Don’t Beg For Great Testimonials

Building your credibility in the real estate world is easy – as long as you have some strong testimonials to help. Because word of mouth is such a strong influencer in the marketing world, testimonials are as good as gold. People tend to ask their friends and neighbors for advice before beginning a search for a professional to work with.  Depending on your communication style, some of your past clients may send an email or letter full of praise without even being asked, and others need reminders or a little encouragement. It doesn’t have to be awkward – here are some tips on seeking out testimonials without the discomfort!

What To Do
  1. End your client experience with a survey. You can make one on your own or use a third-party service like Google Forms or Survey Monkey to facilitate your request. This puts the emphasis on the whole experience rather than solely on your skills and personality, but still achieves your goal. When users can send in a testimonials as a quick answer on a survey, it makes their job easier.
  2. Use what they’ve already said. In your time working together, chances are good for finding a line or two in your email correspondence or text messages that would be perfect to feature as a testimonial. But make sure you reach out and request your client’s permission to use their words. Text messages and emails are considered private, so you want to make sure you’re not offending past clients by using their words out of context or without their knowledge.
  3. Ask with a compliment. When reaching out for a testimonial, let the client know what led you to them. Try “I wish all my clients were as great to work with as you have been – would you consider writing a testimonial on our experience together?” or “Your opinion means the world to me. Can I send you a form to fill out for my testimonials page?” The emphasis here is on your own pleasurable experience as well as seeking out some kind client words. Also – most people love reciprocity and will respond to compliments with some of their own.

Of course, it’s important to respect your client’s time and schedule when you approach them with a request. At all costs, avoid:

What Not To Do
  1. Last minute requests and too many reminders. Asking for help at the last minute disregards their own needs and priorities. And it’s important to keep in mind that most people these days are busier than they care to be (especially so if they’ve recently moved and have to deal with unpacking, changing schools, etc.) Respect their time.
  2. Making them commit on the spot. Ask casually or via email to avoid discomfort in case your perception of the transaction doesn’t match your client’s. Give them time and space to consider your request.
  3. Waiting until you need a testimonial. Ask at the end of a transaction, when your client’s experience is freshest in their mind rather than waiting for the next time you freshen up your website or social media.
  4. Writing a statement for your client. If they don’t have time to write a testimonial, they simply don’t have time. Don’t put words in their mouth or add the pressure of speaking on their behalf.

Most importantly, don’t miss out on the benefits provided by testimonials because you’re afraid it will be awkward or uncomfortable. Use the above methods and your experience should be pain free!

Build Your Business This August

With Independence Day behind us and the start of school just a few weeks away, it’s time to plan your next move. What can you do this month to strengthen your future business?

Upcoming Holidays

Looking ahead to September, there are several ways you can reach out to former and prospective clients. Send out tips for Labor Day travelers (September 2) with ideas on keeping their home safe when they’re out of town, or nearby cities they can visit over a long weekend. There are other fun holidays next month that you can take advantage of with pop bys or special notes. Consider Grandparents’ Day (September 8) or National Good Neighbor Day (September 28). See more at www.NationalDayCalendar.com

Life Changes

With kids heading back to school or off to college next month, families are going through a transitional period. Use this as an opportunity to pass along information on social media, emails, and newsletters about transitioning. Focus on tips about organization, home office space, keeping school mess at bay, etc.

School Connections

Show your local school spirit by sponsoring a sports’ team or a PTA night. These are great opportunities to post to social media as well. Take a selfie at a game or festival and let your followers know you’re active and supportive of your neighborhood schools.

Embrace The Slump

If September starts to slow down, look at it as a blessing and not a curse. Slow business means you’ve got more time to pour into your marketing plans. Don’t lose the chance to get some serious work done, so that once the back-to-school season has calmed down, your network knows who to call!

These 3 People Can Help You Grow!

Most of us can agree that one of the biggest ways to attract business success is making friends with the right people. Whether you’re a master networker or a wallflower at parties, reaching out to the following community partners will help drive your business forward.

The Neighborhood PTA Mom

Where can you find all of your neighborhood’s adults gathered in one place? PTA Night! What better way to connect and foster new relationships than aligning your business with the families and areas you’re hoping to serve? Aside from sponsoring a PTA night, you may want to look out for opportunities to support school sports teams, theater and music events, and more. Your sponsorship lets potential clients know that you’re invested in the neighborhood.

The Local Librarian

Libraries are wonderful resources. Many libraries have space and time for scheduled community events, like a free home buying seminar. Get in touch with your closest library to see if there are rooms available for rent (many will allow you to host an event at a minimal cost, but require that the event be free to the public.) Marketed well, you could become the go-to agent for first time homeowners, property investors, home staging – whatever your strengths may be. When those attendees are ready to buy or sell, you’ll be first on their list.

The Small Business Owner

The possibilities with small business owners are endless. From restaurants to boutiques, entrepreneurs are typically ready and willing to connect to spread the word about their products or services. Connect with a home cleaning service to suggest a steady flow of business (from the buyers and sellers you’ll refer) in return for discounts for your clients. Reach out to your favorite pizza place about advertising on their tables, and order a pizza for your new homeowners on their first night in the new house. Whether you enter into a financial partnership, by way of advertising with your small business owner friends, or strike up a mutually beneficial arrangement, by making friends with a local entrepreneur, you’re placing yourself one step closer to those personal referrals. On top of that, you’re showing off your local expertise.

12 Brand Archetypes: Which One Are You?

Do you know your Brand Personality?

Brand Personality describes human characteristics that can be associated with your brand. These traits are things your customers can relate to. Just as our friends are a reflection on each one of us, so are the businesses and services we choose to patronize. A successful brand personality is one with which others are proud to be associated. Each brand has a personality, regardless of whether or not you’ve given it serious thought. As long as you have one, you may as well give it a deliberate look.

Brand Archetpyes

One way to find your brand personality is to consider traditional character archetypes. There are 12 archetypes, or models of behavior, throughout storytelling, and these same archetypes can be applied to brands. The question here is, “What role does your brand play in the lives of your customers?”

The 12 archetypes of branding are:

  • The Traditionalist: Sometimes known as “The Innocent”, Traditionalist brands offer their customers a pure and simple way of life. Marketing campaigns are just as simple as the brand promise. Companies offer transparency and moderate pricing.
    • The Promise: To make life happier, simpler, and better.
    • Traits: Optimism, goodwill, and loyalty
    • Examples: Folger’s, Dove Soap, Real Simple Magazine, Coca Cola
  • The Hero: Hero brands promise to save the day, improve the world, and inspire others to follow their example.
    • The Promise: To make a positive mark on the world and solve problems, or help others to do so.
    • Traits: Courageous, bold, confident, inspirational
    • Examples: Duracell, Tom’s, PETA
  • The Everyman: These brands find common ground with the consumer, tapping into our need for belonging and cultivate real relationships.
    • The Promise: To help others find a place to belong.
    • Connections, functionality,
    • Traits: Supportive, down-to-earth,
    • Examples: Home Depot, Papa John’s, IKEA
  • The Nurturer: Nurturing brands focus on helping people take care of each other and themselves. They offer protection, safety, and support.
    • The Promise: To care for and protect others
    • Traits: Maternal, selfless, generous
    • Examples: Campbell’s Soup, Johnson and Johnson, Hallmark Cards
  • The Creator: These brands want to create something meaningful and lasting. Their ads are experimental, pushing boundaries and shunning mediocrity.
    • The Promise: To unlock your creativity and promote self-expression
    • Traits: Imaginative, inventive, entrepreneurial
    • Examples: Lego, Canon, Crayola
  • The Explorer: Rugged and ambitious, Explorer brands want to help you make new discoveries and experience your best life. Products are new, exciting, and often non-conformist.
    • The Promise: To bring freedom and adventure into your life
    • Traits: Authentic, exciting, adventurous, and independent
    • Examples: Indiana Jones, Go Pro, REI
  • The Lover: We all want a little romance in our lives. Lover brands promise intimacy and affection by improving the customer in some way.
    • The Promise: You will be more physically or emotionally attractive or desirable through use of their products
    • Traits: Passionate, sensual, romantic, and idealistic
    • Examples: Victoria’s Secret, Godiva Chocolates, Cosmopolitan Magazine
  • The Visionary: Visionary brands seek to change lives (and the world) with their unique, cutting-edge, and proprietary products or services.
    • The Promise: To make dreams come true.
    • Traits: Imaginative, charismatic, and idealistic
    • Examples: Disney, Apple
  • The King: These brands are usually in the luxury market – companies usually appeal to dominant and authoritative customers who want only “the best.”
    • The Promise: Power and control
    • Traits: Authority, organization, focus, integrity
    • Examples: Mercedes-Benz, Rolex
  • The Entertainer: The name says it all. You only live once and these companies want to help you enjoy every minute.
    • The Promise: To bring joy, to help people have a good time
    • Traits: Irreverence, humor, adventure
    • Examples: The Muppets, Ben & Jerry’s, Skittles, Old Spice
  • The Sage: The Sage, or Expert, appreciates truth and wisdom. Knowledge and growth go hand in hand and these brands love to pass their information on to others.
    • The Promise: To keep you informed
    • Traits: Knowledgeable, analytical, measured
    • Examples: CNN, NPR, Google

