Real Estate Marketing Academy

Generating Real Estate Leads with Social Proof: A Conversation with RealSatisfied’s Jeff Turner

By Elizabeth Christensen

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real-estate-lead-generating-social-proof-jeff-turnerMore than the old adage the customer is always right, RealSatisfied President Jeff Turner subscribes to the idea that the customer should always be happy.

During our conversation with him in one of our real estate marketing webinars, Turner explained how social proof — that is, client satisfaction feedback in the form of reviews and testimonials — is both useful and necessary for agents today to ensure they did everything in their power to make their client happy and prove they’ve helped many-a-customer achieve their buying and selling dreams.

Check out many of Turner’s thoughts and opinions on how modern real estate pros should leverage social proof in their digital strategies and how doing so can not only give them added confidence in their day-to-day, but also provide a steady lead generation source.

On Proving Your Worth to Each Client

According to Turner’s marketing philosophy, agents are aware most of their business comes from the referrals of friends and family, so because of this, it’s even more important to take the extra steps to reassure clients during the home buying or selling process by being a true resource to them.

“Ultimately, if an agent can’t do that job inside of the transaction of performing the service in a way that has the client saying, ‘I would use that agent again’ they’re missing out on the greatest potential for future revenue that exists — period,” said Turner.

On Ensuring Your Clients Are Satisfied

Since Turner works for the real estate customer satisfaction software firm RealSatisfied, it should come as little surprise he knows what agents and brokers need to do to make sure their clients are happy with the work their sales representatives have done for them from the moment they were hired all the way to closing day.

“The focus of what we do at RealSatisfied is to understand, ‘Did I really do the job that I thought I did for that client? Did I really make them happy? Do I even know how to define what would make my client happy?,'” said Turner. “Ultimately, that’s something that needs to be focused on more. What is it that’s going to make your clients happy? What are you going to do? What are the things that have to take place inside of that transaction that causes the client at the close of it to say, ‘I love my agent, I’m happy to go out and tell other people about my agent, and I would use that agent again.’”

Turner added there’s a “very high correlation between survey response rates and agent performance.” Thus, agents who get substantial amounts of job feedback from their customers can rest easy knowing they have clients who appreciate their work. Conversely, agents who don’t get many responses from clients — or, worse, gets lots of bad ones — need to reevaluate how they approach their work.

Regardless of whether a client is thrilled or livid at the end of a transaction, Turner noted it’s the agent’s job to discover why and to take the appropriate actions to try and fix the situation. He also stressed the importance of confronting the opinion of a client so the behavior doesn’t continue to happen on the agent’s end.

“Not wanting to know whether or not someone’s unhappy, doesn’t make them less unhappy,” said Turner. “It doesn’t help you in any way. In fact it hurts you not to understand.”

On How Social Proof Can Transform Your Brand

The science behind social proof isn’t complicated. People seek confirmation, from their friends and family, or others that have had success with a service, that it’s worth their time, by word-of-mouth or from an online review. That means that the social proof people receive from reviews and personal referrals acts as a catalyst for increased business and more real estate leads for an agent.

“It’s important to understand what the social proof is for,” Turner indicated. “The online search [for an agent] isn’t a search — it’s a validation. This isn’t about performance. Not the online search, not the ratings, those things that are happening on Zillow and Yelp. That’s not understanding performance. That’s marketing.”

On Working with the Right Kinds of Clients

Turner explained that, as a real estate agent, you should be nearly 100% positive that a client is going to leave you a good review before you send them to a review platform. Otherwise, you’re wasting both your time and theirs and not working to improving your lead generation or client vetting processes, which are likely the root causes of poor customer ratings and reviews.

“North of 70% of people find their selling agent as a result of a referral from a friend or family member or having previously done business with the brokerage. It’s north of 60% for buyers.” Turner said. “Figure out what places are important to you. Where are you spending your money? What are your lead sources? Go where the money is, and then make certain that you know they’re going to give you a positive review because it is about social proof.”

On How to Manage a Stream Negative Reviews

The circumstances surrounding a home buying or selling experience that sometimes arise can lead to a negative review that is out of the agent’s control, Turner added. He relayed negative reviews aren’t helpful to the consumer because they won’t have the context to understand the details of a transaction — and context can’t be provided without betraying a client’s privacy.

“You get them to the best place you can get them,” said Turner. “And it doesn’t mean you did any less of a job, or that you managed that transaction any differently than in a situation where the clients are ecstatic.”

On Building an Enviable Real Estate Brand

Turner explained that agents should display evidence of the social proof their brand has received in as many places as possible. At the same time, agents need to think about protecting their brand as well by figuring out who’s having trouble with it, and analyzing agent satisfaction ratings.

“Wherever the consumer has the potential to see your name, they should have the potential to understand how people feel about you,” said Turner. Boosting your brand comes when you’ve got a whole slew of agents who are acting in the same way in the marketplace. You have a consistent representation of the performance across every single agent.” 

On the Best Ways to Measure Your Success

Determining your performance as an agent doesn’t mean simply tallying the positive versus negative reviews you receive or the number of glowing reviews you get, according to Turner. Rather, you need a systematic, data-based approach to evaluating your efforts helping your clients to truly comprehend where you excel and what areas you can improve.

“The brokers at the local level are the ones responsible for the performance, education, and training of agents,” Turner said. “Ultimately they’re the ones that need this data the most. They’re the ones who can act on that data in a way that makes sense, that actually transforms people’s behavior.”

RealSatisfied Jeff Turner online real estate reviews

Watch our webinar with Jeff Turner here to learn even more real estate review insights that can enhance your IDX website’s social proof. 

Have you seen the benefits of social proof in your own real estate business? Share examples with us in the comments below!

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