Testimonials are gold for real estate agents. That’s because social proof is the must-have validation you need for referrals -- and referrals drive over 80% your real estate business.
So, how do you ask your clients for reviews? How do you measure your own performance on a transaction?
Often, an agent’s method of asking for referrals is the equivalent of the sticker on commercial trucks that says, How’s my driving? Agents just ask their clients, “How’d I do?” But if you ask a simple and generic question, you will get a simple, generic answer.
For example, the following are real reviews taken from different agent web sites:
“We loved working with you!”
“Thanks so much for your help!”
“You were great. We love our new home.”
These reviews are obviously very positive in nature, but they’re also very generic. And that’s a missed opportunity. These good reviews don’t communicate what unique value the agents brought to the transaction or special attributes that resonated with the clients. And as a result, they won’t compel anyone else to contact the agent to buy or sell a home.
So how can you get more specific testimonials from your real estate clients that will, in turn help you get more clients? We put together some best practices from leading agents.
Ask Before You Even Start
Most testimonials are given after the transaction. But every great case study starts with level setting: where were your clients before you started working with them? Begin your relationship with a few benchmarking questions, such as:
How many agents have you worked with before me?
How did you hear about me?
How many homes have you purchased before?
Get to the Heart of It All
Take your referral request up a notch with detailed questions that help you craft the story of your client’s experience.
What helped you decide to work with me as your real estate agent?
What was the most helpful thing I did to help you buy/sell your home?
How was I able to help you (with a specific challenge the client had)?
What could I have done differently?
Would you refer me to your friends or family? What would you tell them?
Give When You Get
You earned your commission for your hard work on the transaction. So what will your clients earn for their review? Offer something of value to acknowledge that it takes time to write a review, and you appreciate the effort they put it into it.
A gift certificate to OpenTable lets your client have a great meal in your honor. Fandango gift cards give them a movie night. Or an Amazon voucher leaves the options wide open!
Press “Record” When They Start Talking
Video is the top-performing content type on all channels. So, if you can capture a conversation with your clients, even better. But people often feel uncomfortable when a camera is pointed at them, so take an “interview” style approach.
Sit off-camera to the side, and let you client talk directly to you. Ask them the questions above, and then ask your client to repeat the question in their answer. Here’s an example:
YOU: What helped you decide to work with me as your real estate agent?
CLIENT: I decided to work with you after I saw your presentation, and then read when your past clients said about you. Nobody else put together a plan like you, and your referrals were awesome.
Even if your client isn’t camera-ready, you can use the testimonial in written form. But if the video is at all engaging, you’ve got great material for your site and social channels!
Choose the Best Bits
Here’s a great problem to have: editing a testimonial that is too long. Because sometimes a client will write you long essay, and while that is wonderful and feels great, it’s hard to turn that into a marketing element that will make a great impression -- quickly.
That means you need to think like an editor, and pull out the quotes that really capture your value. Then you need to think about where those quotes will go. Post testimonials in multiple places. Each place has a different requirement for length.
Blog posts -- include as much as you want. This is more like a full-length case study.
Flyers -- go for the meat. Choose the best blurb and keep it to no more than a sentence.
Web pages -- use it in more than one place. If you highlight testimonials on your homepage, have another page where they’re longer.
Social Profiles -- Relola has a whole section for testimonials, so definitely use that. But your Facebook and LinkedIn profiles could use a testimonial as well! It’s always better to let other people say how great you are, then you do it yourself.
Social media -- keep it short and make it attractive. Which brings us to our next section on great real estate testimonials...
Dress It up and Share It
Don’t just use the text of your testimonial. When you add an element of design, you create what’s called an infographic. And one of the best ways to do that is to use a graphic design site like Canva.
Canva is free, and you can create beautiful testimonial graphics that are perfectly-sized for different social channels. Check out Canva’s quote posters for inspiration.
And last, but not least, ask your clients for permission to use their testimonials. It might be assumed you’d use their feedback for marketing purposes, but nothing sours a relationship faster than your client feeling like you mistreated them or betrayed their trust.
And no matter what your testimonials look like, be sure to keep drafts of them safe. As you change web sites, switch brokerages or move locations, they become even more valuable.
Lauren Walker is the director of content marketing for Relola. She's a 20-year veteran of direct marketing, having worked for brands such as Reader's Digest, IBM and Showtime. She's passionate about branding and a staunch believer in the power of story.