If there’s one thing we all struggle with in real estate, it’s this: An overwhelming majority of the public believes that we all work alike, and that there’s little difference between agents. With so many in the business competing for mind and market share, how do you create your personal point of difference?
The answer does NOT lie in the ongoing boasting and broadcasting of your results, accomplishments, and credentials, but rather in encouraging and leveraging others to tell your story for you.
We’re talking reviews, recommendations, and testimonials here, people, and chances are you need to up your game. If you’re interested in increasing your credibility and building your personal brand, check out these nine tips and tricks that will get you a consistent stream of endorsements.
1. Want Glowing Reviews? Give Glowing Reviews First!
You know that feeling you get when you receive a glowing review or recommendation? Nothing better, right? Consider the goodwill you’ll create if you generously commit to providing reviews and recommendations for others FIRST.
When you give reviews, you’ll create a deep-seated urge in others to do the same; in fact, what you get back often far exceeds what you’ve put out. Social psychologists call this the Universal Law of Reciprocity, and it’s a proven concept. Time block to do this once or twice a week—there’s no downside!
2. Acknowledge That Reviews Are Your Social Proof—& Your Social Currency
The truth is that we live in an Amazon product review society; most people seek support in making their purchasing decisions. From refrigerators to restaurants, florists to flooring, dog food to doctors—we look for evidence that our money and time will be spent wisely.
We rely upon friends, family members, influencers, and even strangers to advise and guide us. The same applies to those looking to hire a great real estate agent.
The positive reviews you receive and share are the social proof people are looking for, so commit to giving them what they want. If you don’t, they will choose someone who will.
3. Repurpose Your Positive Reviews—Put Them to Work!
If you want to make the most of your reviews and recommendations, simply ask yourself this: “Where else might these positive words be impactful?” The answer? Almost everywhere! Great reviews and recommendations are a gift to you, and once received, they’re yours to do with what you want.
Making use of all or parts of these comments isn’t just smart—it’s a strategic time saver. Use them to create attention-garnering graphics and posts for your pages. Highlight them as featured content in your seller and buyer guides. Gather as many as you can and create a word cloud, which can be used in a multitude of ways.
Even better than what’s been stated here so far? Video testimonials and reviews. Ask clients to create and submit their own mini-productions to you, then compile, edit, and share them. If allowed in your market, make a contest out of it. You’ll be surprised by the creativity and effort they’ll put into this, and what you’ll likely receive is priceless!
4. Make It Easy for People to Review You
Jessica Russell, a top producer serving the suburbs of Ft. Worth, has essentially automated her systems to insure that she’s receiving positive reviews across a variety of platforms.
“I send an email and provide very clear instructions along with links to three pages or platforms,” she says, noting that occasionally she’ll switch things up. “If I need fresh reviews on Realtor.com, I’ll provide that link as opposed to Zillow. I’m currently working on adding more reviews to Google, so I’ve gone back to previous reviewers asking them to simply copy and paste what they’ve previously posted elsewhere—and I provide them with their original review so they don’t have to go and look for it. People are happy to post somewhere new, especially because I’ve made it so easy for them!”
A tactical tip: Include review-garnering action items in your transaction checklists, mentioned in your pre- and post-closing activities.
5. Reviews Should Be Found Where You (& Your Competition) Are
If your reviews are landing only in one place, you could be missing out. Those dozens of 5-star accolades may look good on Zillow, but what if your prospect doesn’t find you there? What may be the result if your other profiles or sites aren’t effectively telling your story?
You may be passed over and not afforded the opportunity to share your value and the benefits associated with working with you. People and prospects should be able to easily access what others think and say on your website, Google My Business profile, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and on industry sites like Zillow and Realtor.com. Don’t disregard Yelp either, especially if your competition has a strong presence there.
Search for yourself online and see what comes up. Let’s say, for example, that the first results for your name on Google are found on Zillow. Make sure you have plenty of positive—and recent—reviews there!
Now’s the time to build or enhance any missing or existing pages and profiles, and to set a goal to add a reasonable number of reviews or recommendations to each and every place. This is an exercise you should engage in every quarter of the year.
Consistent and current (endorsements) equal currency—social- and earnings-wise!
6. Don’t Forget About Endorsements & Recommendations on LinkedIn
Perhaps you’re a newer agent with a limited amount of transactional experience. Maybe you’re a highly seasoned top producer with a strong network of business-to-business contacts and relationships. In both cases, LinkedIn can be leveraged to assemble an impressive list of recommendations that speak to your professionalism, work ethic, people skills, and sales acumen—and these carry a lot of weight.
Request these valuable recommendations and endorsements from former coworkers, supervisors, community leaders, service providers, even clergy. Most people are happy to help, especially if you commit to doing the same for them. For those who are too busy to provide a testimonial, simply ask if you may add them to a reference list. Providing this resource to potential buyers and sellers is impressive enough on its own, and those featured there will rarely be contacted.
7. Make Reviews Part of Your Process—Set the Expectation With Your Clients Early & Reinforce It Often
Don’t make the mistake of waiting until the end of the transaction to request a review; you should set the expectation from the very first meeting!
This is something that top producer Cari McGee, an agent serving Kennewick and Richland, Washington, has done exceptionally well since she started in the business.
“I let my clients know that I am very clear on their goals,” she says, “but I also share that MY goal is to be so great that the client can’t help but to review and refer me to others. I have learned that when I lead with providing an exceptional experience and outcome for the client, everything I want for my business happens as a result.”
This strategy also makes it easy to ask the “how am I doing” question at any point during the transaction, reinforcing your commitment to them and reminding them that you hope to receive raving reviews at the conclusion of their sale or purchase.
8. Don’t Let the Occasional Negative Review Get You Down
Inevitably, it’s going to happen. At some point, someone is going to leave comments that are rude, inaccurate, or even irrelevant to you or your business.
Remain calm and deal in the facts, not in your feelings. Don’t engage in social media warfare. Attempt to contact the person who posted to confront and resolve their issue. If you’ve smoothed things over, request an edit to their original comments. If they are unreasonable or unwilling to communicate with you, state your case simply and unemotionally as a response:
“I’ve made three attempts to contact you to discuss your concerns and displeasure. I’m disappointed to learn that you feel this way. Will you please send me a DM so we may speak about this?”
Your professional demeanor and stated desire to make things right—even if the poster is flat out wrong or unreasonable—will be remembered by those reading the review. Also, know this: If you are consistently receiving positive reviews, any negative post will eventually get flushed out or dismissed.
One bad meal or inattentive waiter doesn’t necessarily make for a lousy restaurant, right? It’s the content of the majority of your reviews that matter, so work to keep them coming and highlight them frequently.
9. Leverage What You Receive
Are you the most highly rated agent in your town or market on any particular platform? Tell the people who live there! Did you help a family accomplish the nearly impossible? Share that! The post—or postcard—that features what you’ve done for others is way more compelling than the typical “I’ve done it again” message. What will resonate and be remembered is not what you’ve managed to do for yourself, but what you have achieved for others.
Summing It All Up
Reviews, recommendations, and endorsements are simply the stories others tell about you and your business—and they play a huge role in a prospect’s decision-making process. A growth-minded agent will do all they can to receive them consistently, leverage them creatively, and promote them effectively. Now’s the perfect time to fearlessly assess where you stand and what’s needed to make strides in this area. Once you do, get to work!