If you were to guess where nearly half of all home buyers find their real estate agents, where would you guess? Online advertisements, maybe? Perhaps those fancy billboards you see around town?
Those methods might get some interest, but they don’t convince nearly half of home buyers in America. That’s because according to the National Association of Realtors 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers®, 42 percent of buyers used an agent who was referred to them by a friend, neighbor, or relative.
You read that right: Nearly half of American home buyers are consulting with friends and family to choose the agent they want to work with. Sure, they might see your ad or take your business card at a networking event, but almost half of prospective clients are going to go with whomever it is their buddy or family member suggests.
That’s a lot of business!
Luckily, if you’ve closed deals for a number of clients, you’re probably already getting referrals through word-of-mouth suggestions. But are you maximizing your referral power? What can you do to work that angle even more?
Testimonials are the answer!
A testimonial is similar to a friend telling a friend which agent they recommend. The only difference is, with a testimonial, the person suggesting the agent has likely never met the inquiring potential client before. A great testimonial can transcend that boundary and make a new buyer feel confident the agent they’ve chosen to work with (that’s you!) is the right person for them.
In general, the more testimonials you have, the better…but how do you get them? How do you get busy people to stop what they’re doing and tell a pack of strangers how much they liked working with you?
If you’re struggling to collect testimonials, check out these ideas!
1. Best-Written Testimonial Contest
The simplest way to go about collecting more testimonials is to advertise a contest with a lucrative prize. Yes, you’re going to have to shell out some cash for whatever prize you choose, but it will be money well-spent! A well-executed testimonial contest could earn you that money back many times over.
Try to think of prizes that are universal, i.e., things pretty much anyone would want. This could include electronics (laptops, tablets, cameras, etc.), getaways (spa coupons, travel fare, concert tickets, etc.), or gift cards (fuel, groceries, clothes, etc.).
Once you’ve got your prize, use your social media accounts to promote the contest. Ask anyone who’s previously worked with you to write a paragraph or so about how much they enjoyed working with you and why they would recommend you to others. Run the contest for a month, then pick the best one out of the pack and give them the prize.
Don’t forget to promote the winner on your social media pages!
The beauty of a contest is that pretty much every submission you get will be valuable — after all, everyone’s writing to win. Even if you only get 10 testimonials this way, you can probably use every single one to help solidify your reputation as a valuable agent.
2. Reverse Testimonials
Think about this: what’s the easiest way to get someone to compliment you? Simple: You compliment them first!
“Boy, that’s a terrific outfit you have on today, Claire.”
“Why thank you, Stephanie! You look great today, too!”
You can use this same method to help earn yourself more testimonials. All you need to do is give a testimonial of your own to past clients.
As an example, you could publish a blog entry or social media post about the young couple you helped move into their first home. You could talk about how easy they were to work with, how quick they were to get the necessary things done, and how wonderful they are as people in general.
Chances are, the couple will then turn around and say a bunch of nice things about you.
Once they do, all you need to do is ask them if you can use what they said as a testimonial. They’ve already taken the time to write nice things, so they‘ll most likely agree!
3. Share-a-Selfie Giveaway
Who doesn’t love taking a good selfie? If you visit pretty much any social media profile, you’re going to see at least one or two selfies.
Since people are taking selfies all the time, how hard can it be to get them to take a selfie promoting your brand, especially if there’s some incentive in it for them?
For this giveaway, you should have a fun prize that people want but isn’t so expensive you can’t afford to buy a bunch of them. Gift cards are probably the best choice, as you can get one for $20-$50 a pop and it won’t break the bank. There are also websites where you can buy discounted gift cards.
With your prize selected, jump on your social media profiles and tell all of your past clients that if they take a selfie of themselves, perhaps in front of the home they just bought or sold, and write a little blurb about you in the post, you’ll send them a prize!
The beauty of this method is that there’s no contest: A person posts a selfie, and they get a prize. That makes it an easy sell.
