As entrepreneurs that happen to be real estate investors, we are constantly looking for ways to grow our business. We spend a lot of time marketing for motivated sellers, adding quality buyers to our buyers’ list, and looking for tenants for our properties. But once we have those people on our list, what do we typically fail to do? Figure out other ways to build our credibility and make money from these contacts.
What can we do with our motivated sellers, our buyers on our buyers’ list and those folks that are already our tenants? One thing we can do is to ask for testimonials!
Why is it so hard to ask for testimonials?
I have asked myself this question so many times. Why is it that I fail to ask folks that have already had a good experience with my business for testimonials? I just don’t know the answer. But I believe that it is just a habit that needs to be established. We just get busy and forget.
Most of us either have a written checklist or a mental checklist we run through before closing a property. We want to be sure everything is in order for a hassle free closing. Adding “ask to testimonial” to the very end of that list is one way we could remember to do it.
You could ask both your motivated seller and the buyer on your buyers’ list for a testimonial the day you close the transaction. This is the perfect time to ask them to tell you in just a few sentences just how seamless you made the whole experience for them, and why they would be happy to work with you again. It’s also the perfect time to tell your motivated seller that you would welcome referrals if they run across someone that has a property to sell and give them another business card. If you are selling to a retail buyer, the process works exactly the same.
What about landlords?
If you have someone that is trying to choose between your property and another one that is similar in just about every way, don’t you think having testimonials from happy tenants would go a long way toward getting them choose your property? I believe that it would. Taking good care of you tenants is just good business, and happy tenants tend to stay in your properties longer. Find a way to “entice” them to tell the world about their happiness by giving you a testimonial.
If you are doing a good job and the folks you do business with are happy at the end of the day, most of them will be more than willing to tell other folks about it. You just need to ask them. If for some reason they didn’t have a good experience, then you have some work to do before your next deal. Finding out what you could have done better is sometimes hard to hear, but is crucial if you want to grow your business.
“Ask and Ye Shall Receive”
Recently I was working with an attorney I’d never done business with before. He was handling an estate that included the property I was buying. This property was owned by an absentee owner that had inherited the property; definitely one of my favorite types of motivated sellers.
We worked through a number of issues and were able to get the closing done quickly and smoothly. He told me several times in his emails, how much he enjoyed working with me, and how easy the whole process had been. I half-jokingly said to him, “That’s great to hear. You know that would make a great testimonial for my website if you feel that is something you would be comfortable doing.” A few days after the closing I received this email:
“It’s been a pleasure to work with such a knowledgeable and pleasant investment buyer. Hands down the easiest estate sale I’ve handled in a very long time.”
Not only did I get a great testimonial just for asking, but I’ve met a very nice man that I hope to work with in the future. If he comes across a property that the estate needs to sell quickly, I want my name to be the first one on the list. And just in case you are wondering, I sent him a thank you note with my business card for taking the time to give that wonderful recommendation.
Photo: Jeremy Daccarett