Technology may change many aspects of the mortgage industry, but some things remain the same: reputation is everything.
Whether you’re an independent LO or part of a mortgage team, your online reputation is continuously scrutinized by potential borrowers.
Consider these recent stats on the importance of reviews and revenue:
A study in 2021 by the National Association of Realtors found that 97% of mortgage borrowers started their homebuying journey with an online search (pg 57). Regarding lender reviews, research into consumer behavior by Spiegal Research Center at Northwestern found that displaying online reviews can increase conversion rates by 270%. It also demonstrated that the more expensive the item was, the more critical the review was for influencing purchase decisions.
Yet another study, this one by the Harvard Business School, found that every 1-star increase in Yelp reviews translated to a 5-9% increase in revenue.
Gauging Your Mortgage Reputation
Before we get into the strategy of using reviews for mortgage leads, let’s see how you can find out where you currently stand. Here are ways to gauge your online mortgage reputation:
- Check your current online reviews. This includes Google, Zillow, Yelp, Facebook, BBB, or any third-party platform you use to collect reviews.
- Remember employee reviews, too! Consumers consider testimonials from various angles. So if you have team members, check out what they’ve been saying about what it’s like to work on your team. Start with Glassdoor.
- What’s the word on social media? Check out what others are saying about you by searching hashtags with your name or business name, posts that you’ve been tagged on, and comments on your posts.
- Read comments from your current digital ads. If you’re running any paid retargeting ads on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., current or past clients may see your ad and leave a comment –essentially a review.
- Industry forums and group chats. Depending on the privacy settings, this may or may not be visible to the general public. Either way, it’s a great place to gain insight into your mortgage reputation.
How To Get More 5-Star Reviews and Generate More More Leads
Update Your Online Profile and Business Info
A study conducted by Yext of nearly 6,000 mortgage professionals found that almost half had incorrect or incomplete information on their profiles. Address the details of your profiles, including Facebook, Yelp, and Google My Business (click here to learn how mortgage pros should set up their GMB profile).
Respond to Any Bad Reviews
This one might sting a bit because no one likes to be told they did poorly. But getting a bad review and responding to it can be very good for your business! Potential borrowers value an empathetic response and appreciate you trying to make things right when a customer felt wronged. Read this previous article for tips on how to respond to bad reviews.
Here’s another benefit of bad reviews, according to the same Speigal study mentioned above, bad reviews signify an “authenticity” about your business that increases the trust factor for consumers!
Ask For Feedback Before Asking For a Review
Sometime during the borrower’s journey, ask your client for feedback about their experience. Use open-ended questions like, “How do you feel about your mortgage experience with us so far?” If it’s anything less than enthusiastic, ask how you can improve it. If it’s all gold stars, it’s a go for asking them to leave a review.
Remember to ask for a referral, too! Referrals are a goldmine for mortgage leads.
Make It Easy For Borrowers to Leave a Review
Remove the hassle and clear the pathway for more reviews. Do this by giving them multiple review platforms, minimizing the number of clicks it takes to get to the review site, letting them know it only takes a minute and sending the request multiple ways, such as email or SMS.
Post and Share Positive Reviews That You’ve Already Received
The influencing power of positive reviews also works to gain more of them! Share your reviews across social media and display them proudly on your mortgage website. Displaying reviews encourages past customers to leave you a review as well.
Manage Reviews and Continue to Listen
Continue to manage your online reputation by setting up Google alerts (it’s free) or another review tracker to send you notifications automatically. Remember to schedule in time to respond, too. The faster, the better.
Bonus tip: Snoop on Your Competitor by Reading their Reviews
Want to know more about what your competitor is doing right or wrong? Read their reviews! Use that feedback to improve your service quality and gauge what borrowers in your area value in a mortgage experience.
Remember that over 93% of consumers use testimonials in their decision-making process. That goes for choice in mortgage service providers too. Take care of your online reputation, and your reputation will take care of you.