Testimonials are important for Realtors. You likely have a list of satisfied clients. Those clients probably say good things about you when they talk about their home buying or selling process. Why not ask them for a testimonial?
I’m sure you know the importance of testimonials for your business. But if you don’t, let me explain how important they are, by using a context that every can appreciate…food.
You’re talking with a colleague, maybe a fellow Realtor, and they tell you about this restaurant that they love and suggest you go there sometime. You have heard of it, but never had any reason to go there. I mean, you have your favorites, so no need to try out a restaurant that you don’t know much about.
However, you generally trust your colleague’s opinion, so you make a mental note to try the restaurant sometime.
What just happened? Your colleague’s testimonial of the restaurant was good enough for you to consider the restaurant you never would have tried otherwise.
Individual Testimonials are Referrals
Testimonials from someone you trust are worth a lot. That is the reason that referrals are so powerful in real estate.
From the Realtor’s perspective, a referral means that you have someone else doing your marketing for you. Treat a client well, and they might send you referrals.
From the perspective of the person being referred, they trust the testimonial of their friend who worked with you and had that great experience.
Referrals are a win-win for the Realtor and the lead.
That win-win is the reason a referral from a past client is a great type of testimonial. Unfortunately, it is not a very reliable marketing strategy. When your past client and that potential lead are talking, you don’t know what is being said in that conversation. You hope your name comes up, but you can’t guarantee it. You know you treated that client well, but you have no control over how they are selling you.
Similar to the restaurant your colleague loves. Just because you are hungry when you are talking with them, doesn’t necessarily mean your colleague will refer you to that restaurant. Or maybe it is an Italian restaurant, and they have the best chicken parmesan. But all your colleague talked about was how fresh their seafood is, so the restaurant doesn’t sound that interesting. And now you’re missing out on some good chicken parm.
What does this mean? Personal referrals are great, but there is so much more marketing to gain from a satisfied past client.
Controlling the Crowdsourced Testimonials
Now let’s change the scenario around a little bit. Assume now that your colleague mentioned that they did actually have the chicken parmesan one night, and it was a good as advertised. Their testimonial is speaking directly to you now. But you’re still not completely sold, so you decide to check out what other people have to say about the restaurant.
Most people have used Yelp to search for reviews of restaurants. Almost as many have used Foursquare. Even Googling the name of the restaurant will bring you to even more reviews.
Those websites are trusted. See an average of 4 or 5 stars, and you can be confident that the restaurant is really high quality. But if you see 3 stars or less, then you are probably going to stay away. Reading some of the actual reviews will give you even more insight into whether you want to give the restaurant a try.
Those reviews are from people who you most likely don’t even know. You are trusting the opinions of strangers. The review websites work, because if a lot of people say the restaurant is good, then there is a good chance that the restaurant is actually pretty good. And if you read a couple of the reviews that mention how good the chicken parmesan is, then you feel confident that you won’t be disappointed when you order it.
How does this work? Crowdsourced testimonials are so successful because they come directly from the patrons of that business, and not from the business itself. Every business says that they are great, but what do their clients have to say? The more reviews, or testimonials, the more the consensus can be trusted.
Testimonials Are Social Proof for Realtors
Many Realtors have a website for their business. Even more have a profile page with their brokerage. And most have a profile page on Zillow, Trulia, or other real estate websites.
Each one of those online locations is where every Realtor should have testimonials from past clients. Testimonials from your past clients are your crowdsourced reviews. They provide social proof that you make your brand promise.
Most Realtors aren’t on Yelp, but getting there eventually is part of a good digital marketing plan.
Reviews on Zillow, Trulia, and Yelp are posted directly by the user. Although you don’t have control over what the client writes in their review, you should have no worries if you serve your clients well.
You do, however, control the reviews on your own website and your profile page on your broker’s website. These reviews are controlled because they are posted on your website and profile page directly by you. That doesn’t mean that you can make up reviews, but it does mean that you can choose which reviews you want people to see.
A good practice for getting reviews, or testimonials, for your website is as simple as asking your clients for one. Tell them that you would like a review to post on your website, and ask if they could provide you with one. Do you want them to discuss a specific part of the transaction, or a special skill or service that you provided that differentiates you? Ask them to write about it.
You are in total control. You can print the entire review, or just pull out the selected lines. Don’t forget to show their name and where the property was located, with their permission, of course. This will give the testimonials more personality and context for the reader.
What should you do? In order to give potential leads confidence in you, you would ideally have testimonials on your websites, your profile page on your brokerage’s website, Zillow and Trulia, and eventually Yelp. Everywhere that someone could find you online would have reviews.
Final Thoughts on Testimonials for Realtors
Remember when your colleague gave you the recommendation of the Italian restaurant in the beginning of this article? Now consider a similar situation when a past client recommends you to their friend who needs a Realtor.
After they are done talking about you, that potential lead will probably Google your name. What website will show up first? Your business website? Your profile page with your brokerage? Or maybe they will go directly to Zillow to search for you there.
Wherever that potential lead lands, there are two options of what they will see. One option is that they see your profile with many reviews, all positive, each telling a different story, and confirming everything they heard from your past client who referred them. The other option is they see a profile with no reviews, no testimonials, and nothing to confirm what they were told about you.
Which option do you want your potential leads to see?
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