I read in a recent real estate news publication that the NSW Minister for Fair Trading, Anthony Roberts, warned real estate agents to be sure they can prove that the glowing testimonials and endorsements on their websites are from genuine customers. He warned of fines to a maximum of $16,500 for corporations and $3,500 for individuals.
Mr Roberts said that such endorsements are a crucial sales tool, and in this he is correct.
Brian Tracy says that the two most powerful client persuaders are guarantees and testimonials; there can be no doubt that potential clients are more likely to believe what your clients say about you than they are to believe what you say about you.
But how hard is it to get a decent testimonial without faking them? I don’t think it’s that hard at all. Faking happiness is the low road.
Sure, you need a happy client, and preferably a lot more than one, but even the worst agent manages to make a few clients happy.
We believe that a constant flow of recent references from happy clients is so important that we’ve made it a monthly target for salespeople. We use these references in our marketing and have no fear of them being checked for authenticity.
But the secret is to get them. In spite of setting monthly targets for references, the leaders we work with say it is not easy, happy clients or not.
Our leaders say:
- They have to nag salespeople to get them to ASK for references.
- They have to nag salespeople to FOLLOW UP until they get their references.
So why do well-trained salespeople with happy clients need to be nagged to get references?
I believe it can be only one of three reasons:
- Laziness. I don’t buy this. Lazy salespeople should be fired. They take up space and set a bad example for others on the team. Laziness is often fear in disguise.
- Fear. This is more common. Salespeople claim to be lazy or busy, but most often they are scared to ask questions they fear will bring forth rejection. But being scared to ask for a reference is downright negligence.YOU HAVE A HAPPY CLIENT. OF COURSE THEY WILL BE HAPPY TO GIVE YOU A REFERENCE… IF YOU ASK.
- Not understanding how important references are. This is a big one. If salespeople really believed that references from happy clients were such a crucial tool for convincing new clients to list with them, they would get more references. It’s a matter of understanding the massive advantage of having happy clients speak for you, and then moving references up your list of priorities.
Think about this. A client asks you this question: “What’s your service like?” How do you respond?
Typically salespeople say something like, “Excellent”. Just like every other salesperson. They all say that whether it’s true or not. So how can sellers believe the answer? Most don’t.
But suppose you said this: “Every salesperson will answer that question by saying how good they are. But how do you know which one to believe? How about I let my clients answer that for you?”
Then show a video clip on your tablet, a video that shows a happy client talking about how pleased he or she was with your service.
Which scenario would give you the highest chance of getting the listing? The one with the video reference, or the shallow ‘Excellent’ claim?
If you have a happy client ask them to write you a letter. Wait while they do it. Handwritten is better because it looks as though the client went to some trouble.
These days, when you carry a Smart Phone you are carrying a video camera and a voice recorder. USE THEM.
Video your clients standing in front of the ‘sold’ sign speaking about how wonderful you are. Do a sound recording too so that you can use this for people who have an aural learning style.
Get written, video, and recorded testimonials from genuine and happy clients. Use those references at every opportunity to win more business.