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When you provide service that impresses your clients, they’re usually very willing to tell others. That’s how you keep your pipeline filled.

More than ever in this age of social media and review sites, it’s important to deliver positive results as much as possible. Your productivity and professional experience matter in a transaction—and these factors make a difference when it comes to generating referrals.

Past clients are taking to sites such as Yelp, Google Reviews, Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor and Yellow Pages to rate their experiences with you—and future clients are reading what they write. The real estate industry as a whole is looking for ways to meet the growing demand from Web-savvy buyers and sellers for agent information online. One key effort to implement a uniform agent rating system was floated by the National Association of REALTORS®.

NAR’s pilot solution, AgentMatch, which sought to “match” consumers to agents based on agent production and listing metrics, has been tabled for further review. The formula NAR considered created quite a stir—and drew much criticism. While the pilot program is on hold for now, it’s certainly not the end of the discussion.

We can’t ignore the fact that potential clients are looking for—and finding—this type of information through other avenues. I firmly believe it doesn’t serve any purpose for our industry to shy away from consumer ratings. We should be involved in the conversations surrounding how these types of initiatives take shape, whether it’s an opt-in type system, or one allowing consumers to decide the criteria that’s most important to them.

It’s not a question of if a rating system will be available, but rather, when and how. If you’re a productive, professional agent who’s delivering great results, then being reviewed and rated for a job well done will be a boon for your image—and your business.

Successful agents become the best at what they do by delivering top-notch customer service and being consummate professionals in every sense. Abiding by these tenets makes it more likely that your clients will be perfectly happy to tell everyone they know about you—or write glowing online reviews about their experience. Fall short of delivering quality service and addressing the problems that might arise with clients, and you’ll face an uphill battle when you ask for referrals and online reviews. Either way, the ball really is in your court. It always has been.

We work in a fast-changing marketplace that’s becoming more mobile, and we have to evolve with it. Simply put: Consumer ratings aren’t going away. Our industry is one where customer service and personal productivity determine professionals’ success or failure. After all, buyers and sellers entrust us with one of the largest financial transactions they make in their lifetimes.

Do what you do best: Deliver quality service. Give clients 100 percent of your effort. Get educated on a continual basis. Do exactly what you say you’re going to do. Communicate with clients on their level and face their concerns head-on. If you continue to run your business like you should, then referrals—and positive reviews—will come naturally.

Margaret Kelly (CRB) is chief executive officer of RE/MAX, LLC.

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