The old adage that no news is good news doesn’t apply to online reviews. A real estate agent who has a site with no reviews is worse than one with 20 reviews, even if a couple are negative. That’s because no reviews might be perceived as inactivity or indifference.
Asking a client for a review can be awkward, but it’s becoming more common and seen as a good way to circulate positive testimonials. If you’re uncomfortable asking someone for a review, include it in your wrap-up session via a questionnaire or inform your client that you’ll be sending one in the mail. Just explain that you’d really like to get some feedback on how you did and if their comments can be used on a site such as Yelp.
A quick scan of California agents with Yelp reviews shows that it’s a good way to gain recognition, and if you get enough reviews Yelp highlights you or your office at the top of that city’s searches so you really stand out. Here are a few examples:
In San Francisco, five agents or offices were highlighted at the top of the review page. The agent with the most reviews was Tim Gullicksen with 74. All of the reviews were positive, with at least a few saying that they found Gullicksen on Yelp, which shows that the site can also be a good lead generation tool. The reviews were a mixture of a few sentences to numerous paragraphs, with the latter demonstrating that the clients must have really enjoyed their experience. For photos, Gullicksen mixed in head shots and ones of his two small dogs.
Of the five highlighted agents or offices in Los Angeles, RE/MAX Estate Properties in Manhattan Beach got the most reviews with 17. The agent, Maggie Ding, included more than 20 photos of houses she has available that could be easily clicked through and that show the diversity of properties available in that eclectic beach community. All of the reviews were positive and relatively short, which makes scanning them easy. The only thing that didn’t stand out for Ding on her page was that a viewer has to hunt to find her name because only the office was highlighted at the top.
Eight agents got top billing on Yelp’s San Diego page, with Seth O’Byrne leading the pack with 33 reviews. O’Byrne went with a variety of family shots for his 12 photos, which is good for showing an agent’s personal side. Only one of the reviews was negative, which didn’t garner a response from the agent.
MyHousingGuide garnered the most reviews of the agents and offices highlighted in Oakland with 50. Of those, five were negative with one star and a few others had four stars. All of the negative reviews weren’t followed by an agent comment, which is among topics debated by people who use review sites. Some say a comment might look petty or defensive while others say an explanation or “sorry it didn’t work out” is always the way to go. A person also has to look at the reviews before there’s any mention of the agent’s name because it’s not listed at the top of the page.