"I Endorse My Real Estate Agent Because . . ."
by: Walter Sanford
As you know, third party endorsements really can be a valuable tool to help you build credibility and value in a competitive real estate market place. Remember, you have to have lead-generation tools in place, implement them, prepare a CMA, make a presentation and, with all that, if you don't get the listing you can lose thousands of dollars.
Testimonials are someone else saying you are good at what you do. This becomes the truth. Having endorsements in writing makes this tool even more valuable and, when presented in the pre-listing confirmation package, it provides the necessary impetus to push you over the top.
If you serve your customers well, a few will send you letters every now and then, but you can be pro-active in your sales efforts by learning to ask for letters by saying, "Would you be willing to find a couple of minutes to put what you just said to me in writing and send it to me on your letterhead?"
Seldom, will anyone refuse to write such a letter. However, getting them to follow through on that agreement is another issue. If you just leave it at that simple request you get a small percent of the letters promised. People don't mean to break their word, they are just busy. So to keep the process going, send them a note thanking them for their kind words and thanking them "in advance" for the letter they will be sending. This is a subtle reminder to keep their word.
If you haven't received the letter within a month or so, and the person is an important influence, call him or her on the phone. The client often brings up the letter first and apologizes for not getting it out to you yet.
Say, "That's OK. I know you are really busy. Here's an idea. Would it be helpful if I put a few thoughts on paper for you? You can edit or rewrite all you like and then send it to me on your letterhead, OK?
People usually agree to this. I have collected dozens of letters this way. You may feel this is a very gutsy question to ask, and perhaps it is, but seldom does anyone refuse.
The letters customers write themselves are usually better than yours, so resort to helping them only when it's a letter you really want and they are dragging their feet. Remember, always work off a closing checklist. Mine requires that I receive a testimonial letter before I can put the file away. Let me say that again: You cannot take the file off your desk until you receive a testimonial letter! There are a few things I like to include in a testimonial letter and these are some of the most important points. You might want to even give your seller a primer on how to write a testimonial letter. This really may be going the extra mile. It always worked for me. Here is mine:
Dear Mr./Mrs. Johnson,
Thank you once again for putting your thoughts in writing about our business relationship. In the past, some of the best testimonial letters I have received include some of the following points. One of the greatest favors you could do for me would include some of these points.
Please remember, the most difficult task I have in this business is replacing clients such as yourself.
#1. Please outline the nature of the challenge or problem you had prior to your meeting me.
#2. How professional and effective were my presentations of options?
#3. Could you discuss your satisfaction with me and my team?
#4. How easy and pleasant is it for you to work with me and my team members?
#5. Do you have any present plans for further or ongoing use of my realty services?
#6. Could you please explain either the high value, appropriateness or importance of any insights I might have brought to light at our first meeting?
Thank you so much for your help. I can't tell you what your endorsement will do for my business?
Walter Sanford is a top producing real estate agent and speaker who travels the country delivering systems and strategies to top producers for higher productivity and client satisfaction.
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