Pop quiz: What do Kleenex, Q-Tips, and Band-Aid have in common?
If you answered, “They’re brands whose names are synonymous with their products” then you nailed it! After all, ‘facial tissue,’ ‘cotton swabs,’ and ‘bandages’ all make sense, but they don’t quite have the same pizzazz, do they?
This elite status goes hand-in-hand with absolutely dominating your market in the eyes of consumers. It’s the ultimate branding feat, right?
Now imagine the massive cultural impact that comes with being the go-to brand name in internet searching.
Think about it: When was the last time you said or heard someone say, “I don’t know. Google it!”
From razors to racecars and even their dream home, consumers are using Google to search for their every need. And when it comes to major decisions like working with a real estate agent, buyers and sellers aren’t just looking for basic information about your business.
They’re also looking at your Google reviews.
For many real estate agents, the thought of having to collect reviews for yet another platform can feel a little overwhelming. But Google reviews don’t have to be a pain in the neck! Read on to understand why they’re such an important part of your brand, how to get more of them, and how to respond when the reviews come rolling in.
Table of contents
- What is a Google review? And why does every real estate agent need more of them
- 6 simple ways to get more Google reviews for your real estate business
- How to respond to Google reviews, both negative and positive
What is a Google review? And why does every real estate agent need more of them
A Google review is an opportunity for your customers and fans to provide helpful information to other online searchers, while also helping your business stand out. Google reviews come with a star rating system and show up next to your Business Profile in Maps and Search.
The process of leaving a review is simple and easy, and users can do so via Google Maps or your local business listing by picking a star rating out of five and adding a description of their incredible (or not-so-great) experience.
An average star rating and the number of reviews will be listed prominently under the business name for other prospects to see:
While Google reviews are far from the only source of social proof for real estate agents — think Zillow and Yelp, just to name a few! — they matter because Google is the search engine.
This simple fact alone makes Google reviews one of the most far-reaching and accessible types of social proof for all types of prospects.
Although many potential prospects may hear your name for the first time via referral, billboard, or digital ad, their next step will almost alway be to type your name into Google. A high rating on your Google profile and a large bank of warm reviews from clients are two of the quickest ways to win their trust.
Google reviews not only give searchers a quick sense of the experiences clients have with you, they also inspire prospects to learn more by visiting your website or reaching out to you directly.
6 simple ways to get more Google reviews for your real estate business
Looking to garner more Google reviews for your real estate team? No sweat.
Here are six tactics you can implement right away to help build your bank of testimonials for potential clients who are searching online.
1. Start by asking your past clients for a review
You won’t get what you don’t ask for.
The first and most important step to getting more Google reviews is to start by asking your current and former clients. And we get it! This is both a straightforward tip and easier said than done. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
Create a templated message — so you can use it in the future if needed — and set up an automation, including follow-ups, to ask your former clients for reviews. Explain that it’s important to you to know how you did, and ask them whether they would recommend you to their friends or family.
Now that their homebuying journey is over, let them know that Google reviews are an important and transparent way for you to connect with other clients — that way, you can help them find their dream home, too.
Renee Funk, Team Lead of The Funk Collection, uses Follow Up Boss action plans as a seamless way to collect online reviews. Copy this action plan directly to your Follow Up Boss account by clicking here.
2. Provide specific instructions
If you’re focused on specifically gathering Google reviews, say that.
While general testimonials are welcome on any platform, it’s ok to let clients know where you need their help most.
Explain that they don’t have to have a Gmail address to leave a Google review and offer step-by-step instructions so they know how simple it is to sing your praises.
Give your clients a direct link to leave their review and, as always, offer your support if they encounter any questions or concerns. You can also template out these instructions to reuse these steps whenever you need to.
For the complete step-by-step on how to leave a Google review from your computer, Android or iOS device, check out these clear instructions straight from the source. Simply copy the steps or forward the link straight to your clients so they know exactly how and where to leave their review.
3. Build a review-gathering process
Because reviews are such a helpful marketing tool — you can incorporate quotes beautifully onto your website, social media and many other marketing assets — you want to build momentum in gathering them.
And the best way to build momentum is to create processes.
After you’ve solicited reviews from previous clients, make a game plan for your current and future clients going forward.
Craft a process to build asking for reviews into the entire client relationship, and document each step in their journey where you’ll check in with them about their experience.
(Not sure what these are or how to ask? We’ve got everything you need in this guide.)
The more you — and other members of your team like your VA — ask for reviews, the more comfortable you’ll be with the process. You’ll also get better at noticing conversation cues when clients naturally compliment their experience with you. Those are great opportunities to follow up by asking if they’d be willing to share their thoughts as a review!
