Yelp Can Help Boost Good Service and Reputation

By Jaime Westman


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.

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Introducing an Introduction to Yelp!

By Jaime Westman

I recently stayed at a nice resort and, when checking out, was asked about my stay. Everything was impeccable and I told the person that. A couple days later I got an e-mail that again thanked me for my visit and included a friendly nudge to write something positive about my stay on Yelp or another review site.

I thought it odd that such a hotel would solicit comments from guests, but I guess that’s the way of the world these days. It’s also becoming an increasingly popular way for real estate agents to get noticed as well. Obviously, good reviews can attract new clients but a bad review, or someone trying to manipulate the system, could have the opposite effect because it’s difficult to get negative reviews removed, no matter your reasoning.

So is it a good move or bad? Since I think the majority of people have good intentions, I’ll take the high road. So if you’re thinking about starting a Yelp business account or are looking for ways to boost the one you have, here are some things to keep in mind:

Wrap Up the Year with Profitable Planning

By Jim Droz

Be Successful in Real Estate

Tis the season for debate on whether putting a house on the market is a good move or not. While it’s true that the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is stressful and busy regarding holiday functions, the same can’t be said for real estate agents who wonder what to do during this traditionally slow time for selling.

What to do? Glad you asked.

Even if your leads are down, these weeks are great for reconnecting with former clients and your database on a personal level. Reach out to them via e-mail or a phone call and chat or set up a time to meet. You might be surprised how many of these people know someone who’s interested in buying or selling a house, if not now then a few months down the road. But you’ll never know until you reach out, which this time of year can also double for spreading holiday cheer. That can also be accomplished by sending holiday notes or small gifts to former clients to let them know how much you still appreciate the time spent together during your transaction.

The extra time should also be used to put a nice bow on the year while preparing to ring in 2013 with all systems set and ready to go. Continue reading “Wrap Up the Year with Profitable Planning”

6 Quick Tips for Selling During the Holidays

By Jim Droz

Selling During the Holidays

The holidays are all about tradition, family and feelings of warmth. Buying or selling a house typically isn’t on that list but circumstances and emergencies don’t follow a calendar, so the task sometimes can’t be avoided this time of year.

The good news for buyers is that there’s less competition, so finding the right price might be easier. For sellers, there’s more of a captive audience because people looking for houses during the holidays tend to be serious and not just browsing. Real estate agents who have sellers on their holiday list can do a number of things to help the transition go smoother for one and all before and while the house is being shown.

Don’t be Shy on Social Networks

By Jaime Westman

social media for real estate
There were 300,000 tweets a minute during the recent election’s peak hours, which shows the power and scope of social media. Even President Barack Obama’s first message to the public after learning of his re-election was on Twitter to his 23 million followers. We mere mortals can’t possibly attract that much attention, but using every device at our fingertips to generate leads is something all agents should be doing. Concentrating on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is a good start, so here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to optimizing your profile on those sites.


    • On your profile page, make sure your company link takes users to your business Facebook page. It’s another good way to drive traffic there.

Continue reading “Don’t be Shy on Social Networks”

Coach’s Playbook to Winning at Team Lead Conversion

By Jim Droz

I love team sports because of the camaraderie, but competition is often the word associated with real estate agents as they battle for leads. Being part of a team has its benefits, however, as long as everyone follows the game plan, which is where a good broker or manager helps a lot.

Donna Forrest-Johnston has been in that role since 2002 in a RE/MAX office in Charlotte, N.C. Her small team has mostly stayed together since that time, so she’s obviously doing something right.

“The challenge for me or anyone else in the role when it comes to building a team is hiring the right people,” Johnston said. “For me, what works best is to find people who have never sold real estate so I can train them to work Internet leads and handle buyers the way I want them to. Selling real estate is a different dynamic than almost any other job, and that’s especially true now because the way people find us and learn about us has changed so rapidly in the past couple years.”

Continue reading “Coach’s Playbook to Winning at Team Lead Conversion”

Save Time by Spending Time With A CMS

Published by Jim Droz

With all we have to do these days, a helping hand would be handy, right? Contact management systems (CMS) can provide that through a combination of automation and organization. There’s a cost involved, so care should be taken when selecting software or a company, but, when done right, a good system can handle the minutiae so we can concentrate on our clients. Here are things a good contact management system can do and how can you best utilize its services:

Be Nurturing

Browsers on your website aren’t always prepared to buy, but constant contact through a variety of drip marketing plans can convert lookers into leads that ultimately will hire you if you have a system in place that keeps them informed and you on the front burner.

Keep in Touch

Everyone likes to get upbeat notes on special dates, such as birthdays, anniversaries, holidays or move-in dates. A contact management system can keep track of those things, as well as a client’s hobbies or interests, so you can continue to build a relationship before, during or after the transaction.

Hit the Target

You can save yourself time and money by targeted segments of your database and sending them information and listings that pertain to their search parameters and interests. This also cuts down on bulk and mass mailings that tend to irritate people rather than help them. Continue reading “Save Time by Spending Time With A CMS”

Kindle Fire: Streamline the Way You Work

By Jaime Westman

Which Tablet is Right for You? Kindle Fire Edition

You wouldn’t necessarily think of using the Kindle Fire as a business tool, but aside from the terrific entertainment features, apps and unlimited Amazon cloudstorage, imagine our surprise when we learned that the Kindle Fire can hold its own in the tablet market for everyday business use.

Think of the Kindle Fire as an extension to your desktop computer or laptop. This tablet is reliable and easier to work on as opposed to depending on your smart phone and just as versatile out in the field so long as you’re able to get a good Wi-Fi signal.

The Kindle Fire runs off the Android operating system, giving you access to all of the apps available in the Android app store. Albeit not as extensive as the iTunes store, realtors, business owners, and professionals in general will find that the Android store offers a number of useful apps that help with productivity, such as ezPDF Reader, Exchange Touchdown, Evernote, and Quick Office Pro. Continue reading “Kindle Fire: Streamline the Way You Work”