Testimonials. Anyone in business knows how vital they are.
Stepping out of my business owner shoes, if you’re like me, you make a lot of your buying decisions based on reviews.
I have always had a hard time asking a client to leave me a review. I don’t know why, it just feels weird.
If you’ve looked at my Google reviews, most are from clients who decided to leave a review of my service on their own. I have asked a few to leave one for me.
As I began to gain business traction in my neighbourhood, an agent, or agents, decided I was a threat and declared war on me. No warning shots fired just a full-out blitzkrieg attack.
Whoever it was, I suspect one of the two “prominent” agents in my neighbourhood, filed a complaint with Google saying my place of business, my home address, was not accurate.
I guess they don’t like the fact that when you look at a Google map of West Rouge you see Mike Lind, Real Estate Agent on the aerial view.
This is true for most agents. Technically, your home is not your place of business, it is the brokerage address that is your place of business.
But I am not most agents.
I’m a registered Personal Real Estate Corporation, a PREC.
Some agents call me something that sounds similar, but that’s only because I don’t let them get their way in a deal.
Anyway, because I’ve registered as a PREC and incorporated with my home address, my place of business is my home address.
What I suspect happened is one of the top producers felt threatened by my area presence and decided to fight dirty and punch below the belt by complaining to Google.
Google takes things like this pretty seriously and without warning, suspended my Google My Business profile pending proof of business ownership and registration.
I was pissed that someone would stoop so low, but I shouldn’t have been surprised that a competitor would do such a thing.
It was an easy issue to resolve as I only needed to email my article of incorporation to Google and I was back online within an hour of being taken down.
But if I wasn’t prepared to show proof, then my 25, 5-star reviews would have been gone forever, and that’s not right.
Even if an agent had themselves improperly listed on Google Maps, have a backbone and let them know that they are improperly using their home address as a business address and give them a warning that if it’s not fixed within, I don’t know, a week, you’ll snitch to Google.
Not this agent. Too much of a coward.
And I can see why they’re threatened. You have to be a real technical wizard to show up on Google Maps. You don’t need a physical address in a neighbourhood to do it.
But they either don’t know how, or they still don’t take advantage of online media.
I know they don’t because I see their monthly “newsletter” that looks like it was made on MS Word 97, complete with illegible cursive and mismatched fonts, along with dark letter colouring on dark background.
If you visit their website, it too looks equally terrible. Something I would have programmed when I was learning HTML and CSS back in 2002.
Is my online presence perfect? No. But I have good reasons for that. One of the teams I worked with made me kill off all my online presence when I joined them so as not to “confuse the brand”.
Another story for another time.
I could go after the one big-time agents in my area too. There have been plenty of opportunities where they have not followed the rules when it comes to signage.
Remember those “coming soon to MLS” signs that agents would have up for a couple of weeks before the property went on the market?
What a joke those were; part of an agent’s “pre-market campaign” – please, it was just so they could have their sign up on a lawn longer because houses were selling so quickly; dumbasses likely didn’t know about an exclusive listing.
Anyway, when an agent has an exclusive or a coming soon for sale sign, the MLS and REALTOR logos need to be covered up. If a property is not on the MLS, then an agent can not use the MLS logo. Plain and simple.
On multiple occasions, I saw the for sign displaying the logo. I could have filed a complaint to have them cover it up. Essentially wasting their time to have to go and put a piece of tape over it. Teach them a lesson.
But I find that petty because it doesn’t affect my business. It’s just a trademark stipulation.
Maybe I should though, make them sit through the kangaroo court that is the TRREB tribunal, waste their time there, and cause them to have to sit through a real estate advertising compliance video.
Nah, not painful enough for what they put me through.