The fact that it’s a selfie giveaway is also great because you not only get a text testimonial, but a photograph that helps viewers feel confident the person who wrote the testimonial is a real client, and not someone you just made up to make yourself look good.
Of course, you don’t want to give away prizes to people who write really brief and/or useless testimonials. Make sure you dictate in the giveaway rules what sort of length/quality of testimonial will qualify for the prize!
4. YouTube Video Testimonial Giveaway
Of all the testimonials you can get, nothing is more powerful than a YouTube video. Not only does this kind of testimonial allow viewers to hear about your skills directly from the client in their own voice, but it also leaves little doubt that this is a real client who really liked working with you.
Because YouTube testimonials are the best, they are also the hardest to get.
The best thing to do is to run a giveaway similar to the previous Share-a-Selfie giveaway, but make the prize a little better. As an example, if you give out a $20 gift card for a shared selfie testimonial, offer a more lucrative gift card for a YouTube testimonial (maybe $50-$100). That might seem like a lot, but a video testimonial will earn you future clients better than nearly anything else.
5. Referral Incentive Giveaway
Like I said at the beginning of the article, a whopping 42 percent of people choose to work with an agent their friends and family previously worked with. But how can you rest assured that the folks you worked with previously are actually suggesting you to others?
Well, the best way to do that is to truly “wow” your clients (of course), but sometimes, they might need a little extra push.
You can promote to your current and past clients that if they refer anyone to you — and that referral leads to a signed contract — you will give them a gift of some kind.
The gift could be an expensive prize (a signed contract would certainly make that a worthwhile investment) or could be something you do for them in kind (refer clients to their own businesses, for example). The point is to make sure the clients know you’ll scratch their backs if they scratch yours.
6. “Welcome Home” Gift Referral Request
Chances are good you already make a habit of giving past buyer clients some sort of “Welcome Home” gift when they officially move into their new home, which you helped them find. If you’re not doing this already, you should be!
When you give that gift, you should include a card that kindly (and not too aggressively) asks new homeowners to leave you a testimonial review on whichever real estate site you prefer.
Don’t offer a prize or an incentive of any kind — just politely ask them if they have the time to leave a review. The “Welcome Home” gift combined with a tasteful card could earn you some great reviews from people who otherwise wouldn’t think to leave one!
7. Randomized Review Giveaway
Speaking of reviews: Don’t forget a great review on a third-party website is just as powerful as a great testimonial on your website. In fact, in a lot of ways, reviews on third-party sites are even more powerful, as people are more likely to randomly stumble upon your review on a general site than on your own website, unless they’re directly looking you up.
To encourage reviews like these, you could promote a giveaway on your social media pages in which you will randomly select a reviewer once a month and give them a small prize of some kind. Do this every month, so you have a never-ending stream of current reviews coming in.
A giveaway like this could convince someone who might be reluctant to leave a review to go ahead and do so, since they might win a cool prize!
Books Lead to Referral Clients
If you’ve exhausted every option on this list and you’re still struggling to get valuable testimonials and referrals, you may want to try a completely different approach.
If you’re a MyBooks member, chances are, you’ve already given your books to former clients. Consider sending past clients a small card with a picture of your book, asking that they pass on the book you gave them to a friend or family member who’s interested in selling their home. Make sure they know they’re welcome to keep the copy you gave them initially
If you’re not yet a MyBooks member, you can also take advantage of this testimonial opportunity. Once you order your books, send a few out to your best former clients, asking them to pass the book on to anyone they know who’s buying or selling. The books give you expert status, and who doesn’t want to work with an expert for something as important as selling their home! Order a free sample of our most popular book below!
Joe Nickelson is a real estate professional dedicated to helping home buyers and sellers achieve their real estate dreams, and helping real estate agents stop using the sometimes-vicious tactics that weigh on their consciences. He believes that the Smart Agents books will, quite literally, change people’s lives for the better. Check out his full bio here!