Too many advisers and planners ignore one of the most effective ways to impress potential clients.
A couple of weeks ago, we explained the three ways prospective clients use Google to find you. The most important of the three is using Google to validate a recommendation from an existing client or professional connection.
Before getting in touch, people who’ve been recommended to you will usually search for you online. That means, they first meet you on a Google search results page, where you must make a great first impression.
However, our research shows that many firms are ignoring the simplest way of doing that: Google reviews.
Only 1 in 258 clients leaves a Google review
We wanted to understand whether more firms are engaging with Google reviews. So, we’ve revisited our research from December last year when we analysed all the firms in the New Model AdviserTop 100. Back in December, we found that:
- Firms in the Top 100 had a total of 505 reviews
- Each firm had an average of 5.05 reviews
- Just 0.25% of all clients had left a Google review.
Fast forward to June 2021 and it’s clear that not much has changed:
- The same firms now have 794 reviews. That’s an increase of 289 (36.4%), which is pretty impressive at first glance. However, 151 of those new reviews are for one firm
- Each firm now has an average of 7.94 reviews, which means on average they’ve collected just one review every other month
- Only 0.39% of all clients have left reviews.
There’s a similar pattern among smaller firms too. The evidence is at your fingertips – search online for “financial adviser near me” and you will be hard-pressed to find a firm with more than 20 reviews.
Most advisers and planners don’t understand why they need Google reviews
It’s astonishing that so few reviews have been left, even more so when we consider that:
- Firms in the New Model Adviser Top 100 work with over 200,000 clients
- Our research shows that clients are overwhelmingly happy with their financial adviser/planner (95.69% would recommend their planner to other people and 98.12% believe working with their planner will/has helped them achieve their goals).
And, it’s clear things aren’t getting much better.
Over the years we’ve heard many reasons (and frankly, plenty of excuses) for why firms aren’t collecting reviews.
Many advisers and planners note that clients need to have a Google account to leave a review. Consequently, it’s harder to get reviews on there than on other platforms.
There’s no denying that’s true. Ask 100 clients to leave a review on Google and VouchedFor (the platform we recommend you use in addition to Google) and you will get more on VouchedFor.
However, we work with firms that have more than 100 Google reviews. It proves that, with the right mindset and processes, collecting Google reviews is perfectly viable.
Some firms simply haven’t got around to running an initial review project or putting in place the tried-and-tested processes that work. We’ve got lots of ideas to help here which we will reveal next week.
Finally, some firms don’t understand why they need to impress online or believe that the type of clients they work with use Google. This demonstrates a misunderstanding of the prospective client’s journey to your door.
Let’s deal with this reason now. After all, if you don’t understand why you should do something you’re far less likely to do it.
6 reasons why you should take Google reviews seriously
1. As part of a referral and recommendation strategy
We know two things about referrals and recommendations. Firstly, they make the best type of new enquiry. Secondly, many will research you and your business online before getting in touch. That means a Google search.
In many respects, the Google search results are now your homepage. What potential clients see when they search for your business increases or decreases the likelihood of them getting in touch. If they can find you easily online and your Google My Business listing appears with positive reviews, they are more likely to continue their journey towards you.
If you’re invisible online or fail to impress, they might look elsewhere.
2. They will help you rank more highly for local searches
Google wants to deliver the most relevant and useful results for every search. Therefore, it includes the ratings that businesses receive in its search algorithm. There’s no doubt that the number and quality of reviews are a significant factor in local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
3. They differentiate you from other firms
Your peers and competitors probably don’t have any Google reviews. If they do, there’s a good chance it’s only a handful. If you take the collection of reviews seriously and put the right processes in place you will stand out in a crowded field.
4. Getting ahead of the game
Less than perfect reviews aren’t always bad news; they show authenticity and give you the opportunity to learn.
However, a general lack of reviews means that poor ratings stick out like a sore thumb. In the unlikely event this is a problem for you in the future, building up positive reviews will help you get ahead of the game and show any issues were an isolated incident.
5. Ratings and reviews can be used elsewhere
While they will look great on your Google listing, the ratings and reviews can be used elsewhere to really leverage their power. They could be embedded into your website, included in your email footer, added into email newsletters, and included in your printed marketing literature.
6. The demonstrate the value of advice/planning
Some journalists and social media ‘influencers are happy to spread myths and misconceptions about financial advice and planning.
We all have a duty to stand up for our profession. Sure, we need to acknowledge the bad eggs and do everything we can to root them out. But, we also need to shout about the successes. Collecting Google reviews is a great way of showing the benefits of working with an adviser/planner as well as your business.
There’s almost no limit to what you can do with them. Of course, you’ve got to collect them first. That leads us nicely to…
When to ask for reviews
You’re going to have to wait until next week for that, when we’ll reveal the 10 occasions you should be asking for reviews online and why you should be using two platforms.
In the meantime though, if you would like to know more about the reasons you should be collecting Google reviews, please email email@example.com or call 0115 8965 300.