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10 practical things financial advisers and planners can do now to get more online reviews

Last week, we revealed that only 1 in 258 clients leave a Google review for their financial adviser or planner.

There are many reasons why the proportion is so low. The good news, though, is that with the right mindset and processes it’s an easy problem to fix. We’re here to help, too.

At the end of last week’s blog, we promised to explain why you should be using two platforms to collect online reviews and reveal 10 ways you should ask. So, that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

Use two platforms to collect reviews

We recommend using Google and VouchedFor to collect reviews. Here’s why:

  1. Not everyone can or wants to leave a Google review. If that’s the only option you offer, your client has no alternative. By giving them two choices you’re more likely to get at least one review from them. Of course, your more passionate advocates might do both.
  2. Google reviews appear in your Google My Business listing when someone (including referrals from clients and professional connections) searches online for your business. However, the same people might search for you, rather than your business. If they do, it’s unlikely your Google My Business listing (and consequently your reviews) will appear. Using VouchedFor solves this problem.
  3. There are many other benefits to using VouchedFor; their reputational tools (including the dynamic ratings and review widget to embed in your website), the Times Top Rated guide and lead generation, to name three. You get none of these with Google.

So, now we’ve got that out of the way, here’s the practical stuff.

The 10 things you can do to get more reviews

1. Make them part of an initial project

If you aren’t seriously engaging with online reviews, you need to give yourself a jump start. That means running a project to ask all clients to leave you a review.

A few dos and don’ts:

Do:

  • Ask for reviews on Google and VouchedFor
  • Send the request by email and include links to Google and VouchedFor to make their lives easier (if you don’t know how to get these links click here and we’ll explain)
  • Do explain why reviews are important to you and your business (people are more likely to help if they understand why it’s important to you). We’ve been experimenting with new wording in our review request email. We’ll explain how to get your hands on it at the end of this blog.
  • Send a polite reminder a couple of weeks after you’ve made the initial request.

Don’t:

  • Include anything else in the email, if mention other things it’ll distract your clients.
  • Be shy or worried that you’re ‘bothering’ clients. Instead, remember the huge value that you add to your clients’ lives.
  • Start to second guess who will leave you a Google review by trying to identify those with Gmail addresses. This is largely pointless as you can’t always tell who has a Gmail address. For example, we use Gmail, but you can’t tell that just by looking at my email address. It also assumes that someone without a Gmail account won’t leave you a review (and we all know what assumption does!).

2. Ask after a regular planning meeting

After your initial project, you need to keep your reviews topped up. That means building a request into your processes.

Ideally, the adviser or planner will verbally confirm with the client at the planning meeting that they are happy to leave a review. Assuming that goes well, the adviser/planner or a member of their support team should send an email thanking them for agreeing to leave a review and providing them with the links.

Again, the email should be exclusively about the reviews. We’ve seen firms put the review request at the end of a long suitability report and then wonder why nothing happens!

Some firms send review requests during the month immediately after the client meeting. Others save them up and send them in one batch at the end of the month. We haven’t seen any evidence that one is significantly more effective than the other, so do whatever suits your business.

3. Ask after taking on a new client

Follow the same process as we’ve outlined for existing clients.

We know some advisers and planners are concerned that they shouldn’t ask new clients for a review. Instead, they prefer to ask “in a few years” or “when they’ve bedded in”.

That makes no sense.

Your new client has put their faith and trust in you. Their financial future is in your hands. You’re probably managing a portfolio of hundreds of thousands of pounds for them. It’s obvious that they trust you. Now’s the perfect time to ask for a review of the work you’ve done to that point.

4. Ask after receiving an unsolicited compliment

Clients will often call or email their adviser, planner or support team with an unsolicited compliment or to say “thanks” for something. It’s lovely when that happens, but it’s in private. No one else will see it.

When you get calls or emails of this nature, get into the habit of politely thanking the client and then asking them:

  • “Would you mind saying that in a review online if I send you a link?” or,
  • “Would you mind copying and pasting that into an online review if I sent you a link?”

We’ve done this before with our clients and we find that most are very happy to help. If they’d rather not, that’s fine. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

For this to work though, you and your team need to get into the right mindset and be alert for opportunities.

5. Ask professional connections

It isn’t just clients who can leave you a review. Your professional connections trust you to work with their clients, so leaving you a review shouldn’t be too much of a leap. However, we rarely see any adviser or planner regularly ask professional connections for a review.

So, ask the solicitors and accountants who recommend you to leave you a review. Ideally, they’ll explain why they recommend you and share some of the feedback they get from mutual clients. It’s also a great opportunity to promote their business to the people who read your reviews.

6. Remember that couples can leave two reviews

If you work with couples, remember that each of them can leave you a review.

This is especially useful for advisers and planners who are just starting out and don’t have a huge number of clients.

Remember, there’s a greater chance of them doubling up if you explain why it’s important to you.

7. Ask after you run events

Whether it’s a physical event (remember them?) or a webinar, when you send your follow-up, it’s the perfect time to ask for a review.

8. Ask people you help but don’t take on as clients

There will always be enquiries from people who aren’t the right fit for your service. Often, advisers and planners still work hard to help these people, perhaps signposting them the help they need or delivering advice pro bono. Either way, why not ask for a positive review as ‘payment’?

It’s a great way for them to show their gratitude and demonstrate that you’re one of life’s good eggs.

9. Ask in regular communications

If you only ever ask for reviews in your newsletters, you’re going to be disappointed.

However, if you use all the other opportunities we’ve outlined above, adding a section to your newsletter template reminding people that you welcome reviews is a good idea. This can gently nudge clients who have all the right intentions, but who haven’t got round to writing a review.

10. Ask in your email signature

Again, if all you do is include a request for reviews in your email signature, you’re not going to get many. However, as a way of gently reminding clients that you welcome reviews, it’s probably a good idea.

Grab your copy of our latest review request template

If you’d like a copy of our most up-to-date review request text, please click here to send us an email. We’ll be delighted to let you have a copy.

Can we ask a favour?

You knew it was coming, didn’t you?

If you’re a client of The Yardstick Agency, or you find our blogs, webinars and free resources useful, we’d be very grateful if you could spare a minute to leave us a Google review.

Finally, we regularly help our clients build social proof by running ratings and review projects, client surveys, and producing client videos. If your social proof cupboard is looking bare, we’re here to help. Drop an email to [email protected] or call  0115 8965 300 and let’s chat.

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