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By Craig Proctor

RISMEDIA, Oct. 15, 2008-Testimonials are an extremely important part of your business-too important to leave to chance. The power of third party endorsement is well-documented: people will believe what someone else says about you long before they’ll believe what you say about yourself. You should be using testimonials in your listing presentation, in your advertising, on your website, etc. Your goal should be to have boxfuls of testimonials, because the leverage they will provide you in discussions with your prospects is powerful.

When I say that this important tool is too valuable to leave to chance, I mean what I say. You should, in fact, have a written policy in your office which ensures that every happy client is approached to give you a testimonial. Remember this very important point: “No one has anything more important to tell you about how you’re doing than your clients.”

You’ve all heard the saying “the customer is always right.” Make it a point to find out what your customers are thinking by administering a client survey to all your clients upon completion of their transaction. (You might send this along with a coupon for dinner at a local restaurant to thank them for taking the time to complete the survey.) What they answer is very important. Their answers are like a report card on your business.

This survey should ask them very specific questions about the experience they had working with you, the degree to which they are satisfied with the results you achieved for them, etc.

Now you or your assistant should review each of these surveys and select the clients you know will say the best things about you. Call up these clients and ask if they would be willing to give you a testimonial, given that they were so happy with your service. What you’ll find is that people are only too happy to give a great testimonial. They may not have thought to do this on their own, but when you explain to them how important testimonials are to your business, most clients will be very happy to help you, especially since you have just helped them. While some clients will take the initiative to write their own letter after your request, you can make it even easier to get the right testimonial by offering to draft a letter for your client’s approval based on their returned survey and on the conversation you’ve had with them.

By following this system, you eliminate “chance” from the equation. You are not only guaranteed to get a testimonial, you’re also guaranteed that the testimonial will be drafted correctly – i.e. with lots of specifics and lots of motivating prospect benefits. After all, testimonials are part of your marketing. Like all good marketing, they must be benefit focused.

Your Testimonials Must Be Highly Specific and Hard-hitting

A very important point you must keep in mind is that a weak, non-specific testimonial is the same as no testimonial at all. A testimonial that says: “Thanks Joe. You were really nice to us throughout the process. Thanks for doing such a great job!” is, quite frankly, not worth the paper it’s printed on. See instead the highly specific and hard hitting testimonial sample following from Mr. & Mrs. Smith:

“We originally interviewed another real estate agent who recommended that we list our home at $239,900. We decided to get a second opinion from Joe Black who, after viewing our home, felt it should be listed at $10,000 more.

“We were very impressed with Joe’s marketing program, and obviously hoped his evaluation was correct, so we listed with Joe Black at $249,900.

“I am delighted to say that, within 30 days, our home sold for $253,000 with just one offer – a full $13,100.00 more than the other real estate agent recommended.

“It pays to deal with the best, and we are very happy we did. We would highly recommend Joe Black to anyone wanting to sell their home.” — Mr. & Mrs. Smith, 123 Main Street, Anytown, Anystate

“P.S. Even though Joe Black sells a lot of houses, he always gave us great personal service, and kept in touch with us on a regular basis.”

Testimonials Are Too Important to Leave to Chance

You should have a system in place which automatically generates at least one great testimonial for your business every month (or more). These testimonials should be strong and specific, and when you use them, they will issue a powerful message from the mouths of people who have extremely high credibility with your prospects: i.e. other home buyers and sellers just like them; the people down the street or from the next neighborhood; average people who have just gone through a process your prospects are about to embark on.

“We are all reluctant to pat ourselves on the back and list our accomplishments — all the fabulous deals we have put together, and the accolades achieved. But when someone else offers an endorsement of our outstanding performance in selling a home in record time, getting more than asking price, holding a fragile closing together or even buying their home, miles of leverage is achieved in those few words. And you can increase the strength of these words even more simply by attaching a photo of the happy clients in front of your “sold” sign. Remember: what other people say about you is real, it’s honest and it’s trustworthy.

“A third party endorsement will increase your sales figures more than any other advertising, sales letter or website can come close to. The testimonial stands out when you need to be different and provides you with a unique marketing advantage that will overwhelming distinguish you from your competition. And who is the prospect going to trust and believe first? You, the salesperson, or a genuinely thrilled client?” – Lynn Horner-Baker, Marietta, GA

To find out more about how to solicit great testimonials for your business, you can visit where you can learn about my 3-day SuperConference where I train agents on simple but effective marketing systems that work in every market.

Billion Dollar AgentTM Craig Proctor has been in the top 10 for RE/MAX Worldwide for 15 years. To receive free training from Craig with no obligation, visit: