Win the Listing Before You Get to the Presentation

Client testimonials can be the most powerful tool to attract new prospects. Check out these ideas for effectively using testimonials in your marketing materials.

February 15, 2013

These days, there’s so much technology around that it’s easy to get caught up in it, thinking it’s the secret to real estate success. But sometimes it's the absolute basics that can be the most powerful business tools, but they’ve become neglected or overlooked entirely.

How would you like to win the listing before you even get to the presentation?

What a great situation that would be, and it's so simple: A prelisting kit and four to eight photo testimonials with a contact phone number (and that's really important) can do the job for you.

In my training seminars for real estate professionals worldwide, the responses amaze me time after time when I ask these questions:

“Do you or your office have any satisfied customers?” This answer (hopefully) is always a yes. But when I ask, "Do you have testimonials from them?" you would expect everyone to say yes – but sadly, for many, the answer is no.

Then, for those who have testimonials, when I ask if they have the sellers' photographs to go with the testimonials, almost always, the answer is no.

This is really scary because these real estate salespeople are making life difficult for themselves when in fact, it can be so easy.

There's lots of talk around regarding video testimonials – in fact, I have two amazing ones on my own Web site home page right now, but I think it took around eight months to finally get them together.

Video testimonials are great but they don't always happen when you want them. But four to eight well-designed photo testimonials can do the job.

You see, when the sellers go through the prelisting kit and see photo testimonials, they might know one or more of the people whose testimonials they see. Or at least they’ll be able to relate with those people who are from the same area or market. When this happens, they are reassured and often the job of gaining them your clients is already done.

This is where the contact phone number is also vital – because you know that if they do phone, then the job is definitely done. And for those who don't bother to phone, the combination of the photo and a number says the testimonials are real.

And the beauty of this is that it can be turned into a campaign, further extending the idea of winning listings before presentations.

Now let's have a look at flyers. You know, the ones that real estate agents stuff into mailboxes saying who they are and how good they are? Perhaps they mention what they’ve sold or they’re offering free market appraisals. Everyone is doing the same thing – and those flyers mostly end up tossed into the junk mail pile and ultimately into the trash or recycling.

A well-designed flyer with a photo testimonial is 10 times more powerful. For example, imagine a flyer with Fred and Sue Smith talking about how good the agent was who sold their home and recommending them, with the contact phone number. These flyers can then be rotated with different testimonials each time, creating a reassuring pattern for potential sellers. (Every so often, the individual testimonial flyer can be replaced with a flyer with multiple testimonials.)

This tactic can also be a great revolving window campaign for those who have window displays. And, of course, it works well for Web sites ( is a great example), social media, and e-mails, too.

For new salespeople who say, "I haven't sold anything yet, so I don't have any testimonials," there’s an easy solution: Each time a testimonial is obtained within your office from a happy seller, the practice should be that two testimonials are created – one talking about the agent specifically and one talking about the office. The new salespeople can use the office testimonials.

So, by all means, check out all the latest technology and see what you can use in your business. But remember, the basics, like these photo testimonials, can be powerful, powerful stuff.

I hope to see a lot more photo testimonials out there! If you would like to contact me, you can reach me through my Web site,, or e-mail me at Good luck!

Ian Grace

Australian-born Ian Grace, one of the world’s leading authorities on real estate advertising, is the director of IGM Global and head of Ian Grace Business Training. For 16 years, he worked in and researched advertising and customer service in England, South Africa, and the United States.