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Got a minute? If you're a busy manager, that's about all you have. That's why Carla Cross, management coach, speaker, and author, has created this blog just for you, with ready-to-use tips to master management through people.
Sep
20

How’s Your Online Reputation?

By

Is your online reputation building–or eroding your profits?  For years, our industry has hired agents to ‘see if they work out’–to ‘give them a chance’. We are proud that we ‘hire from our gut’. We brag that we have great intuition about who will be successful in real estate. And, unfortunately, that gut and our intuition keep letting us down. Now, the reputation we’ve gotten from those hiring practices is viewed from a much larger perspecctive. 

 Reputation and Referral: It’s No Longer Done Just Word of Mouth

 I’ll bet you’re familiar with Angie’s List, or Yelp, where products and services are rated by consumers. Just think. If you were a roofing contractor, and you got poor ratings, it could literally ruin your business. Now, let’s relate these online evaluations to real estate agents. Are agent ratings now available to the millions of people using the Internet? Yes! In fact, some are on Yelp. In addition, though, new websites devoted only to evaluating real estate agents are springing up. Check these out:

 www.realestateratingz.com                   www.incredibleagents.com              www.zilllow.com  

Word of mouth is wonderful, but, since it’s verbal, it is not very memorable and can’t cover a very wide area. But, Internet postings can stay forever—either to haunt you or support your reputation. Read the reviews on the sites I’ve mentioned in this article. Some of them are from raving fans. But, many of them are from very dissatisfied customers.

People Love to Spread their Unhappiness….

You know, too, from experience, that unhappy people are much more likely to spread their unhappiness than are moderately happy people. In fact, the marketers tell us, on average, the unhappy person tells eleven people. Now, with the Internet, unhappy people have a much greater impact on yours and your real estate agents’ business and profits.

 Consumers Just Don’t Love Us Anymore

 The recent survey by the California Association of Realtors shows some stunning and alarming trends about customer service expectations and delivery. In 2005, Internet consumers rated their overall satisfaction with their agent at almost 90%, while traditional buyers rated their overall satisfaction at 37%. However, in the ensuing years, the ratings have plummeted. In 2009, both Internet and traditional buyers only rated their overall satisfaction with their agent at 4%!  (The ratings of Internet and traditional buyers now are equal). In other words, consumer expectations of what an agent should do for them are just not being met.

Dissatisfaction and Ability to Broadcast Should Give the Industry a ‘Heads Up’

 It’s true that the past few years have been very challenging for real estate agents. They have had to deal with customer distrust, indecision, short sales, and REOs. It’s much more difficult to bring a sale to closing. Yet, this is the very atmosphere in which agents should be perceived as much more valuable to the consumer. Instead, the consumer is judging the service received from the agent very harshly. There are several reasons for this:

  • Unrealistic expectations from consumers
  • Inability of the agent to adequately educate the consumer
  • Too many ‘dual career’ (read that as part-timers) and undedicated agents in our industry

 In my next blog, I’ll provide you a survey you can use to gain great testimonials–and fix any problems fast.

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