Online reviews are incredibly important.
Seeing the benefits of working with you impresses prospects, helps to turn existing clients into advocates, and validates the hard work that you, and your team, put in.
We’ve been recommending that financial advisers and planners use both Google and VouchedFor to collect online reviews for quite a while now. We’re delighted to see that many are taking our advice!
However, we’ve spotted a trap that a lot of people are falling into.
A really simple mistake that could be damaging your firm’s reputation and turning off clients and prospects alike.
Not replying to your online reviews.
If you’re leaving reviews unanswered, you’re missing out on a massive opportunity. Let me explain why.
4 reasons you should reply to online reviews
1. It shows you appreciate them and the review
Reviews are incredibly valuable for your business. They’re the perfect way to make a fantastic first impression during a prospect’s digital journey to your door.
So, when someone takes the time to leave feedback about you and your firm, it’s important to show you’re grateful. By replying in public, prospective clients will see people like them (the client’s review) and the value of what you do (your reply).
2. It shows you care about all clients
Very occasionally, an adviser/planner will receive a negative review. Naturally, you’ll want to reply to this with a carefully crafted and appropriate response.
It looks strange to both existing and potential clients if you only reply to one type of review (i.e. positive or negative) and not both.
3. You’ll stand out from the crowd
Despite more and more advisers/planners collecting online reviews, there’s still only a small minority who have a meaningful number.
The number who actually reply is even smaller. Of the firms in the latest New Model Adviser Top 100, only 23.7% respond to their Google reviews.
We know that potential clients consider more than one provider, checking them out online before deciding who to contact.
So, by collecting reviews AND replying to them, you’ll set yourself apart from the competition that much more.
4. It allows you to deliver your key messages
A reply to a review speaks to two people – the client who wrote the review and the potential client reading it. So it’s important to work in some of your key messages.
Did the client recently retire? Mention how financial planning gave them the confidence to make that leap. Did they come to you worried when they could afford to retire? Explain how you gave them clarity about their future.
This allows potential clients to see that you have helped people just like them achieve their aspirations.
How to craft the perfect response
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.
1. Say “thank you” and use their name
Everyone likes to hear their name. Start your reply by giving a genuine thank you to the client for taking the time to leave the review, using their name.
2. Tell a story
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.
3. Include key messages
These could be:
- 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 of other tips too. Mix it up, you don’t want it to look like your replies have been copied and pasted!
Here’s an example to help
Sometimes it’s easier to understand the theory when you see it in practice – we’ve picked a random Google review and written a reply.
“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.”
A last word from us at The Yardstick Agency
Of course, you can only write replies if you have reviews in the first place! If you’re a financial services professional and need a hand with your marketing, we’re here to help.
As the UK’s highest-rated marketing agency specialising in financial services, we help financial advisers/planners, investment managers, and product providers to market their business more effectively.
Whether you’ve got a specific marketing challenge (like upping your number of online reviews), need a strategy to deliver business growth, or just feel that something is missing, get in touch today.
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Founder and Director
via Abi Robinson
Head of Social Media