by Julie Escobar
There’s quite the buzz worked up amongst agents on the topic of Agent Reviews and the talk is burning up the social media channels far and wide. To get the inside scoop on this red-hot topic, I connected with one of the best go-to experts when it comes to trends, technology, and training – Michael McClure of T3Experts.com, and Professional One Real Estate.
Here’s what we learned…
Q: Michael – you connect with hundreds of agents every day — what’s the general consensus out there on the topic of agent ratings/rankings?
A: It’s really a mixed bag, and it ranges all over the place from agents thinking they are a complete waste of time, all the way up to agents getting the bulk of their business from online agent reviews. It just depends on who you talk to. But I will say this: this is a very polarizing topic. Agents either do almost nothing with online Agent Reviews, or they make online Agent Reviews an integral part of their everyday businesses.
Q: You recently conducted a survey on this topic — can you tell us a little about that?
A: Yes, that was very interesting, to say the least. We did the survey because we couldn’t really find much information or any comparable research, studies or surveys that had been performed on this important topic. So that left us with little choice but to do our own. We went into that survey thinking we knew a lot about this topic, but in the end, we were surprised by a number of the results that we found. Here are a few of the highlights:
- A strong majority of those surveyed believe leads from Agent Reviews are (1) important (72% said they are), and (2) easy to convert (70% believe they are) – and yet only 35% have received at least one lead from Agent Reviews in the past 12 months. This suggests that agents need help implementing and better executing strategies relating to Agent Reviews.
- Two of the top five most frequently named sources of leads from Agent Reviews are social (Facebook at #2 and LinkedIn at #5). For some, investment in social sites pays dividends.
- Those getting the most leads from Agent Reviews are getting them in large quantities (with 6% receiving 51 or more during the last 12 months). So, payoffs can be substantial for those who make leads from Agent Reviews an intentional, integral part of their online strategy.
- The greater the level of success in generating leads from Agent Reviews, the greater the role of the portals (Zillow and Trulia, namely) in the process. You can check out a couple of the tables in our Agent Reviews Survey Report which clearly show this.
- Comparing transaction sides closed during the last 12 months, Top Lead Generators (those who generated 51+ online leads from Agent Reviews in the prior year) (1) sold 20+ homes more often (69% vs. 48% for Total Survey Results), sold 30+ homes a lot more often (54% vs. 29%) and sold 51+ homes more than twice as often (31% vs. 13%). As the volume of transaction sides increases, the advantage of the Top Lead Generator widens.
Q: Wow – great data Michael. How can agents turn what many believe to be a negative and make it a positive?
A: The first thing I’d say here before I answer your question is this: people just need to get over their reluctance to deal with the issue. Online agent reviews are not going anywhere. In fact, I would argue that we’re just getting started. And no matter what your feelings may be, consumers are going to rate and review you. They just are. So, I think we need to simply get past that and then make up our minds to simply do whatever we need to do to optimize and leverage this opportunity.
Now, to answer your question. The best thing people can do with negative reviews is to respond to them quickly and honestly. What you don’t want to do is ignore it and hope it goes away. I’ve written quite a lot on this particular topic, and in fact we have another white paper coming out in November which will address this in great detail. But the main thing to note for now is to simply deal with it as objectively, as honestly and as quickly as you can. Most people can be diffused very easily if you simply deal with them in that manner. Ask them what you can do to make it right. Take the conversation offline. Again, based upon the research that we’ve done, the vast majority of all people who complain simply want to feel like they’ve been heard, and that some attempt has been made to satisfy them. Start with that, and in most cases that will be all you need to do.
Q: Good advice. As an online services company, we’ve found that to be true as well. We meet all our online reviews head-on – both the positive and the negative so people feel they’ve been heard. Any additional trends agents should watch for in the near future?
A: The biggest trends we see right now are leveraging digital technologies, online Agent Reviews and optimizing your online reputation. While optimizing your online reputation is sort of redundant of online Agent Reviews, online reputation is much bigger than that, and includes things like creating positive content for people to find when they search for you online. Things like blog posts and videos and things of that nature.
Beyond that, we also think people need to be looking at changing demographics and how the Millennial’s are affecting so much of what we need to do as real estate professionals, lead generation in general, which is a topic that is super dynamic and always changing and, finally, knowing what kind of agent you are so that you can make the best decisions for your real estate business.
We have a concept called agent archetypes that we created that helps agents figure out what kind of agent they are. Once you know this, it can dramatically affect the decisions you make in terms of things like the hardware and software that you buy, and also the lead generation strategies that you pursue. As an example, some agents are great at converting online leads, while others are terrible. You need to know what kind of agent you are before you decide on decisions of that nature.
Q: Powerful stuff Michael – thanks so much for sharing! How can readers connect with you?
A: Sure! You can find me at: Michael@T3Experts.com, or @ProfessionalOne on Twitter, or ProfessionalOne on Facebook.
If you’d like to see Michael’s full survey – find it online here. To learn more about creating the kind of connection and content that will continuously help you achieve great ratings, visit us online for a wide spectrum of solutions at www.prospectsplus.com, or check out our blog for more powerful articles and interviews like this one at blog.prospectsplus.com. Need marketing assistance? Contact our team of experts at 866-405-3638 today!