Online reputation and real estate agencies are two worlds that need to cross paths and walk them together. Unfortunately, not all real estate agents and operators are still able to perceive the absolute importance of having a good online reputation and above all the enormous impact that it can have on their business: trust me, those who have not yet understood it, could understand it when it is too late, that is, when their business is perhaps irremediably compromised.
A concept inextricably linked by its nature to that of web reputation is that of online reviews. The doubt of many professionals is legitimate: why are reviews so important? What should prompt agents to entrust the reputation of real estate agencies to the words written by their clients?
Are reviews really capable of generating new leads and attracting potential customers? In this article, we will clarify your doubts once and for all, and we will try to convey to you the essential importance of reputation on the web.
5-star online reputation
Have you ever found yourself on TripAdvisor or Booking and noticed companies and hotels with only 5-star reviews? Of course, it has happened to you, even if you are new to the web, and surely you have asked yourself some questions, isn’t it?
There are two possibilities: either some reviews (the negative ones) are not published, or customers who could leave a negative review are not given the opportunity to review the property or company.
We have another question: would you prefer someone who has 20 5-star reviews or someone who has 23 positive and one negative?
In the process of merging online reputation and real estate agencies you must keep in mind that in order to grow your value on the web, you will have to take action personally. The chances of a client looking for a website for property reviews are not that high, you have to be the one to push the client to do so.
Professionalism? Yes, please!
In Italy, there are more than 60,000 real estate agents licensed to practice the profession, and many of them do not even know what it means to be a real estate agent, they think that being part of the category (just for having attended a one-off training course and having passed an exam) is sufficient to consider yourself a competent and professional real estate agent. You know well that unfortunately, or fortunately, this is not the case.
A real estate agent, to be considered such, must first of all be honest and sincere in his real estate communication (here our article dedicated to the topic: Real estate communication strategies for your agency ). What does this mean? We explain it to you with an example.
If you are not, imagine that you are a real estate agent and ask your clients to leave you a review, choosing only the clients that you know will leave 5-star reviews, which are beneficial to your reputation on the web.
So far it seems all rosy, but you don’t know that by activating such a strategy, with “commanded” reviews, no one will benefit, indeed it will probably be disadvantageous both for your customers and for yourself.
This is because if a customer contacts you after reading the positive reviews found on your profile, and finds that your service is not meeting expectations, they will do everything to ensure that your online reputation falls into the deepest abyss.
The long-term gain
The purpose of a real estate agent must not be to generate ten customers in a year and then close their doors, but rather to generate at least 6/7 new customers year after year, consistently and with a long-term perspective.
Having an online reputation based on numerous and truthful online reviews is an effective way to be competitive in the long term.
The false myths about online reputation
> Online reviews are not necessary
It may have occurred to you that you don’t need consumer ratings because you think the evergreen word of mouth is enough, isn’t it? We have no doubt that word of mouth is still one of the best ways to generate clientele in real estate, but friends and family of your former clients are interested in learning a little more about the person who will guide them in such an important choice.
After all, you know that you too, when you have to buy something on the Internet, do not settle for the advice of your friends, but take a tour of the reviews left by strangers.
We challenge you to find someone who is willing to buy a TV online only on the advice of friends and family, without doing a quick Google search. Let’s be realistic, there is no doubt that people will be looking for information about you online, and it’s best if what they find is positive.
> Nobody trusts online reviews
In our interviews and questionnaires, we asked various professionals, not only in the real estate sector, for opinions on the platforms based on reviews. Some of them (thankfully a small minority) said they are not interested in managing their online reputation, as they believe that no one trusts a consumer’s feedback.
Sorry for these skeptics, but some studies say 91% of consumers trust online reviews as much as word of mouth, and that’s pretty impressive considering online reviews are written by complete strangers, isn’t it?
The same article states that only 5% of people between the ages of 18 and 34 never read reviews. Viewed in another way, it means that by not using an online review platform, you are making it much more difficult for potential clients to choose you rather than other real estate agents.
> Bad review = bad online reputation
How many of you don’t sign up for reference-based platforms for fear of damaging people’s consideration of you due to a couple of negative reviews? Hopefully few, but if this is not the case, we assure you that it is a totally unfounded fear.
Surely someone will have negatively “reviewed” you offline, in fact, negative reviews are part of the business, and although it is true that in the digital world their power is far greater, these are well viewed by the most experienced and innovative consumers. Having only 5-star reviews can in fact raise doubts about their authenticity and your credibility and that of your online reputation.
In many cases, negative comments can be even stronger sales tools than positive ones, because they give you the opportunity to respond to the disappointed and unhappy consumer and show them your customer care skills and your willingness to remedy the inconvenience. .
> Only dissatisfied customers leave reviews
Contrary to popular belief, most reviews on reference-based websites are positive. Take for example the Booking site and take a look at the reviews, you will see how the percentage of positive reviews is higher than that of negative reviews.
Technological development has allowed everyone to write a review quickly and easily, which is why it is not difficult for you to ask your satisfied customers to spend a couple of minutes to leave one to help your market grow.
> Managing online reputation takes time
At this point, you will have understood how important it is to manage your online reputation. The good news is that it takes a few minutes to start developing a positive digital presence and to help you do that, we’ve decided to give you some advice on managing your reviews:
– create your account on a review platform;
– get in touch with your recent clients and ask them to spend a couple of minutes to write something about their experience at your real estate agency;
– share their best reviews on social networks;
– respond professionally to any negative feedback;
– rather than attack the reviewer, respond empathically and show your interest in solving the problem.
Some functional tips
We don’t think it’s enough to just explain how important online reputation is and how important online reviews are, so we’ve decided to give you some tips on how to get them.
> Entertain your customers
The beauty of the Internet is that it offers a wide range of “gathering places” where people can exchange their views and opinions about your real estate agents, thus influencing your web reputation.
Think of social networks: Facebook users can leave a review on your agency’s page, while LinkedIn users can “recommend” you. This is why it is important to activate a social media marketing strategy in order to improve your online reputation.
> Do surveys
Another way to collect as many reviews as possible to improve your online reputation is to conduct web surveys in which you ask your customers how their experience was, what they liked the most and what they did not like. the relationship with your agency.
> Simplicity and effectiveness
A last very important thing when trying to improve your reputation is to think not only about yourself but also and above all about the needs of your customers. The easier it is for your customer to leave feedback, the more willingly they will be willing to do so.
Whatever the fears and doubts, online reputation and reviews will be the main source of credibility for your potential customers. So start working on it and don’t underestimate it, it is it who can give you a head start against real estate agents who are ignoring it.