I noticed something when I logged onto Linkedin … a recommendation for a former exec from a peer that didn’t think much of that person. This intrigued me. Why, I thought, would he write a recommendation for her? So, I asked him.
His response: “You never know when she might recommend me and I get a job out of it.” (Note to self, his recommendations are likely without value)
Are Your Recommendations Valuable?
It depends on a few things: Who’s recommending, who’s reading them and the recommendation itself. So, to be appropriate in context of this site, let’s call it client recommendations your potential clients might read, and how they could interpret them.
All puff & love
Let’s face it … we just don’t believe these. Call us jaded or callous, but a big love fest just doesn’t ring true. It’s assumed we only surface positive, glowing recommendations. But, if you have too many of these, can they be real? (Unless, of course, you are an agent in Stepford)
The bad makes the good believable
Let’s look at how we weigh the experiences of others in our decision making. For example, when I look to Yelp for a restaurant review, I sort by negative/low star feedback to make my decision. I’m looking for a deal-breaking scenario. So, if a reviewer felt their food server was snitty, that’s subjective so it doesn’t hold too much weight – unless it’s a common theme. On the other hand, finding a roach in the soup is a deal-breaker.
If your testimonial was for a luxury high-rise condo buyer, and I’m a family sort hunting in the burbs, I may not relate. Likewise, if I’m reading the experience of a Trump-esque buyer of their 3rd mansion, I surely can’t relate! Make sure you have a representative sampling of the types of clients you want to attract, by lifestyle and demographic.
How can you get a variety of relatable, realistic, believable testimonials/recommendations? It’s not ethical or authentic to write them yourself. Plus, who has the time. But, for most of us sitting in front of a blank screen is daunting, so how can we ask clients to endure such a painful process?
Mad Libs, anyone?
I’m outing myself on age here, but when I was young and went to summer or sports camp, we entertained ourselves with Mad Libs. Mad Libs were pre-written paragraphs with _______ areas to fill in a verb, noun, adjective, etc. Of course you wouldn’t be that literal with your clients, but you could offer a few Mad Lib type templates to help make it easier for them to pen a quick recommendation that is more meaningful.
In fact, it could make for a fun page on your web site or blog – a fill in the blanks page.
Fill in the blanks
When asking a client for a letter of recommendation, you may consider asking them to choose 3 from among several “fill in the blank” questions with to complete. This way you can offer succinct quotes in your marketing materials rather than a long letter.
Here’s a few:
1. The most painful part of the process of selling/buying my home was _________________
2. I (we) am (are) selling/buying because ________________
3. The one thing (your name) said to me that came as a surprise was ________________
4. If I had to choose just one adjective to describe (your name) it would be _____________
5. This is the first time I (we) ever ______________________
5. This is the last time I (we) will ever ___________________
What I’d believe …
“Right out of the gate, everything Ken Brand said made us angry! First, he said we needed to be more realistic in our price, and to reduce by $17k. Then, he informed us most people wouldn’t be interested in my wife’s collection of 189 Lladro Figurines and said de-cluttering and staging our home was a must. Finally, he had the nerve to say our four cats and their litter box left a repugnant odor. While I hate to admit being wrong, his straight-forward manner paid off. By following his advice we sold our home more quickly that most in our area, and got our full asking price. We can now comfortably downsize to that condo at the beach and enjoy retirement.”
Those ~120 words pack some punch. I get it’s an empty nest couple, selling, Ken Brand isn’t afraid to be the expert and he gets results beyond other local agents.
photo credit Nocklebeast