Whenever possible, a business or an individual in business seeks to set the product or service she or he provides above similar items within the same industry. The most common way to do so is through marketing, and when it comes to marketing nothing hits across industries in the same way as the testimonial can.
Testimonials have been in use since at least the 19th century in a formal way that was recognized as marketing; in fact, testimonials have probably been in use for much longer although more in a way that was considered a referral. Let's take a look at what exactly a testimonial is, and why it can work across a wide range of businesses for a wide variety of professionals including real estate agents.
What is a testimonial?
A testimonial is a written or oral statement by a real person that describes their use of a certain product or service and the result of that use. Testimonials can be used both in positive advertising, which seeks to attract buyers to a certain business, or in negative advertising, which seeks to turn business away from the competition. Here are some examples.
A positive testimonial - I was recently promoted to a position in another city, which meant that I had to move my family. This meant not only selling my home in our old town, but also locating the right home for us in the town we were moving to. I just didn't have a lot of time to short list and shop around myself, and I worried about whether or not we would find a realtor who could get us a fair deal. I found Ernie Happy through a television advertisement, and he told me he could get our house sold within two weeks. At first I was skeptical, but he came through. Not only did he get the price we asked for our house, but also he was able to connect us with a friend who located the perfect house in our new town. Thanks Ernie! -Dr. Saveet Mangat of Pinegrove Dental
The goal of this testimonial is to attract attention to people wishing to sell their houses to the realtor, Ernie Happy. The testimonial is written in a straightforward manner and tells a story that everyone can relate to. Although the services of the realtor are central to the snippet, they seem to be peripheral to the move. That's the best way to approach a testimonial, as people do not feel they are being advertised to but rather just having a discussion. The idea, of course, is to demonstrate that if Mr. Happy can help this person, he will bring the same level of service to other clients.
Parts of the testimonial
We have already gone over how a testimonial works, but let's quickly look at what makes it work, whether it's for a cottage or condo apartment for sale.
The use of conversational English. - This allows the person reading the testimonial to feel as though they are speaking face to face. It is much more effective than a print ad put out by the realtor himself talking about his great services. It will serve to legitimize this claim.
A story. - Everyone has a story, and including one in the testimonial will help a potential client to relate to the situation.
Mention of the realtor. - Remember, the whole point of the testimonial is to advertise the services provided by the realtor, so it needs to mention the person by name!
The name of the testifier. The more legitimacy that can be included in a testimonial, the better. A real name at the end serves to lend a sense of legitimacy. Many testimonials also use picture to help validate the statement; they also help the potential client identify with the person doing the talking and if they can trust the review.
And that is the key to the testimonial: it helps potential clients feel a little bit more connected to the business or individual in question. Anyone can claim to do a great job as far as his or her company is concerned, but the testimonial helps to ground the claim in truth.
Testimonials have always been a reliable marketing technique, because they take the burden of proof off of the provider somewhat. No longer do potential clients have to rely solely on the word of the advertised business or individual alone; instead, they have documented evidence from another person that their experience with the business was a good one. This helps the reader or listener to be more confident in making the decision to use that business themselves.