Everyone in the real estate world is trying to gain the upper hand by making themselves stand out. Whether it’s through a television advertising campaign, cornering the market for leads on sites like Zillow, or even putting your face on bus stop benches, there are hundreds of ways to make sure people in your area know that you’re the best source for real estate help.
Chief among this long list, though, is something that many people overlook. Testimonials, when someone publicly states the qualifications of someone else they have experience working with, can be of incredible benefit in the real estate world. Not only can they bring in new business, but they can convince people who are on the fence about working with you.
One of your chief aims when trying to reach new customers is establishing a connection between the people you want as customers and your perceived ability to help people like them. This means that when people hear about you, they associate your firm’s name with solutions to their problems. This can mean that they think you’re perfect for people who are looking for homes for growing families, or buying lots of land for people with an entrepreneurial spirit, or something else entirely. Regardless, they need to believe that you are the person to help them.
This is very simple to achieve with customer testimonials. If you have successfully helped one of your customers close a difficult deal and they vouch for your abilities, you’re all set. When similar prospects see the testimonial and understand that it’s an authentic endorsement of your abilities, they’ll feel a connection to your team via proxy.
Whether it’s in high school or at the local neighborhood block party, people want to be seen as cool – it’s almost a law of nature. You see this in everyday purchases when people obsess about wearing the latest fashions or buying the best available smartphone. This obsession to be part of the “in crowd” also extends to the real estate world. Not only do people want to be living in the right neighborhood, but they also want to be seen there with the most exclusive, high-quality real estate agent in the market.
The question then becomes how to be seen as exclusive and hard-to-get.Testimonials are the key-they provide tangible evidence that you are worth working with and that you stand above the competition. It’s social proof – evidence that wouldn’t be admissible in a courtroom but that certainly stands the test of a neighborhood inquisition.
There’s no doubt that one of the best ways to build up your business is to be seen as a local expert that people can rely upon. Unfortunately, building up this credibility is incredibly difficult. To become an expert, you need people to call you an expert. However, people will only call you an expert if they think you are one. It’s a chicken-and-egg problem that not many people are able to solve, but that’s because they aren’t looking to testimonials for the answer.
When you’ve helped a client close a deal that seemed impossible to finish, they’ll be indebted to you. This indebtedness can then be leveraged to make them think of you as an expert that is able to work wonders. Once they believe this, it’s a short journey to convincing them to tell other people about your expertise and the fact that you’re able to do what no one else can. Now, a prerequisite for this is that you actually need to be able to deliver results that are extraordinary – but that shouldn’t be too hard for someone as dedicated to their customers as you and your team.
Even in ancient times, communities had a small core group of people that carried weight. Whether it was village elders or a tribal council, there has always been a core to every community. This remains true today, although in a less structured way. Nowadays, the people that carry weight in a community are social leaders. They may be local activists, religious leaders, or the organizers of the neighborhood watch – whatever their actual position, they occupy that same authoritative role that village elders did in times past.
Because of their standing in the community, it can be incredibly powerful to receive their endorsement. If you are able to convince them of your unique value and get them on your side, it can bring in a new world of business that wasn’t previously available. It can be a hard sell, but it’s worth it if you can get them to vouch for you in public.
Even if they don’t heed it, everyone values hearing advice from people with experience. This is true in the real estate market and other areas of life. If you have a family member that has bought and sold ten homes, you’re going to approach them for advice on your first home purchase. Similarly, if you are thinking about buying a home and you see someone on the television that is claiming to have years of real estate experience, you’re going to pay attention to them.
As a real estate team, your job is to find people that have this tangible experience and get them on your side. They won’t be easy to convince – they do have some experience, after all – but winning them over will mean that you have incredibly strong recommendations in your pocket.
Having the right kinds of testimonials and understanding their potential is one thing, but getting people to pay attention to them is another thing altogether. As you go through the process of convincing clients to write generous statements of how much they liked working with you, you should always be asking yourself in the back of your mind, “Where is this testimonial going to be hosted?” There are two main options available.
The first option is to have your clients place their testimonials on a third-party site like Zillow, Trulia, or Realtor.com. These sites collect hundreds of thousands of reviews of realtors from across the country and are often one of the places people visit when evaluating a potential realtor-buyer relationship. The second major option is to work with your clients to create video testimonials. These require a bit more investment upfront, but they are also extremely powerful. Whether you host them on your website or place a TV-ad, they can convince people that you’re worth working with.
Testimonials may seem like a small thing to invest in, but they can pay off disproportionate dividends if you manage them right. By having the right expectations and making sure that you collect testimonials from the right people in your market, you’ll be able to drive new business that walks in the door just to work with your team.