Online reviews are a great way to demonstrate the value you add to your clients.
Hearing them explain the benefits of working with you impresses potential clients, helps to turn existing clients into advocates, and validates the hard work that you, and your team, put in.
So far, so good.
But there’s something very simple that most advisers and planners don’t do that adds huge value…
Write a reply.
Yes, it really is that simple.
That’s a massive, missed opportunity. Let me explain why.
4 audiences who will read your reply
Your reply will be read by four audiences, each of whom are important in their own way.
The client who left a review: Perhaps the most obvious audience. Your client has taken time, and perhaps even signed up to Google, to leave a review. So, it’s important that they feel that you’re grateful. A heartfelt reply is the perfect way to do that.
Prospective clients: Potential clients will generally look you up online before contacting you. That means they’ll see your Google and VouchedFor reviews. Your replies are an opportunity to showcase your personality, explain the benefits of working with you, and get your key messages across.
Existing clients: When you ask existing clients to leave you a review, they will see your other reviews. Curiosity will take over and they’re bound to read some of them. This has two benefits for you. Firstly, the positive reviews reinforce the reasons they work with you. Secondly, the reviews will help to turn your clients into advocates who, in turn, are more likely to recommend you to others.
Google: When replying to Google reviews it’s important to include relevant keywords that potential clients might search for online. For example: “Thank you Jane for the review. You could have chosen any financial adviser in Bolton, but I’m delighted that you’re working with us.” Doing so has just told Google that you’re a financial adviser in Bolton, which will match the search some people use when looking for an adviser.
3 steps to writing the perfect reply
As a rule of thumb, your reply should be 100 to 125 words long. That means they’ll take time to write, but it’s a worthy investment.
Step 1: Say thank you and use their name
Everyone likes to hear their name, so start your reply by giving a genuine and heartfelt thank you to the client for taking the time to leave a review, using their name.
Step 2: Tell a story to show benefits and achievements
You’re never going to reveal confidential information or break client confidences. However, be as specific as you can within those limits, explaining the problem you helped your client solve or the aspiration you helped them achieve.
Step 3: Include key messages
Potential clients are a key audience for your reply. That means you should work in the key messages you want them to hear, ideally linking them back to the client’s review. Depending on your service and proposition these could include:
- The benefits of financial planning
- How cashflow modelling gives clients confidence about their financial future
- How your fixed-fee structure will benefit them
- Why your Chartered status sets you apart
- The importance of independent advice
- The local nature of your service.
There’s plenty more. Mix them up too – you don’t want it to look like your replies have been cut and pasted!
Some examples to help you
It’s always easier to understand the theory of something when you see it in practice. So, we’ve chosen two random reviews (one each from Google and VouchedFor) and written replies, so you can see how to do it for yourself.
“I was planning to retire early and knew I needed an IFA to plan for the future. Choosing an IFA was a critical decision and I came to Darren at <name of firm deleted> on the recommendation of a friend. I am very satisfied with the whole experience and recommend their friendly, supportive and professional service which has taken so much stress out of my financial decision-making.”
“Thank you, Jane, for your very kind review. You could have chosen any other financial adviser in Nottingham, so we’re delighted that you selected us. We understand how hard it is to compare financial advisers, and we’re delighted that your friend felt comfortable enough to recommend us to you. Hopefully, our Chartered status, plus the awards we have won, helped us to stand out too! We’re delighted that our cashflow forecasting gave you the confidence that you could afford to retire. We look forward to catching up with you soon and hearing about everything you’ve been up to! In the meantime, if you have any questions, we’re just around the corner, feel free to pop in at any time.”
“What were the circumstances that caused you to look for a financial adviser? Initially a general financial review and advice regarding pension transfers with the aim of retiring early. Subsequent annual reviews, fine tune investment strategy and provide confidence everything is on track.
How did Brian help you? Brian carried out a wide-ranging initial review and provided details on where savings could be made, and areas of risk to watch. For example, unnecessary insurance policies, investment risk management, better understanding of long-term wealth, and what would be required to live off etc. In particular, detailed pension review planning and consolidation. Have had several annual reviews since which fine tune and adjust accordingly. When I have had ad-hoc queries/advice, Brian has been pretty quick with responses and they are well thought through. Brian also looks at things from our perspective so I always feel that he is acting in our best interests.
Have you seen the outcome you were hoping for? Yes, I have a much better understanding of investments and they are easier to manage. Retirement (or rather doing something different) can be brought forward. Ongoing management of investment portfolio has been easier and the annual reviews provide confidence all is OK.”
“Thank you, Sarah, for such a detailed and positive review. It’s very much appreciated. We know that deciding when to retire is particularly difficult for many people, so we’re delighted to have been able to help you achieve your goal of finishing work. You told us that the cashflow forecasting software we use gave you great confidence that you could afford to retire. I’m looking forward to seeing you enjoy your retirement years! I’m also really pleased that you’re happy with how quickly we respond to queries and that, by working together, you have a greater understanding of your financial affairs.”
Here to help
Of course, you can only write replies if you have reviews in the first place. That means you need to:
- Run an initial project to give your current reviews a boost
- Change your processes so that reviews are requested after each new client is onboarded, and each review meeting.
We’re here to help you do both.
Our team has run initial projects for countless clients and had great success:
- A firm in Kent went from no reviews whatsoever to having 38 Google and 202 VouchedFor reviews in just a couple of months.
- Another firm in Gloucestershire attracted 94 Google and 232 VouchedFor reviews in a four-week period.
So, if you’d like our help, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0115 8965 300.