There are a lot of factors that come into play when a homeowner is deciding whether or not to work with you on their home financing needs. What loan programs you offer, the interest rates that are available to them and what kinds of fees they’ll be paying to get the loan closed certainly all factor into this equation. Before any of those things come into consideration though, there is an all-important first test that you must pass. Your potential client needs to find you online, read what others have to say about the work you did for them and dig into your website and social media properties to learn more about you, who you are and how you work. With that in mind, today we want to share with you the best practices you can follow to increase your loan officer testimonials, attract more leads and close more business.
How To Encourage Past Clients To Leave More Reviews
One of the easiest ways to encourage more positive online reviews is to have lots of reviews on review sites. While that may sound a bit like a chicken and egg scenario, it’s true. There are plenty of ways you can encourage your past clients to start leaving reviews to spur additional reviews from others, building your mortgage company’s online reputation.
Create Many Places For Your Past Clients To Leave Reviews
As we discussed in a recent article on how to grow your mortgage business with reviews, there are many important platforms you need to claim or set up a business profile on to receive reviews from past clients. Don’t just focus on a single platform. Instead, focus on all of them.
The key to this is you want to be everywhere your past clients and potential clients might be hanging out online. The more places a lead sees reviews about you, the better the feeling they are going to get about your online reputation and the more they are going to want to do business with you.
Optimize Content On Your Website To Promote Review Giving/Viewing
In the event that a potential or past client goes directly to your website and not a review website, you want them to be able to easily find a path to reviews so they can get a sense of your online reputation. Whether it’s the blog section of your website, a services page or even a contact page, it’s important you set up logos for each of the review sites you have a page on that link directly to that page. That way any interested parties can either click to simply read past reviews, or click to leave you a positive review.
When it comes to getting reviews from past clients the key is to keep the barrier of entry as low as possible. Having these logos on every page of your mortgage website is a great way to ensure that it’s easy for them.
Give Incentives For Reviews
While Yelp actively tries to prevent businesses from soliciting reviews from clients, most of the other review sites on the Internet are okay with you soliciting reviews. One of the best ways to ensure a past client will take the time to give you a thoughtful review is to reward them for spending the time to do it.
For instance, why not send a short and sweet email out to all your past clients? In it you can ask for a review and you can even note that anyone that goes online and gives you a review will get a free Starbucks Gift Card. The few bucks for a cup of coffee isn’t a great expense to you, but it is certain to be something that your past clients would appreciate and would be willing to leave a review for.
Ask For The Review At The Right Time
One of the things that are most puzzling about client reviews is how mortgage brokers tend to miss the ideal time to ask for them. The truth is the ideal time to ask for a client review is right when you are closing the loan. Your client will never be happier than this moment as they are experiencing the excitement of being done with the loan process. Everything you did for them is also fresh in their minds, so the review they give is likely to be much more of a glowing review than if you wait a few weeks or months to ask for it.
There are also automated tools that can help you easily accomplish this task. For instance, our CRM has a great feature to do this. Your clients can now share their positive survey responses directly to social media, including Zillow and Yelp! Our feature makes it easy for you to let the world know about the hard work you’ve done for your clients allowing you to more easily grow your business.
When a past client fills out a positive survey they will be prompted to share their survey results with their social networks. These posted surveys will have a link directly back to your business. This social sharing allows your reviews to go viral as your client is sharing them with their friends that are an entirely new audience of potential home buyers (which they can then share with their friends) .
You can learn more about our Mortgage CRM and Testimonial Module here
Best Practices For Responding To Reviews
When it comes to online reviews, there are definitely some best practices that you need to keep in mind, in order to ensure you are increasing your brokerage’s online reputation as efficiently as possible. Here are some tips and tricks you can follow to best handle responding to online reviews:
Respond To ALL Reviews
Too many mortgage brokers either never respond to any reviews, or only focus on the bad reviews. The truth is you want to respond to all reviews. In fact, it’s possibly even more important that you respond to the positive ones. Responding to positive reviews shows that you care about your clients and value the time they put into drafting their thoughtful review.