4. Consistently confirm your performance
From the beginning of their time working with you, let your customers know that you aim for five-star service and hope to earn a glowing review from them.
Then, at the key milestones you’ve established, confirm your performance to ensure you’re delivering on that goal.
Ask what you can do to better support them and take immediate steps to resolve any pain points. This shows follow-through on your desire to keep getting better and give them the best experience possible.
5. Offer a fun incentive to drum up more reviews
If you aren’t getting as many responses as you’d like, consider springing for a small gift or giveaway for your reviewers.
For example, you could offer a small gift card or entry into a larger giveaway for any clients who leave a Google review. This can show clients you value their time and that you mean it when you say you truly want their feedback on their experience with you. With the right incentive to sweeten the deal, you’ll grow your reviews list in no time!
Of course, the cost of incentives can add up quickly and incentivized reviews aren’t always seen as best practice. While this might be a good way to get some initial reviews up and running, remember that investing in your Google reviews is a long game.
Think about pairing this approach with some of the other tactics on this list for a balanced strategy that will keep the reviews coming over time.
6. Go above and beyond for your clients!
This one seems obvious, right? Of course you provide incredible service to each of your homebuyers and sellers.
But it’s impossible to overestimate just how important this is for your Google review strategy.
Providing specific and memorable support to your clients — in ways that no one else can — doesn’t only help you stand out in their minds. It also incentivizes them to write a glowing testimonial and gives them tangible ways to describe their experience in their Google review.
Think about the absolute best customer service experiences you’ve had. (Maybe the magic of Disney or the service of your favorite five-star steakhouse!) Do specific moments or special touches come to mind? More importantly, aren’t those the stories you share when referring this experience to others?
When you set your client service apart from everyone else, your clients will rave about it in their 1:1 referrals and their Google real estate agent reviews.
Take it from Emily Smith, COO of Wemert Group Realty — a top-performing team with a 40% referral rate and a 5-star average on Google reviews out of a pool of nearly 800 testimonials! For them, going above and beyond means genuine care for their leads and clients. She notes:
“Being thoughtful about what’s really happening in people’s lives goes a long way in building trust in those relationships. When you genuinely care about the people in front of you, it shows… Your business will absolutely be better for it.”
How to respond to Google reviews, both negative and positive
Another important part of your Google reviews strategy is responding to the reviews you receive. Whether your reviews are good, bad, or indifferent, replying to them shows a depth of attention and care to acknowledge your clients’ experiences with you.
Here are a few best practices for REALTORS® responding to Google reviews:
Replying to positive reviews
Glowing reviews are your feel-good testimonials, so enjoy your moment in the sun!
Take the time to thank your reviewers for sharing their experience and let them know you’re glad you had the chance to work with them.
If possible, call back to a particular moment in their journey that you appreciate or a specific win, like a short home-selling timeline or a hard-to-find feature of the dream home you helped them buy. And let them know you’re there if they need anything else.
Don’t sit on positive reviews for too long either! Answer as quickly as possible to demonstrate to other potential clients that you’re tuned into what your customers are saying.
And what about negative reviews? 😬
It’s never fun to get less than positive reviews, but you should still acknowledge them with a kind and professional response.
As with positive reviews, thank negative reviewers for taking time to share their experience. Express genuine concern or remorse that they didn’t have an optimal experience with a response like, “I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy your time working with us.”
For disgruntled reviewers who call out particular aspects of their experience, address their specific concerns by explaining the steps you are taking to resolve their issues in the future.
Lastly, let them know you’re available for any additional questions or concerns they may have. Express that you hope to work with them in the future and to make good on your promise to keep getting better. Your availability and empathy, more often than not, does a world of good for dissatisfied customers.
Replying to middle-of-the-road reviews (yes, those too!)
Even those just-okay reviews merit your time and attention!
Focus on letting them know it was a pleasure to work together and emphasize that you hope they had a great experience.
If they offer feedback, acknowledge how you’re always working to improve your customer experience in those areas. And once again, you guessed it: Thank them for responding and for choosing to work with your team.
Getting great reviews starts with a stellar first impression.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Delighted customers are always happy to leave you reviews and refer you to others.
A great Google review strategy begins and ends with offering incredible support from the moment a lead first reaches out to you — after they see the amazing things others have said, of course. 😉
Make sure you lock down your lead management strategy so you can start strong with new prospects and carry that level of service through the entire homebuyer journey. From there, you’ll begin the cycle of generating great reviews — and leads — all over again!
Looking for the system to help you nail it with potential buyers and sellers? We got you. See for yourself how Follow Up Boss can simplify each part of your lead management process with a free 14-day trial.