I’m sure we’ve all had a bad cup of coffee at one time or another. But I doubt any of us have had a cup as bad as the one Karen on Yelp described in her review.
While online reviews can be great for generating new business, the sad truth is — a bad real estate review can cause clients to steer clear of your business entirely.
In this step-by-step guide to real estate agent reviews, we’ll walk you through the A to Z of getting more client reviews, leveraging those reviews to amplify your business, and what to do in case of a bad review.
You’ll also get 5 free real estate agent review templates to make sure you never lose an opportunity to capture a stellar testimonial. Ready? Let’s dive in!
What we’ll cover
- Why real estate agent reviews are more crucial than ever
- How to get more real estate agent reviews
- How to ask for real estate reviews: 5 free review request templates
Why real estate agent reviews are more crucial than ever
Look, we’ve all had that not-quite-right latte that really screwed up our morning.
But when it comes to buying the home we’re going to live in for a significant portion of our life, the quality of the experience is weighted a bit heavier.
Today’s real estate home buyers are not your average consumers.
These people are at a major milestone in their life, and are usually feeling just as anxious as they are excited. Your online reputation can make a big difference in building trust even before the initial phone call, while making sure that trust carries all the way through from contract to closing.
Why reviews matter:
Studies show that angry customers are 2-3 times more likely to write a negative review than happy ones are to write something positive.
So if you aren’t proactively seeking out positive reviews, you’re in for the inevitable consumer apocalypse on Yelp, Zillow, and potentially lots of other places online. 😬
This is especially troublesome, because studies also show consumers are far more likely to consider a negative review than a positive. In fact, the magic ratio is estimated to be 40 positive reviews to combat a single negative one.
Yikes. These numbers can be devastating for reputation-based real estate businesses, especially ones in ultra-competitive markets.
How does this break down in real estate, specifically?
Well, to start, approximately 90% of potential buyers and sellers are going to read your reviews before considering you for a service. As much as we’ve historically relied on word-of-mouth in the industry, we’re seeing a new generation of home buyers and sellers.
With this new generation, we’re also seeing a big shift in how they research real estate services.
Where client reviews happen in real estate
Outside of just providing social proof and trust building, real estate agent reviews also have a lot of value when it comes to your SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Sites like Google, Zillow, and even Yelp use algorithms to determine which businesses to show when a user is searching for a specific product or service. Believe it or not, these algorithms do incorporate review counts and ratings into their considerations on ranking businesses.
It makes sense when you think about it, sites like Google are in the business of making high-quality user experiences when it comes to their recommendations. Apparently, they do a good job, because fewer than 6% of users ever make it to the second page of the search results.
So while reviews aren’t going to magically put you on the first page of Google or Zillow, they are weighted into consideration.
It’s important to keep this in mind when determining where to send your real estate clients when it’s time to ask for their praises. Some sites have additional perks to high review counts. For example, Zillow offers a ranked placement in their Agent Finder tool, while Google displays your stars proudly (or, not so proudly) in the Map Listings.
Here’s a list of sites that feature real estate reviews:
- Yellow pages (yes, it’s still a thing!)
- Your own website
With so many review sites, the decision on where to send clients can be a bit overwhelming.
While there are a few tools out there that allow you to cross-post user reviews, they tend to be expensive and a bit of a clunky user experience, resulting in fewer reviews overall.
At the end of the day, the most popular review sites are going to vary by zip code, so understanding your market is super important here.
Here are some tips on determining which sites to prioritize when asking clients for their reviews:
- Monitor where you’re getting the most referrals. Web analytics tools such as Google Analytics can help you determine your top real estate referral sources.
- Look up your competition on each review site and determine which basket they’re sending their eggs into.
- Keep track of your client’s email addresses, and group them by hosting provider. Clients that have a gmail address are more likely to leave Google reviews, because they will need a Google account to write them.
- Keep track of where your client found you. If they mentioned using Zillow or Yelp, they’re likely to be active on those platforms.
- Offer your real estate clients 3 different platforms when requesting a review. From there, they can select the site that is most convenient for them.