So where do you fit? When you see or hear an ad or product, see if you can figure out their archetype. Study examples of brands that fit well into archetypes. Ask yourself:

Which brands and archetypes do you identify with most?

When you think of your customers, how do you want them to think and feel about your company? Which archetype fits your expectations?

What changes can you make to further develop your brand archetype?

Build Your Business In July

With Independence Day behind us and the start of school just a few weeks away, it’s time to plan your next move. What can you do this month to strengthen your future business?

Celebrate With Some Late Summer Holidays

Holidays can be the perfect excuse to connect with current and potential clients, and August is full of them – if you know which ones to look for. There may not be any big, widely recognized holidays in August, but there are a few good once that make connecting a breeze. Look ahead to Friendship Day (July 30) to be your perfect icebreaker. And who wouldn’t love to receive chocolate chip cookie mix in a jar as a pop by on National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day on August 4. Other fun holidays include National Garage Sale Day (August 10), National Relaxation Day (August 15), and National Dog Day (August 26). See more at www.NationalDayCalendar.com

Back To School

August means kids are heading back to school, and unfortunately, some are heading back with a lot less than others. A great way to give back and encourage others to do so is by holding a back to school supply drive. You may want to collect traditional school supplies, or think outside the box and collect money for school lunches, or ask for donations of new shoes. Add your office as a drop off point and you’ll be able to connect to new friends as well.

Block Party!

If your neighborhood doesn’t already have an annual block party, it might be time for you to get the ball rolling. There are some great ideas here to get you started. Use the opportunity to help your neighbors get to know you and each other. You’ll love being seen as a connecting point for others.

Social Media Challenge: Neighborhood Know-how

Part of selling yourself as an agent is selling your expertise about the areas you live and work in. This month, use social media to highlight your favorite parts of town, from restaurants to museums to family spots to free activities. You want your audience to know that you are the best source for information! And when they’re ready to buy or sell, they’ll certainly want an area expert like yourself to guide them through the process.

Safety First on the 4th of July!

Gearing up for a fun Fourth of July? While fireworks are exciting, be sure to keep your home and family safe with the following tips:

Check Your Coverage!

Basic home insurance covers fire, but if the fire starts as a result of fireworks set off by your family, you may not be covered if fireworks are illegal in your area. Check your coverage – and your city laws. 

Firework Safety

  • Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  • Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  • Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.

Courtesy for Veterans

While Independence Day is a fun time for many of us, there are members of our community who have difficulty this time of year, specifically Veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which can be triggered by the sound of fireworks exploding. Through an initiative by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, signs may appear on lawns in your neighborhood asking “Please be courteous with fireworks”. These signs indicate that the household includes a Veteran with PTSD – be on the lookout and keep our soldiers in mind as you celebrate. Advanced warning can help a great deal, so consider informing your neighbors if you’ll be setting off fireworks.

Pets

Animals handle loud noises differently, and to some of our furry friends, the Fourth of July can be terrifying! Leave your pets at home if you’re attending a party, and leave them inside if you’re celebrating at home. Make sure pets have proper identification in case they run, and never use fireworks around your pets.


SOURCES:

http://www.netquote.com/home-insurance/fourth-of-july-firework-safety
http://www.petmd.com/dog/seasonal/evr_multi_top_ten_fourth_of_july_pet_safety_tips
http://www.redcross.org/news/article/Top-4th-of-July-Safety-Steps-for-Travel-Grilling-and-Fireworks
http://time.com/3945001/fireworks-ptsd/