Online testimonials help garner new clients

September 20, 2011
By

Many Realtors® actively ask their clients to provide a review of their services to post on a variety of online programs. By far, one of the most popular sites Realtors® are using is Zillow.

Zillow added its agent review section late last year. So far, more than 62,000 reviews have been submitted according to Sara Bonert, director of broker services at Zillow. The Ratings and Reviews section is free for any real estate agent with a Zillow account.

“More than 23.2 million people visit Zillow each month and many have not yet found a real estate agent to help them buy or sell a home,” Bonert said. “Knowing others’ experiences with a particular agent is valuable information for potential home buyers and sellers to have before selecting a real estate agent.

“Zillow Ratings and Reviews are not only a great way to highlight your skills as an agent but they also equip consumers with the information and confidence they need when picking an agent,” she added.

A Realtor® for 39 years, Russ Malehorn with Prudential Bob Yost Home Sale Services in York is using the Zillow Ratings and Reviews.

“I think it just makes sense to use this,” Malehorn said. “I look for testimonials from people when I’m looking to buy something. I would think other people would do the same for my service.”

Malehorn said several clients have contacted him because of his Zillow referrals.

“We get a good percentage of our business from online referrals,” he said. “Times are changing. Clients are looking online for houses and Realtors®. It doesn’t mean they don’t pick a Realtor® from another source but most do their homework online.”

Jayne Vaughan with RE/MAX Home Team in Scott Township is partners with her sister Bonnie Vaughan and said she was originally skeptical about online reviews.

“At first, I didn’t put any creidence in it but when I went back and asked some clients to provide an online review I found I was getting a lot of business through Zillow,” she said.

She and her sister post their listings on Zillow and pay to have their ad appear when someone searches specific zip codes. “Because we have a five-star rating, we rank higher on their list of Realtors®,” she added.

Robert “Wags” Wagner and his wife Adrienne “Abe” Wagner use an online review system which independently surveys their clients once the transaction is complete.

Wagner, a Realtor® with Prudential Preferred Realty in Donegal, said they pay for a subscription to Quality Service Certified (QSC), a Realtor® search site. QSC sends a survey to clients and posts the Wagners’ average scores on the site.

“This review site helps us get clients,” Wagner said. “When you’re competing for a listing presentation, this is another tool that you can show your potential clients that illustrates that client satisfaction is important to you.”

Wagner said they’ve used their clients’ responses to upgrade and tweak their seller and buyer programs.

“Customers are much more knowledgeable today,” he added. “You have to have an ‘A’ game to survive in this marketplace.”

About Kim Shindle:
Kim Shindle is the Manager of Media Relations at the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors®. Follow Kim on Twitter.
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