These days when people think about buying something, it could be anything, the first thing they do is go online and look at the reviews! We’ve all done it a million times, whether it’s for a product or service. If I’m looking to buy a new TV or want to hire a landscaper, you better believe I’m going to read the online reviews and testimonials before deciding to move forward.
We know it’s wise to find out what other people think first because it may be the only way we can avoid making a mistake. We’re literally looking for “social proof,” which is something we’re hardwired to do. With so many choices out there and the constant bombardment of information, who can blame us if we feel overwhelmed and seek direction?
It only makes sense to rely on the experience of others. We instinctively believe that other people who have bought or used the same product or service will be honest in their reviews about the experience.
The National Association of Realtors released a report in 2018 titled “Real Estate in the Digital Age,” stating that 86% of people read online reviews and testimonials for local businesses. Unfortunately, of the subjects commonly addressed on a real estate website, client testimonials are NOT among the top 5.
Good reviews can literally be a goldmine. However, we can all agree that it’s awkward asking for them. And what do you do when you get a boring one that sends the wrong message?
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can effectively use a virtual assistant to gather positive reviews and testimonials from your real estate clients:
1. Ask at Just the Right Time
Knowing when to step up and ask for a review or testimonial will dramatically enhance your odds of getting one.
When would a client be most amenable to posting a positive review on your services? Once they’ve had a great experience working with you, naturally! This would occur after you’ve closed their deal! They would be in the process of either be moving in or out of their home. This is when the help they got from you is foremost on their mind and appreciated.
However, it would be awkward to bring this up for the first time right when the deal is closing. It’s best to start planting the seed early on in the relationship. You can just mention that after the transaction is complete, you’ll likely ask them to post a review or write a testimonial for you.
You can then have your virtual assistant gently remind them after the fact, understanding that moving is a stressful undertaking for anyone. Doing this on top of everything else they’re trying to get done right now may not be a priority at the moment but following up in a timely manner may give them the nudge they need.
2. Make it Easier for Your Clients to Write the Review
Since this is going to require some time and energy on their part, you can make the job easier by helping your clients get started. Don’t just pop off an email saying, “Hey Josh – can you write me a review? Instead, have your virtual assistant put together a list of all the ways you helped them buy or sell their house.
Your assistant can add notes reminding him/her of the various times he/she has thanked you in the past or praised your work in person. And, do not shy away from the details because this will help them remember. Your assistant could make this even easier by giving them some structure by asking them some questions, like the following:
• “What did you appreciate most about working with me?”
• “Does anything stand out that made my services especially valuable?
• “If someone asked you to recommend a Realtor, would you give them my name? If so, why?
You are not trying to get praise. You are just trying to help them remember how well the two of you worked together on their transaction.
It’s easy to ask your clients just to send an email with their reply, but it will seem more professional if you send a Google Form and you’ll be more apt to get your questions answered. Although it would appear more professional, sending your questions in that format would be less personal. So, you’ll have to decide which is best, professional or personal!
3. Gather Reviews About You from All Review Sites
With so many review sites out there, you probably have no idea how many reviews have already been posted about you, especially on the various real estate platforms.
One thing your virtual assistant can do for you regularly updates you on what people are saying online about you and the services you provide. He/she could do this by performing a monthly audit.
You cannot assume that what you are hearing from clients directly is the entire story. Your assistant should regularly check your Google page, your Facebook page, Yelp, Trulia and Zillow and mine the web for places where there may be other reviews on you.
All your reviews should be collected and kept in one place. Rather than copy and pasting them to a Word document, your assistant should take screenshots in their original format because these will appear more legitimate.
4. Share Your Reviews via Social Media
For your reviews to be seen by the largest possible audience, it’s essential that you share them on social media. Ask your virtual assistant to post them on Facebook along with your comments about working with those particular clients. You can take this a step further by adding a photo of the two of you in front of their home next to a “Just Sold” sign.
5. Include Reviews in Your Email Campaigns.
If you’ve compiled your email list properly, many of your subscribers may be looking for a Realtor sometime soon. You’re already ahead of the game now because if they didn’t already trust you, they wouldn’t be subscribing to your emails. By including your reviews, it reinforces their trust because the reviews show how well you’ve performed for your clients. This type of confirmation can go a long way towards solidifying their feelings about you.
In conclusion, using a virtual assistant to ask for, gather and post reviews and testimonials can take your business to the next level. Once your assistant gets the system all set up and the process starts working you will see reviews coming in and your business starting to pick up momentum!