Landing Leads from Reviews
Joanne McDonnell and her partner Linda Montieth of RE/MAX Leading Edge are among the top-rated agents for online reviews in Boston. They maintain a five-star rating across 15 reviews on Yelp, and the site provides a valuable reference point for their potential clients. They set up their profile a few years ago, and it has been very good for their business.
“With our referrals, I would say that 75 percent of them are going online to double check the reviews beforehand,” McDonnell said. “It was easy to set up and get going. At first, I was a little hesitant because you’re putting yourself out there, but we felt like we give good service and didn’t have anything to worry about. Over time, once we started to get a few reviews in, it started to pay off.”
A recent survey by the real estate consulting firm T3 Experts queried 852 agents about lead generation and found that 72 percent believe that agent reviews are important and that 70 percent feel that they are either relatively easy or very easy to convert into leads. However, only a relatively small number – 35 percent – said that they had received at least one lead from an online source in the last 12 months.
The 35 percent of Realtors who do find clients through their online reviews do so at an enviable rate. The T3 study found that the top-producing 6 percent of those agents picked up at least 51 leads from review sites in the last year.
The primary review sites for real estate agents are Zillow, Trulia, realtor.com and Yelp. According to T3 Experts, almost 61 percent of all Realtors who cited online review sites as a source for leads in the last year said that clients found them through Zillow. Trulia captured leads for almost 28 percent. About 12 percent said they had leads from realtor.com and 10.7 percent from Yelp.
Online reviews are also becoming increasingly more trusted. Online search optimizer BrightLocal’s 2014 Local Consumer Review Survey found that 88 percent of respondents used online reviews to gauge the quality of a local business, up from 85 percent in 2013. The number of people who read online reviews regularly also increased, jumping from 32 percent to 39 percent.