How to get more real estate agent reviews
You’ve done the work and have provided your clients with The Ultimate Client Experience. Great work!
The next question is: How do you get them to shout it from their newly purchased rooftops?
Well, the good news is, 69% of recent home sellers surveyed said they’d gladly write a review for their real estate agent if requested. Not only that, but as soon as you ask, your chances of securing the review are pretty good.
In fact, on average, 76% of consumers that are asked to leave a review go on to write one. The hard part is figuring out who’s ready to leave you a glowing review, and exactly when to ask for it.
Start with a review funnel
We need to face the fact that sometimes the best we can do for a client is not going to be good enough.
Maybe you showed them a beautiful home that reminded them of their great aunt and they hated their great aunt. Maybe you sold their house too fast and they weren’t ready to commit to their new life with their long distance boyfriend they met on tinder two weeks ago.
Whatever the case, sometimes clients aren’t great at expressing their issues with us directly, and choose to leave negative reviews after the fact. Review funnels exist to capture those concerns and issues, and address them before they go to the masses.
Here’s how a real estate agent review funnel works:
- Step 1: Send a client a link to the review funnel instead of a specific review site
- Step 2: Clients select if they had a thumbs up or thumbs down experience:
- Step 3a: If clients had a thumbs up experience, they get shown a list of review sites, where they will be directed to write their review.
- Step 3b: If clients had a thumbs down experience, they will be sent to a text box where they can express their dissatisfaction with their great aunt and catfish tinder date. When they hit “submit,” the review gets sent to your email, so you can provide damage control (and maybe a referral to a good therapist).
👉🏽 You can view an example of a real life review funnel here.
How to ask for real estate reviews: 5 free review request templates
While review funnels are pretty effective at filtering the negative, it’s still important to use your reviews to ‘read the room’.
How and when you ask for reviews can not only help you gauge if a client is actually satisfied with your service, but also increase the likelihood of their participation.
These simple tips will help you ask for reviews the right way”
- Plant the seed: Mention at the beginning of the relationship that you’d love a review at the end of the transaction. This makes your later request less of a surprise.
- Keep the door open: Leave the link to your review funnel in your email signature. This provides a good filter against surprise dissatisfaction, as well as an opportunity for clients to jump the gun on leaving those 5 stars after reading the “congratulations you got the house” email.
- Send updates every so often on all the positives: Remind clients of all the work you’re doing for them throughout the process. Send a monthly (or, weekly in this market) email saying “Here’s what we accomplished together this week”.
- Always ask at the end of the sale: Closing day is a major milestone for your client. Around this time, you want to be sure to ask them face-to-face if they enjoyed working with you, what their favorite moment was, and if they have any thoughts on what they wish had gone differently.
- Tell them what to write: Once you have their feedback and know what they stand, take a look at some of these templates below for your follow up email:
Real Estate Agent Template for Requesting a Review[Name],
Congratulations on closing!
I’ve sincerely enjoyed getting to work with you, and getting to know you and your family. Thank you so much for choosing me as your real estate agent!
When you have a moment, I’d love it if you’d provide some feedback about your experience working with [me/ us/ the team]. Reviews help us understand how to better serve our clients, and also provide an opportunity for others to learn about us and how we do business.
Here’s some of what we achieved together!
- We viewed 6 homes in 2 weeks
- We discovered a lien on the property, and resolved the issue quickly
- We negotiated $15,000 off the purchase price
Thank you, [Name]. I enjoyed working with you, and look forward to reading your feedback!
Rules around reviews:
While review sites want to see engagement and reviews coming through, it is also their job to ensure the quality of the feedback.
Each platform has its own rules and regulations around what you are and are not allowed to do when it comes to writing and requesting reviews. Penalties range from deleted reviews, to account suspension and even fines in some cases. To keep it kosher, you’re going to want to review each sites’ policies as you set up your accounts.
In the meantime, here are some review rules that will apply to most sites across the board.
