Testimonials Equals More Profits

We get emails everyday from our mortgage clients asking for additional help on their web sites. These companies want to increase their loan response rates and most are missing a very simple (but very powerful) marketing aspect. It is the one thing that is virtually guaranteed to increase your loan business...testimonials.

To understand why testimonials are so powerful and profitable, we must first look at the basic perceptions of our audience.

TYPICAL ONLINE ATTITUDE

Here's how "Mary Jones" (a typical mortgage customer) might describe her online perceptions:

"In addition to making me an enticing offer, you must prove to me that you are ok to do business with. You must eliminate any fear that I have about doing business with you. Everyday the newspapers are revealing another major breech of ethics by companies. Dishonesty is becoming commonplace. So why, in the face of all this negative experience, should I believe your advertising claims?"

ELIMINATING FEAR

What our fictitious Mary Jones has stated is the normal online conditions in which mortgage companies are operating. It is then easy to understand why customers are tempering their buying decision with caution. They don't want to lose money (and more importantly) they don't want to feel foolish. Eliminating this built-in fear and skepticism is the job that testimonials do best. 

The reason is simple: If you say you are an ethical company, people will ignore your self-serving comments. But when others say you are trusting...it's credible. This goes to the very heart of why testimonials are so powerful...they give a mortgage company credibility and believability.

When you deliver a good compelling offer that is both credible and believable, your sales and profits will increase.

WHAT MAKES A GOOD CUSTOMER TESTIMONIAL?

To maximize the selling power of testimonials, you should keep a few ideas in mind:

#1 Be Specific
Testimonials phrased in specific terms pull more weight than more general statements. For example...

"I saved over $350 per month by refinancing my high interest loan!"
 
is a lot more effective than.. 

"I enjoy working with ABC Mortgages."

#2 Cite Complete References
"Ms. Mary Jones, President, Jones Inc. Boston, MA

rather than " M. Jones, Boston"

The more detail the reference, the more believable the testimonial.

#3 Use Photos of the Testimonial Writer
You will triple the believability and selling power if you print a photo along with the words. Photographs of the person (along with their happy family) work the best.
#4 Use Customer Terminology and Phrasing
Resist any temptation to rephrase you customer’s words. You'll generally lower the believability factor.

TYPES OF TESTIMONIALS

There are three different types of testimonials. 

1. Customers: By far the strongest category of testimonial is the satisfied customer. Through the use of good customer testimonials, increased loan response rates of 20% or more is not unusual.

2. Celebrities: Celebrities are not as believable as customers. They are not credible because they are paid. They generally increase awareness, but it may not be the awareness you want. And also, most small to medium sized mortgage companies cannot afford a celebrity to pitch their loan business.

3. Organizations: A local newspaper, trade association, a magazine in your field, a chamber of commerce, a newsletter, etc. Organizations carry a lot of weight because people believe that their opinion cannot be bought.

HOW TO COLLECT TESTIMONIALS

Collecting powerful and compelling testimonials should be an on-going marketing function for any mortgage company. It is usually something that is done “when you have time”. Collecting testimonials is a marketing aspect that every top level online mortgage lender needs to be doing on a consistent basis.

  1. Read your in-coming emails carefully and keep a file of customer comments. Follow-up on these potential testimonials and ask the sender if you can use their comments.
      
  2.  Analyze your customer list and carefully craft an email to a select list "Asking for their help". Suggest to them what you are looking for in the way of comments and then let them provide you with their material. The important lesson here: You can't sit casually back and hope for testimonials to come your way. You have to go out and get them.

POWERFUL TESTIMONIALS = MORE PROFITS

Many mortgage companies are spending a significant amount of marketing dollars getting visitors to their web sites. And just a slight increase in your response rates, can a huge effect on your bottom-line. The time your company spends nurturing your testimonial program will result in increased sales, an improved image of your company, more sales leads, lower sales costs, and overall more profits.

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