When you reply to reviews, you should sincerely thank them for taking the time to review. Whenever one of your clients give you feedback on something that you perhaps were unaware of or didn’t consider, think of that as a special give they are giving you. You need to demonstrate that you are thankful for that gift.
Be Personal, BUT Be Professional
While adding personal details like responding to a reviewer by name can be great to give a personal touch to conversations with online reviewers, you have to keep in mind that responding to online mortgage reviews is much more than a simple chat with an old friend. Once it’s on the Internet, it’s there forever. Your response and how you conducted yourself in your written response is going to forever reflect upon you and your mortgage brokerage. At the end of the day, professionalism is critical.
Handling Bad Online Reviews
Expanding on the best practices described above, let’s dive a little deeper into the best way to handle bad online reviews. When you get a bad review from a past client, make sure to take the time to respond thoughtfully, without being defensive, to come to a resolution. You may not always be able to come up with a way to make things right for the person that left the review, but it’s the right thing to try to do, and it could actually help you grow your mortgage business in the long run.
Harvard Business Review found that businesses responding to negative reviews online actually resulted in better ratings overall. Your customers are human beings too, and the value of empathetic and compassionate customer service strikes a chord and actually leads to an uptick in total reviews, particularly positive ones.
Focus On The Specifics
It’s understandable that reading reviews that are critical about the services you gave can cause you to get a little on edge, but it’s really important that you focus specifically on the details of the review. For instance, take note of the reviewer’s name, which branch they used (if you have multiple brokerage locations), what loan officer they worked with, and specifically what details prompted them to write the review.
Doing these things will not only equip you to give a thoughtful response to the online reviewer, but also give you the ability to further hone your processes, reward outstanding team members, or follow up on anything that didn’t quite go according to plan.
This may seem like it doesn’t need to be pointed out, but you would not believe how many mortgage brokers set out replying to an online review with the best intentions in mind, only to end up getting in an argument with an online reviewer. DON’T do this.
Even if you believe a review is completely unwarranted, resist the urge to attack the person that made the review. You need to walk a fine balance. Keeping your tone even keel, and apologizing to the reviewer, even if you feel you did nothing wrong goes a long way. If you stick solely to responding to facts and resist to engage in disputes about the other ancillary things in the review, you’ll ensure you come off looking like a rational, caring person.
Give Proper Consideration To All Complaints
It’s never fun to hear that one of your clients had a bad experience when you were handling their loan. The truth is though that eventually, no matter how careful you are, eventually a problem will come up. The key to handling this is to give proper consideration and objectively evaluate what the reviewer said. Is there perhaps something you could have done better? Is this a problem that other clients might have with your services? Giving thoughtful consideration to this feedback is a great way to make positive changes in your business.
How Online Reviews Factor Into Local SEO
Online reviews will help your mortgage brokerage show up at the top of local search results. As stated in our Local SEO For Mortgage Brokers & Loan Officers piece, there have been strong correlations found between online business reviews and local search engine results.
Google’s algorithm takes many factors about reviews into consideration, including review quantity, how quickly you receive new reviews, and how diverse your reviews are. So the more online reviews you get and the more unique and detailed the reviews are, the better your mortgage company is going to perform in local search results.
So if one of your annual goals is to boost your local SEO presence, put a plan in place to ensure you get as many Google Reviews as possible from each client you close a loan for. The Google online review process is pretty easy. Your past clients can go straight to your review page and leave you a review with a simple click of that link.
To ensure you get as many Google reviews as possible, make sure you have that link created to put in the emails and other materials you send out asking for reviews. Here is a great article that gives you some easy options you can follow to obtain your Google reviews link.
Become An Expert At Handling Online Reviews And Grow Your Online Reputation
You are a mortgage professional that is dedicated to your client’s needs. It’s understandable that you take your job seriously. Taking the time for showing gratitude for reviews given, remembering to give thought to every reviewer’s point of view and encouraging every new client you close a loan for to leave a new review will help not only build your mortgage company’s online reputation, but also your search engine placement and your lead flow.