Client testimonials are extremely important for generating business today. They provide the social proof of your work ethic and personality, and they have the capacity to make complete strangers feel a connection with you that might spur them on to become your clients.
Here are 5 tips to get great recommendations from your past clients and others in your social sphere:
1. Ask, then Ask Again
Be prepared to ask for a recommendation several times, and make that a part of your plan. People moving into our out of a home are busy people and you’ve got to prompt them in person and follow up.
Ginger Wilcox, Trulia’s Head of Industry Training recommends agents ask for a recommendation at the beginning of their business relationship. By asking, “If I do a stellar job, will you recommend me?’ in advance, your clients will almost always agree if you have done a great job.
Make sure to ask in person again when the transaction is complete and you’re about to part ways. Then, after you’ve given them a bit of time to adjust to their new home or circumstances, send them an email with specific prompts to make the feedback process easy (more on that below). If you don’t receive a response, use the opportunity to give your clients a call to catch up and find out if they received your email. Even if they say yes, send it again after your call as an extra reminder.
2. Make it Easy
Give your clients a framework for their recommendation. Questions are great for jump starting the thought-process, but don’t serve clients with a lengthy survey or questionnaire. Provide a few prompts and be clear that you’re not looking for a novel- five to seven sentences is sufficient.
And while note cards are nice, don’t ask for anything handwritten. Email is the easiest way to go. You can take advantage of this by requesting recommendations from your Trulia account. Recommendations you receive via Trulia are automatically posted to your Trulia profile and to Facebook, and require no additional work after the fact.
3. Keep it Real
This should be a no-brainer, but it’s still worth mentioning: make sure that your recommendations represent your relationship correctly. It’s ok to get praise from friends to supplement your client feedback – after all, no one is objective, and friends can shed a helpful light on your personality traits – but make sure that recommendations from friends don’t appear as pseudo-client testimonials. Appearing as though you’re trying to pull the wool over someone’s eyes is the wrong first impression and must be avoided at all costs.
4. Encourage Specifics
A few simple yet specific questions can make the process effortless for clients and make sure you get the feedback you’re looking for. Be sure to tailor your questions to suit your particular relationship and transaction, and don’t be too humble or wary of asking about situations where you know you hit a home-run. The following are some good examples:
- How did you feel about the selection of homes we toured based on my recommendations?
- How would you describe your ability to reach me and my staff?
- How did you feel when we successfully negotiated a sales price for the home you wanted that was in your budget?
- What do you feel was the best part of our working relationship?
- Would you enlist my services in a future transaction or recommend me to your friends?
5. Give Back
Don’t forget to close the loop once you’ve received the recommendation you were looking for. A heartfelt thank you is mandatory, but it’s better still to go the extra mile and reciprocate by providing your own feedback about your experience. Was your buyer really a dream to work with? Were they patient and reasonable? Did they give you clear expectations about their wants and needs that made your job easier? Let them know what they did to make the experience positive for you. You’ll make them feel even better about the transaction, and, should they enlist your help again with a future purchase or sale, they’ll know what they can do to pull their weight and make the experience easy for all parties.
Click here to find out more about how you can request recommendations on Trulia and how Trulia’s Social Search can improve the reach of your word-of-mouth referrals.