There is an old marketing saying that says:
“Don’t tell people how good you are. Get happy clients to tell people how good you are”.
References from happy clients improve the success rate of your advertising.
No doubt you know this. So how many references (testimonials) did YOU get last month? Would I be right in saying that you obtained very few?
Salespeople forget to ask for references. I don’t know whether it’s lack of foresight or just plain forgetfulness, but no matter the reason, failure to ask for a reference costs you, and your agency, serious money.
Think about it: you have just sold a property. The hard work has all been done. You have built trust with your clients; you have listed their property and found a buyer; you have successfully negotiated the sale and followed it through to the point where it is now unconditional. The clients are delighted. All you have to do now is ask for a reference and you have a happy client convincing other clients to use your services. This is very effective advertising. And it’s free.
Asking for a reference is easy.
“Have you been happy with everything I have done for you?” After they say, “yes” you say, “You’d be happy to give me a written reference, wouldn’t you?”
If you don’t want a bland reference, you need to make sure your sellers mention that they were happy with the price. “Oh, by the way, Mr and Mrs Seller, if I managed to get you more money than you were willing to accept, I’d really appreciate it if you would mention that in your reference. Thanks“.
Once reminded that you got them more than they were willing to accept, they will remember to put that sentence in their written reference. But don’t stop there.
Next, you must set a deadline for you to collect the reference. “Is it OK if I come back this afternoon to collect the reference, say after dinner at 7pm, or perhaps you could write one now while I wait? It won’t take long.” People procrastinate. If your clients are happy to write a reference, ask them to do it now.
But if you want to be the best, go one step further. Get a recorded reference.
I got this idea from Tom Hopkins over twenty-five years ago and I’ve never missed a listing where I used the recorded reference with a seller. Recorded references work!
Conduct an interview with your happy sellers. Using the voice record feature on your mobile phone, ask your sellers five simple questions:
- How did you find our agency?
- Why did you choose us?
- Did I keep the promises I made?
- Were you happy with the price?
- What would you say to people who were thinking of using me to sell their property?
The whole process takes a few minutes. Getting a recorded reference is much easier than getting a written reference.
Use this reference properly. Take the recording off your phone and burn it onto a CD. When you are at a listing and the client asks you a question such as, “What is your service like?” say, “Every agent will say their service is great, but how do you know who is the best? I wish I had a client in my pocket to talk to you. Ah, I have the next best thing. Where is your CD player? Would you play this for me, please?”.
You want the sellers to take the CD and put it into THEIR CD player. This is much more effective than playing it from your phone. After the sellers have listened to the recording they will hand the CD back to you. As you take it from them say, “These people were impressed, weren’t they? When I have sold your house, will you give me a recorded reference too?”. This is an Assumptive Close, and it means that you can go ahead and sign up the listing.
Think about this. If you could take a happy client with you to a listing presentation, would your chances of getting the listing improve? If you could get every seller who was thinking of listing with another agent to speak with your happy clients, would you get more listings? Would you get more listings if you had a happy client in your pocket and could bring that client out to speak on your behalf whenever you pleased?
The recorded voice of a happy client achieves the same result. Why wouldn’t every salesperson carry at least two or three?
Brian Tracy says that the two best client attractors of all are guarantees and testimonials. Happy clients are happy to give you references… if you remember to ask.