It’s hard to earn a good reputation, yet so easy to lose it. So how can you maintain your credibility in the real estate industry?
As the real estate market keeps improving, it is getting more crowded. As the crowd grows, so to does the number of scammers, and those that do a poor job of serving others. That leaves more people burned on the whole experience, and a critical factor that professionals and businesses must fight to overcome. Remember, your reputation is everything. If you want to be trusted, and – in turn – maintain that trust, consider the following:
Get a Good Looking Website
Websites may not be as fashionable as they once were, but they are still essential. If you don’t have a website, you might as well not exist. If you don’t have a website, don’t expect people to think you are legit. They will check before they even think about doing business with you. Do yourself a favor and put some money into your site development. Your business and your bottom line will thank you.
Use a Real Email Address
You may predominately use your personal email address with personal contacts, but not having a business email is a huge red flag for new prospective customers. Forget using ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ and get a legitimate email address. That means one with a custom domain name. You can actually do this without a website up and running. Just register a domain name and use Gmail for your business email. This should set you back less than $20 for a domain name, and $5 a month after your free trial period.
Get a Real Phone Number and Voicemail
While most people, including independent real estate professionals, do business direct from their mobile phones today, this is another red flag. At least have a legitimate business number and business voicemail set up. You can still have that number forwarded to your mobile phone or via Skype on your laptop, but it is going to make a world of difference in credibility. Again, there are so many inexpensive ways to get a business phone number today that this shouldn’t be an issue.
Use Social Media
Prospective customers, investors, financiers, and business partners will check you out online. They’ll definitely try to check you out on social media too. Far too many real estate professionals and new startups neglect to nurture their social media, or even check that the icons on their website are connected to their profiles correctly. You need to invest in your social media so that you have a credible presence, and keep it up to date. You don’t have to be a master of every social network, but pick some to commit to. Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, or Facebook will all do.
Clean Up Your Google Image
We live by the world according to Google. If it’s on Google, “it must be true.” If it isn’t on Google, it must not exist. What does Google say about you? You might be surprised! Make reviewing this data a regular event. Make sure the information being provided is correct. You may even need to distinguish yourself and business from others with similar names. If there was a firm that ripped off clients with a similar name, or a long rap sheet and mug shots of someone with a similar name, make sure you distinguish yourself.
If you are doing enough business, you’ll have some haters. If you are getting attention and are winning customers, there may even be competitors who will pay people to leave you bad reviews online or make complaints against you. This happens in every industry, and real estate is far from an exception. It’s not how many complaints you get, but how you answer them. Don’t lose your credibility in the way you answer, or by ignoring them. Can you provide a more accurate version of the story, offer to make it right, or show they haven’t even been real customers of yours?
Above all; do what you say, do a good job, and offer more value. Stick to these principle and you will build a reputation you can bank on.