Interesting thought – people may not believe what you have to say, but will always believe what others have to say about you. This is why eBay sellers are so hyper-sensitive to their ratings. When a seller doesn’t have 98% or higher positive ratings, people stop buying. Like it or not, if you are an investor or real estate professional, every buyer or seller is sizing you up – wondering whether he or she should trust you – whether you are the person he or she should do business with. If you can establish trust, you’re likely the one to get the listing (Realtor), or get the property under contract (Investor).
What better way to gain trust then to have others tell that buyer or seller how great you are? Here are some tips I have come across to help you get that recommendation!
Ask for the testimonial BEFORE the contemplated transaction: “Mr. Seller/Buyer, I’m going to do everything in my power to make this a smooth transaction for you. If I do a great job for you [or, if I meet or exceed your expectations], would you be willing to give me a testimonial after it’s all over?” This sets the proper expectations that: 1) you’re going to do a great job; and 2) you WILL ask for a testimonial when it’s over and the seller/buyer will be expecting to give one.
You can’t have too many: Don’t just rely on one or two testimonials. Make it a policy to get a testimonial with every transaction you do. There is psychology involved with volume – if a few people say you’re the best, it may be true. If 100 people say you’re the best, it’s a fact!
One benefit = one testimonial: Remember that people only buy your services based upon the benefits they derive from them. Your customers will always ask themselves, “What’s in it for me?” Turning the features of your business into benefits is a subject for a different day, but make sure you’re not trying to clump every benefit into every testimonial. It can sound fake. Example:
Good: “I was scared about whether I could get out of my house before all the legal nightmares started. Brandon closed on my home in only 5 days. In one week, I went from crazy-stressed to now living debt-free in a new home – and all those collection letters from attorneys? Gone! If you want out from under your troubles fast, call Brandon!!!”
Bad: “Brandon was the best investor ever. He closed fast. He was professional. He did what he said. Nobody else could give me the price I wanted. He was honest. Etc.”
Write it for them: There’s no doubt that people want to write wonderful things about you, but they don’t have the time or writing skills to do it. You’d be amazed at what people are willing to sign if you ask them to. Be bold! Ask them why they liked working with you, turn that into a glowing testimonial, and send it to them. If they really don’t believe it, they’ll tell you, or they won’t sign it, or they’ll write their own. You really can’t lose, because you’re never compelled to use any one testimonial – so go for it!
Be specific and vivid: “Mike was the best attorney ever.” Wow! That’s convincing —NOT!! Make sure the testimonial is as specific as possible, and full of colorful language. You need to paint a picture with your words –
“A few years ago I got sued by one of my customers. I tried to settle the case myself, but the other side wouldn’t give up. I was getting beat up — I felt like a human punching bag. But then I went to see Mike. He took the case for me and immediately went on the attack. He was vicious! Having Mike as your attorney is like having a fiesty pit bull that bites through its leash then starts ripping the flesh off the other attorney’s legs ha ha. The other side didn’t know what hit ‘em. Within a few weeks they waved the white flag and started begging for a settlement. Hire Mike because, if you don’t, the other side will!”
Who would you rather hire as a litigator?
Use videos: Many are camera shy, and you won’t get a lot of these, but what’s better than your former customers talking face-to-face with your future customers – telling them there’s no other option but you?
Don’t forget that whenever you get a testimonial from someone; make sure you get a quick one-page release form that allows you to use that testimonial in any of your websites, promotional materials, etc. If not, you could find yourself in legal trouble.
Testimonials are an integral part of your marketing strategy. Don’t forget about them just because everyone else does!
And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.
Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CLHMS CRB CRS GREEN GRI
Past President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900