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As a real estate agent, you have several important tools in your arsenal. But there is one in particular that you should focus on: reviews. Most real estate agents generate their business from either someone they have previously worked with or by searching for local agents online.

Having your positive reviews online places you as a contender for online home-seekers’ business. And knowing which of your clients were satisfied with your service enough to recommend you to family and friends means you can have a plan in place to connect with those people in the future.

Where to Store Reviews

You can store your reviews in many locations such as social media, your website or even your email signature. You want your reviews to be prominent so that anyone who sees you knows that you are the right agent for them. You also want to show off your proven record of success.

Some past clients will take the initiative to leave a positive review on their favorite site. However, this won’t be the case for everyone. Sometimes, it’s best to take the matter into your own hands for generating reviews.

Craft a Plan

Before asking for reviews, you should determine where you want them to display and how you want to use them. It’s a good idea to have a list of where you want the reviews to appear so that there is more opportunity for people to see your reviews. Be careful not to have too many locations for where your reviews can be found to avoid an instance where you won’t be able to monitor all of the reviews.

Some popular places you can ask people to submit reviews about your business are Homes.com, Google My Business, Facebook and Yelp. You may want to consider using an updateable URL, such as a bit.ly that you can use to redirect your incoming reviewers over time. That way you can easily shift between review sites without having to update any marketing materials that you include a review request on.

Set the Groundwork

The closing table isn’t always the right place to bring up testimonials, but asking beforehand is often jumping the gun and waiting too long after closing can result in indifferent or dispassionate reviews. When you do ask for reviews, make sure this isn’t the first time your client is hearing about your reviews by working existing ones into the buying or selling process. Include them on any marketing or educational materials you share with your clients throughout the process. This will not only give your client more confidence, when you do ask them for public feedback on your performance, they will already have seen your strongest testimonials and will be more likely to write a stronger testimonial as a result. After all, often the biggest hurdle a reviewer has to overcome is figuring out what to say.

Request Reviews

Your individual sales process and relationship with your client will be a strong factor in determining when you should ask for a review. The specific circumstances will also come into play. If your client starts raving about how much they love working with you, go ahead and ask for the testimonial. If not, plan to ask them within the first few days of their deal’s close so that their experience will be fresh in their minds. If you are collecting testimonials on a number of review sites and locations, it’s okay to ask them to leave a review on several. Providing a list of sites for them to choose from if they’re willing to leave a review gives them the option to leave you many positive reviews without coming across as pushy.

If you aren’t sure whether someone you’ve worked with is actually happy with your service, you should still ask them to leave a review, but send them to your website or a review form that you made and control. That way, if the review is negative, you still see their comments and can address them privately. Don’t let the possibility of negative reviews stop you from building your library of testimonials. There are steps you can take to handle negative reviews, that actually leave you looking better than if you only have positive reviews.

If you need help monitoring your online reputation, click here to learn more about Homes.com Social Fuel. This social media program does more than create Facebook ads and post social content on your behalf. It also comes with an advanced reputation management program to help you track the positive and negative things people are saying about you online. Contact us to learn if a reputation manager is right for you.

Patty McNease is vice president of Brand Marketing for Homes.com. For more information, please visit marketing.homes.com.

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