88% of People Trust Testimonials as Much as Recommendations from Friends and Family

May 18, 2023

88% of People Trust Testimonials as Much as Recommendations from Friends and Family

When you search for 'Why people don't like salespeople' on Google, you get 367 million results in less than 1 second.

Salespeople are often mistrusted and disliked.

However, as we proceed with today's training, we'll discover that this distrust towards salespeople is frequently rooted in the general population's fears and insecurities of making a wrong decision, rather than the salesperson's actions themselves.

Being a skilled salesperson, mastering the art of salesmanship, is something to be extremely proud of. Effective salespeople possess a deep understanding of human emotions, with an innate ability to sense the underlying factors that will either encourage or deter a deal from coming together and closing. This intuition can be developed through various channels: some people are natural-born salespeople, others acquire their skills through years of experience, winning and losing, and learning to recognize subtle cues from clients, while some learn through books and formal education on human emotions and triggers.

According to a Harvard Business Review article that surveyed 1,000 highly successful salespeople, the following traits were dominant in their personalities: modesty, conscientiousness, achievement orientation, and curiosity. These beautiful qualities are admirable and attractive, and you'd enjoy spending time and conversing with a person with those kinds of personality traits.

So why do people still not like salespeople? Why do they not trust them? The answer lies in the fear that buyers feel when making purchasing decisions. The fear of making a wrong decision looms large, creating stress and anxiety. Despite the evolution of abstract and critical thinking, humans still rely heavily on emotions when making decisions. Emotions constitute the foundation on which even rational deliberation is made, and fear is the buyer's first emotion. They feel vulnerable, afraid of making a mistake, being tricked, or pressured. They also fear looking foolish in front of their peers. In the case of our real estate career, this certainly applies to both the seller, who buys our services as a real estate agent, and the literal buyer of the properties we sell.

Understanding this fact was ground-breaking for me in my sales career. I learned this in my early 20s while studying for a diploma in Sales Management & Communications. At that time, I learned that the fear response in the buyer literally shuts down their ability to hear the salesperson. From then on, I spent many years learning how to neutralize that fear, to connect more authentically with the buyer in the sales dynamic, to open the doorway to building a relationship with a foundation of trust, offering a safe space for my client to communicate their needs and to be felt heard, a relationship in which I can continue to support my client with my expertise, resulting in a successful sale where I can grow that client into an advocate for my business…creating a raving fan.

The most effective way I have found to neutralize this fear energy and build a trust connection with my clients automatically is through the use of client testimonials. Testimonials and reviews are crucial for establishing your business's credibility and reliability. When potential clients see that others have had positive experiences with your services, they are more likely to trust and choose you as a provider.

Although the concept of a "safe place" may differ for each individual, testimonials generally convey a consistent message about your business. For example, my testimonials for my real estate business often mention my diligence, honesty, and communication skills. This consistency is a reflection of the genuine and transparent way in which I conduct my business. Genuine testimonials not only demonstrate your expertise but also attract the right kind of clients. They reflect your unique "vibe" and help you build a community of loyal customers. The more testimonials you have, the more evident it is to potential clients that your reputation is established and consistent.

When potential clients read your testimonials and connect with you in a spirit of authenticity and transparency, they are more likely to feel comfortable and receptive to your personality traits. This can lead to better relationships with your clients and ultimately more success for your business.

Why are testimonials and reviews so important? In the simplest terms, it's because other people vouch for you that you are a safe place to do business and can get the job done well. According to Big Commerce, 88% of consumers trust online testimonials and reviews as much as recommendations from friends or family. Demand Gen Report found that 97% of customers consider testimonials and peer recommendations as the most reliable type of content. These statistics highlight the importance of online testimonials and peer recommendations in building trust and credibility with potential clients.

So, how do you get a consistent flow of testimonials into your business? The trick to getting good testimonials is simple - do a good job. Testimonials keep you honest. Communication is key when it comes to earning a testimonial. If you've done a great job and maintained open communication throughout the sale process, you'll be excited to request a testimonial. Testimonials hold you accountable. If you've been negligent in your dealings with a client, you'll have a sinking feeling that they may not provide you with a testimonial or, worse, they'll provide a negative one.

However, it's important to note that testimonials won't just appear out of thin air. You need to ask for them. During a phone call or at one of your final meetings, inform the client that you would like to send them an email inviting them to leave a testimonial once the process is complete. This won't come as a surprise to them because no doubt this client read your many testimonials and reviews before engaging you. Set up a process to automate your testimonial request. For all my Get Listings Bootcamp Members, you will find these templates and processes in the App for your use.

I use a pre-designed HubSpot newsletter template. I send the email template to my client once the job is completed successfully, when the client is the happiest. For example, when the seller has just received notification that the property is sold or when a buyer has just been notified that they now own the property. I have different templates for sellers and buyers. I've set up my HubSpot to send a reminder to the client four days after the initial request and another reminder four days after the second request. Each email includes three buttons for the client to choose from, allowing them to leave a review on the platform they're most comfortable with (Facebook, Ratemyagent, Google).

If you've done a great job, your client will likely leave you a positive testimonial. However, there may be occasions when you've done a fantastic job, and your relationship with the client is excellent, yet after three requests, they still haven't left a review. Don't be afraid to pick up the phone and politely ask if there is anything you could have done better. In most cases, the client is just a bit embarrassed and doesn't know what to write. In this situation, offer to write a couple of short sentences and email them to the client for their approval. Remember to keep it brief and consistent with your other testimonials.

I wanted ownership over my testimonials, which is why I started using HubSpot to request reviews. I wanted to have control over how my clients were asked to leave a review. If I left it up to review collecting sites to request my client reviews from my clients, then that site had authority over the message for review requests, and the branding of the received review, also, it meant the majority of my reviews would on one platform.

Research that your potential client will read at most 6-8 reviews, so rather than having all my reviews on one site, I realized it would be better for my business, if I had six to eight, 5-star reviews on every major site, social media platform, property portal and review site, so wherever the potential client found me online, they also found 5-star reviews. So this was another powerful reason I took control of my review request process using HubSpot's automated email sequence

In conclusion, as a real estate agent, mastering the art of salesmanship is something to be proud of. The distrust towards salespeople is often rooted in the general population's own fears and insecurities of making a wrong decision, rather than the salesperson's actions themselves. By understanding the buyer's fear response and developing a genuine, authentic, and transparent relationship with them, real estate agents can build trust and establish their credibility, leading to successful sales and loyal customers.

Testimonials and peer recommendations are a powerful tool to build trust and credibility with potential clients. By providing a consistent message about your business's genuine and transparent nature, testimonials attract the right kind of clients and help you establish a community of loyal customers. Remember, good testimonials won't just appear out of thin air; you need to ask for them and maintain open communication with your clients throughout the sale process.

As a real estate agent, having ownership over your testimonials and their placement on all relevant sites is crucial. By using pre-designed templates and setting up automated testimonial request processes, real estate agents can easily and efficiently request reviews from clients and have control over how they are asked to leave a review. By implementing these strategies, real estate agents can build a reputation for their expertise, attract more business, and establish themselves as trusted professionals in the community.