How to Obtain and Leverage Reviews to Grow Your Business
Reviews are important for any agent and are useful when it comes to building your brand and long-term business.
A lack of a backstory can diminish your credibility — you need to stand out from other agents, and your personal story helps cement you in the minds of leads and clients. Essentially, reviews tell your story when you aren't there to tell it yourself; any time someone looks you up and reads about you, it's your story. So why not have as much influence over that process as you can so that it glows and keeps leads interested?
Even if you're newer in the field and don't have as many listings or closed deals, you still need a story, and, more importantly, a way to gather testimonials and reviews that will help you promote your books and thus grow your business.
Here is a multi-step process for collecting reviews, understanding the different types of reviews you can get — including reviews from readers of your book — and publicizing your reviews so they bring you more business.
Three Types of Reviews to Collect
#1 Testimonials from Past Clients
There's a certain formula you can use when asking your previous clients for testimonials about your service. A short list of questions that you can duplicate as a survey with multiple past clients will ease the process for you and them. These questions might include:
- What problem did you face before meeting me?
- How did you feel about agents before meeting me?
- What impression did you get of me when we met?
- What does the future look like for you and your family now in terms of real estate?
When it comes to retrieving this information, you could call the person on the phone and record the call with their permission, or send them the list of questions through mail or email. Once you've crafted the testimonial from the answers, send it to them so they can "OK" it.
#2 Character Reviews from Those Who Know You
If you're a new agent with very little experience, take heart — a great character review can do wonders. Character reviews highlight the personal reasons that a client would want to work with you, such as fairness, trustworthiness and compassion for others.
Ask friends and family (or anyone who knows you well) to review your character. You might not feel like these items are important for business, but they absolutely are. Encourage your friends and family who are writing these reviews to share a brief story where your character stood out. People appreciate anecdotes, and once you promote these reviews to others, they paint a picture of who you are as a person, not just at work.
#3 Reviews About Your Book
When it comes to getting reviews for your book, you'll need a bit more of a campaign so that you can follow up with people on whether they've received, read and reviewed the material. If you approach book reviewers the right way, you'll end up with valuable information to publish in your book itself and share with potential clients.
Keep in mind that all authors leverage reviews to spread the news about a new book. You should do the same, to illustrate to new clients that you're an authority on your subject.
For Authorify members, we have template emails that you can send out over a few weeks to garner reviews from your audience. If you choose to write an email or note from scratch, let readers know that you have been hard at work on your most recent book, that it is full of information you hope they will find helpful or useful, and that you value their opinion and would love their feedback.
Most importantly, do not be sheepish about following up with people more than once, until you get a response. Most people are busy, and following up with them gracefully and respectfully will only make them feel like their opinion really does matter.
Is it better to request a review from someone who has never worked with you before in the realm of real estate, or someone who has? We suggest asking a few people from both categories. A fresh perspective — someone who hasn't gone through a transaction with you — might shed completely different light.
Similarly, don't be disappointed if you don't get lengthy reviews from each person. Even a small review can help boost your brand. If, however, you feel that a review lacks substance in its entirety, you can always follow up with a few questions to "beef it up."
How to Leverage the Reviews
Now for the best part: sharing your reviews in a strategic way so they bring you more business. With these three review types, you've built a more "complete" picture of who you are as an agent, and the folks who were kind enough to comment on you are, in a sense, your brand advocates.
So what is the best way to leverage your valuable reviews for the good of your business?
First of all, insert reviews about your book INTO your books.
Whether a review is short, long or in between, publishing great reviews from your readers can help others who are picking up a copy for the first time know that your book is helpful and relevant.
Hand out copies to anyone who reviewed your book (or you).
Handing out a few complimentary copies of your book to anyone who has done you the favor of writing a review is a great way to express gratitude. Tell these folks you'd love it if they could share those copies with someone in their sphere who is thinking about real estate.
Remember, according to NAR, 75 percent of sellers would use their agent again or refer their agent to someone else. Reaching out with your book and inviting sphere members to share it with their own circle is a great way to leverage. Your book is there to be passed out; it won't do you any good on your desk!
Share reviews on social media frequently.
Share these valuable reviews on ALL online platforms where your information is available, from social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn to real estate sites such as Zillow or general review sites such as Google My Business. Make a list so you don't forget any of them. Even Yelp is good for real estate!
Share reviews in pre-listing packages and listing presentations.
Share your story as much as you can with new clients, and include reviews in both pre-listing packages as well as listing presentations. While you might think this seems a bit redundant, someone who isn't familiar with your story or your brand will take at least a few times to learn who you are, what you stand for and why you are the best agent for the job.