that sale gives the review more context.”
RateMyAgent also provides a listing report for its subscribers, to help them gain new business over the line. Once you have reviews linked to the property transaction, RateMyAgent use mapping technology to show where an agent’s customer feedback comes from, relative to the listing that they are trying to get across the line. This location-based data makes the data more relevant to the potential vendor.
“The RateMyAgent Listing Report brings your reviews to life – your next client is not just reading a review; they are reading a review from their neighbours!”
When will Property Managers be added to RateMyAgent?
Mark says he is eight weeks away from building property management features into the RateMyAgent website, but he also adds that he has been saying this for more than eight weeks! He says it is a high priority for the second half of the year. Mark adds that he is as impatient as the Property Managers to be able to bring them into the fold.
“It’s a big job to bring Property Management into the foray, but we are committed to servicing this side of the real estate industry on RateMyAgent, too.”
Mark concludes that RateMyAgent has not created the online reviews industry – the consumer and other industries have led this charge. He expresses that “RateMyAgent has simply provided a platform for the real estate industry to share review information with home sellers when they request it. Whether agents like it or not, consumers will search for reviews on them. So, follow suit and make sure you tap into changing consumer habits.”
He also encourages agents to sign up for a RateMyAgent subscription, because once you’ve gone all out collecting your reviews, you want to make sure you are looking your best when potential clients are checking you out online. So, upgrade your RateMyAgent account to gain the advantage of better branding and the ability to add an agent video.
Mark believes that the digital interview is more important than the physical interview these days because if you don’t make a good first impression online, you won’t get a chance to meet the client in person.