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Revealed: The 3 social proof boxes all financial advisers and planners should tick

What’s more effective; telling a prospective client about the value you add or showing them?

That’s right; showing wins hands down every time. How to show prospective clients the value you add is a far harder question to answer.

Over the past four years we’ve wrestled with different options and now firmly believe there are three key boxes to tick:

  • Online ratings and reviews
  • Client surveys
  • Client videos.

During the next three weeks, we’re going to take a detailed look at each. This week, it’s online ratings and reviews.

Collect your feedback in public

We know that the clients of financial planners are overwhelmingly happy. Our research shows that:

  • 58% of clients are happy to recommend their adviser or planner to others
  • 17% say that working with the planner or adviser has helped them to achieve their goals.

We also know that many prospective clients use ratings and reviews when selecting an adviser or planner.

A prospective client might consider more than one adviser/planner, perhaps after being recommended to a couple of firms. That means competition doesn’t happen around the meeting room table (or on a Zoom call) but online.

As they check out their options, they will look firms up online. What they see, including ratings and reviews, will help them decide who to contact. Naturally, the firms with a better review profile (in terms of both quality and quantity) will be more impressive.

So, incredibly high satisfaction levels plus the ease with which prospective clients can check out potential advisers/planners, means using ratings and reviews is a no-brainer.

Use Google and VouchedFor

We’ve thought long and hard about the options over the years and believe there’s a compelling case to use two platforms: Google and VouchedFor.

We recommend Google because:

  • A prospective client first meets you on a search results page when they’ve looked you up on Google. This type of brand search should result in your Google My Business listing appearing. Having reviews on there is a great way of impressing a potential client very early on in their journey to your door.
  • Most firms have no Google reviews. We looked at every firm in the New Model Adviser Top 100 from 2020 and found that only 6% had more than 20 reviews. 12.5% had fewer than 10 while 53% of firms had no Google reviews. The message is clear; collecting Google reviews helps you stand out from the crowd!
  • Your Google reviews, both the number and the score, appear on Google Places (also known as the “local pack”). Research has shown that the top three listings in this part of the search results page can account for up to 44% of all clicks.

The second platform to use is VouchedFor, because:

  • It’s easier for a client to leave a review on VouchedFor than Google (as Google requires the client to have an account. In practice, that probably means a Gmail address, which not everyone has). In our experience, if you ask your clients to leave you a review on both platforms, you will get more on VouchedFor than on Google.
  • If your prospective client searches for your name online, rather than that of your business, your VouchedFor listing will appear whereas your Google My Business listing probably won’t.
  • The reputational tools which VouchedFor provides are excellent and help you to display your reviews elsewhere including on your website and social media.
  • Each year VouchedFor runs its guide to Top Rated advisers. If you qualify, either individually or as a firm, that’s a great way to differentiate yourself and show the value you add.
  • VouchedFor provides a rating for your firm as well as the individual advisers/planners in it.
  • VouchedFor goes to considerable lengths to verify the authenticity of reviews. Prospective clients and advisers/planners alike can, therefore, be assured that reviews are genuine.
  • Unlike other ratings and review platforms, VouchedFor will also generate new enquiries. While this isn’t its primary purpose it’s very useful and, in our experience, will more than cover the subscription cost.

Using both platforms will help impress potential clients and increase the chances of them making contact with you, rather than another firm.

However, reviews won’t appear by themselves. You need to put in some hard yards.

An initial project plus regular top-ups

If you’re just starting to build your online ratings and reviews, we recommend the following:

  • Run an initial project: This means emailing your clients to request Google and VouchedFor reviews. We’ve helped numerous firms do this. In an example earlier this year we helped one firm move from two Google reviews to more than 90 in a short space of time, while their VouchedFor review count now exceeds 250.
  • Regularly topping up your reviews: It’s important to keep your reviews fresh. This applies particularly to VouchedFor where their search algorithm includes the recency of reviews as well as quality and volume. So, at the end of each periodic review meeting, the adviser or planner should ask the client if they are happy to leave a review online. Assuming they are, an email should be sent by a member of the support team (not the adviser or planner) with the appropriate links and instructions.

Next week, client surveys. For now, though, think over the long bank holiday weekend about ratings and reviews and whether it’s time to start taking them seriously.

If you’d like our help or have any questions about this week’s blog, please email or call 0115 8965 300.

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