Genuine testimonials can add credibility to a real estate marketing program. When the testimonial comes from a known source, like a neighbor, that power increases tenfold. So how do you go about using testimonials?
An easy but effective formula:
1. Place a testimonial at the top of your piece, in headline fashion.
2. Followed up with your message, giving specifics of the transaction - the number of interested buyers that came through, the time it took to get a contract. (Or other relevant data from a buyer agent transaction).
3. Then offer to help the reader in the same way.
4. End with your offer and call-to-action.
Create a testimonial “harvesting" system.
The easier your testimonial gathering system is, the more likely you'll do it on a regular basis. Put something down on paper. Map it out. Make it a point to solicit a testimonial from each client X-number of days after the transaction.
Follow your timeline consistently. And be sure you make it clear how you will use the testimonial (simply by using the phrase “in my marketing efforts").
Use your client's full name and address whenever possible. When you write a testimonial-request email or letter (or call them on the phone), ask if you can include their full name and address. Explain that it makes the testimonial more believable than something signed by “R. P. from Houston. "
For example, if you lived at 344 Elm Street, Houston, TX, which of the following testimonials would capture more of your attention:
One signed by J. Riley, Houston, TX?
Or one signed by John and Beth Riley, 357 Elm Street, Houston, TX?
Send thank-you cards or a small gift to testimonial providers. This will boost your referral rate. Besides, it's just plain nice (and there's plenty of room for nice in today's business world).
Use the complete testimonial.
Open your newspaper up to the movies section and you'll see testimonials that look like this:
". . . great. . . "
". . . superb. . . "
". . . astounding. . . "
Besides the fact that these snippets are worthless, what's the first thing they bring to mind? If you're like me, you might say they look like they've been taken out of context by a tricky writer. Use the full testimonial, or at least the full sections that are most applicable.
Testimonials carry more power than anything you might say about yourself. Create a simple harvesting system and follow it consistently. Be honest about your intentions. Send a thank-you card or small gift.
Brandon Cornett has worked as a writer and advertising manager within the direct mail industry. He now dedicates his time to helping agents and brokers improve their real estate marketing programs. His Modern Guide to Real Estate Marketing and his free newsletter are available at: http://www.ArmingYourFarming.com