- Never write reviews yourself, or have employees write reviews
- Never offer incentives in exchange for positive reviews (Some review sites are ok with incentives for leaving a review, as long as you’re not forcing them to be positive. Sites such as Yelp may be more strict with incentives, so always read the policies)
- Never ask friends and family whom you have not done business with to leave a review
- Never make fake accounts and leave reviews for yourself
Handling positive reviews
You’ve gotten 5 stars! Woo hoo! 🎉
Before you close out the client file, your work isn’t done quite yet.
What you do after getting a positive review has the potential to help you grow your real estate sphere of influence (SOI) and increase the impact those 5 stars left on your business.
How to respond to stellar real estate reviews: ⭐
But they were happy! I still need to respond?
YES. Your response to a positive review says a lot about your relationship with the client.
In fact, 78% of consumers say that hearing back about their reviews makes them believe the business cares more about them. This not only makes it more likely that you will get some additional referrals from your client, it also demonstrates the relationship they were just bragging about.
Template for Responding to a Positive Review
“Thank you, [Name]! We’re so glad you had a positive experience! We really appreciate you providing this feedback. You made our day! It was fantastic working with you [and name]. (Provide personalized info if applicable)”
How to promote your best reviews:
Once you get that positive review, you can leverage it across all your real estate marketing.
Because after all, not everyone is going to see the heartfelt message on Zillow or Google, so it’s up to you to get the word out there.
Here are some quick and effective ideas for how to amplify your positive reviews:
- Share quotes on social media and tag the person. This is shared to their followers as well!
- Share quotes on your website
- Reach out to the individual and see if they’d be open to a video testimonial
- Write a blog about an issue you had during the transaction and how you solved it, include the testimonial
Handling negative reviews
Oh no! The review funnel didn’t quite catch everything.
It’s ok. Bad reviews happen.
Not every client is going to be a perfect fit. The good news is, how you handle a negative review can reduce its impact to prospective clients.
In some instances, you may event be able to remove the review altogether.
How to respond to negative reviews:
First things first. Take a couple deep breaths and find your inner peace.
The first step to responding to a negative review is understanding that some people are chronic complainers — it’s nothing to take personally. Just remember, 45% of consumers are more likely to support businesses if they see that they’ve responded to negative reviews.
Here’s a handful of templates for negative review responses:
Template for Responding to a Negative Review With Someone You’ve Worked With:
Hi [Name]! We’re so sorry to hear this was your experience! We work really hard to ensure things like this don’t happen. When you have a moment, can you please shoot me an email so we can discuss what went wrong and how to fix this?
Template for Responding to a Negative Review With Someone You Never Worked With:
Hi [Name]! I was looking through our database and don’t seem to have your email listed in our client base. This review is very concerning to our team, as we work hard to provide a better experience for our clients. Can you please shoot me an email when you have a moment so we can confirm your experience was with us?
Responding to a Negative Review With No Comment:
Hi [Name]! I’m so sorry to see you’ve had a negative experience! I’ve really enjoyed working with you and would love to hear more about what went wrong! Can you please provide an email with some details so we can chat more?
How to remove negative reviews:
The first step in removing negative reviews is to reach out to the original publisher.
Sometimes reviews were made in error, or after a misunderstanding that a simple conversation can clear up. It’s worth asking them to remove the negative review or revise their previous posting.
If the reviewer won’t budge, that’s ok. The review site may still have certain rules and regulations in place that may aid in your removal of the review. And while it’s usually difficult to get negative reviews taken down by review sites, knowing the site’s policy on negative reviews may help you find a loophole. It’s always worth requesting deletion, even if a policy wasn’t directly broken.
Here are some of the reasons a negative review may be eligible for removal:
- You’ve never worked with the reviewer
- There is an aggressive tone, or use of expletives in the review
- The review contains spam
- The review is off-topic or not related to the business itself
- The review is offensive or inappropriate
- The review was written by a competitor
If any of these rules are broken, you’ll need to reach out to the review sites directly and request their removals. Processes are lengthy and difficult to get through, but it is possible.
Here’s to happier clients and better reviews!
At the end of the day, the best way to deal with negative reviews is to avoid them altogether.
With the right mindset, tools and client experience philosophy, you’ll be in the perfect position to get more reviews and scale your real estate business to a whole new level.