How are some top producers not the greatest at Twitter, yet are great at converting online leads? How do some still use their 2008 Blackberry, yet have an easy time getting people online to pay attention and trust them? Why are they outproducing the average agent by three times thanks to online agent reviews?
A new study by T3 Experts, a real estate tech consulting company, surveyed nearly 900 real estate professionals to answer all of those questions, and it appears that there is a shift in consumers’ emphasis on agent reviews that isn’t gradual – it’s rapid, and it’s not just your reputation at stake; it’s your income.
“Consumers are rewarding agents that focus on generating online reviews more significantly than we originally thought when we started the study,” said Jack Miller, T3 Experts CEO. “There is a small group of agents generating 10 times the volume of leads from reviews than everybody else – and we discovered they are also making more income than others. One-third of top lead generators from reviews are selling 50 or more homes a year.”
Below are the main points from the T3 report:
Performance Gap – A strong majority of those surveyed believe leads from agent reviews are important (72 percent) and easy to convert (70 percent) – and yet only 35 percent have received at least one lead from agent reviews in the past 12 months. Agents need help implementing and better executing strategies relating to agent reviews.
Social Surprises – Two of the top five most frequently named sources of leads from agent reviews are social (Facebook at No. 2 and LinkedIn at No. 5). For some, investment in social sites pays dividends.
Winning Big – Those getting the most leads from agent reviews are getting them in large quantities (with 6 percent receiving 51 or more during the last 12 months). Payoffs can be substantial for those who make leads from agent reviews an intentional, integral part of their online strategy.
Portal Power – The role of the portals grew as agents moved up the success curve; top producers (those with 51-plus sales during the last 12 months) moved up to “top lead generators,” those with 51-plus leads from agent reviews during the last 12 months. The greater the level of success in generating leads from agent reviews, the greater the role of the portals in the process.
Leads Monetize – Comparing transaction sides closed during the last 12 months, top lead generators: sold 20-plus homes more often (69 percent vs. 48 percent for total survey results); sold 30-plus homes a lot more often (54 percent vs. 29 percent); and sold 51-plus homes more than twice as often (31 percent vs. 13 percent). As the volume of transaction sides increases, the advantage of the top lead generator widens.
It is uncomfortable for many industry professionals to ask for feedback after a transaction, but it is no longer optional. Whether it’s on a real estate portal or through a formal process like RatedAgent.com, asking for ratings means public feedback.
One survey participant echoes what we’ve heard increasingly in recent months. “Even when personally referred, [consumers] still read the reviews! When they find the reviews, they go to our website to see what’s there, then they contact us.” Another noted that only in this last year have people been referring to their online reviews when contacting them. Bingo.
Ratings and reviews, be it through Yelp, Zillow or deep feedback on your site, are part of the vetting process for agents as consumers seek to make a decision of whether to hire you or not. They want unbiased ratings and reviews, and they want to know they’re hiring the best person for their needs. And understanding that process is leading to big bucks for agents and brokers tapping into the trend, regardless of what smartphone they use or how awesome they are at Twitter.
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