For buyers and sellers, real estate might be all about “location, location, location,” but for agents and brokers it’s “referrals, referrals, referrals.” Marc Dosik of Help-U-Sell Federal City Realty in Washington, D.C., actively pursues reviews and referrals as a major marketing tactic.
“I just closed a transaction with a guy in California who read my reviews on Yahoo!,” Dosik says. The buyer called based on the strength of those reviews and asked to speak to a couple of Dosik’s past clients for more feedback. Understanding the power of good testimonials, the new buyer just wrote Dosik a positive review.
As a Premier Agent on Zillow, Dosik solicits happy past customers to post their experiences on the site. He makes it easy for the customers by sending them links to his profile. He also collects reviews for Yelp and Angie’s List and puts them in Redfin.
“You can parlay these [as marketing tools],” Dosik says. He uses the reviews in listing presentations and sends prospective clients a link to his Zillow reviews. “They really help me get the listing,” he says.
Dosik encourages new and veteran brokers to ask for reviews and referrals. “Don’t stop keeping in touch,” he says. He focuses on his customers and always says “yes” to their requests. “Try not to say ‘we don’t do that’ at Help-U-Sell. Go above and beyond. You’re going to get referrals by doing that,” he advises.
Past customers’ reviews and referrals have helped Federal City Realty have a successful spring, and so has Mother Nature. “In February, we had a big increase in transactions,” Dosik says. “Normally, spring starts in March but we had a warm winter, so buyers were out there.” A lack of sellers created pent-up demand. “Since then, it’s been very busy.”
The D.C. Metro area has been steadier than most other markets during the past few years, but the housing market is stronger in some locations within the greater D.C. area than in others. The more affluent cities that are closer to Washington, D.C., such as Chevy Chase, Md., and Arlington, Va., have experienced appreciating home values, while cities that are farther away and that have a lot of new inventory, like Chantilly, Va., and Germantown, Md., are not faring as well. Dosik adds that reurbanization efforts in D.C. combined with a low unemployment rate have young professionals and investors snapping up properties in transitional neighborhoods.
With the overall strength of the D.C. Metro market, Dosik is on his way to reaching his goal of transitioning from being a one-man show to focusing more on marketing-oriented activities. He plans to add another assistant to his staff, as well as hire buyers’ agents.
What are your tips for getting the most out of testimonials?