How to Create Powerful Client Testimonials That Drive Prospects
Advisors love referrals. And we love to help advisors grow, which is why we recently partnered with Ted Goldwyn, Founder of Success Story Studio, to host a Marketing Masterclass about creating impactful testimonials that drive prospects. We’ve been talking about client testimonials since the SEC announced the changes to the marketing rules back in December 2020. And we’re delighted to have witnessed the transformation of modern testimonials to more human and New Skool content and production than ever before. This authentic approach helps advisors forge more meaningful connections with existing and potential clients.
Before we dig into the details, we have a few points to clarify. First, client testimonials are incredibly valuable. Research from Big Commerce shows that 88% of consumers trust a client testimonial as much as a recommendation from family or friends. A client testimonial is an incredibly high-impact story that delivers a mountain of social proof and other benefits that can generate not just leads, but prospects that fit your ideal client profile.
Second, client testimonials are different from the short reviews a client may leave on a website like Yelp or Google. A testimonial tells a full story about a client’s experience with an advisor. And finally, make sure to align with your compliance team about the rules and boundaries around what you can and can’t include in a testimonial.
Now, let’s get to it.
Why Testimonials Are Important
Client testimonials provide valuable validation and social proof. These days, if a potential client discovers your name, perhaps stumbling across your social media or hearing it from a friend, the first thing they’ll do is look you up online, checking out your website and content. Client testimonials offer powerful online validation, especially if testimonials answer the questions prospective clients are asking themselves, like does this advisor work with people like me and will they understand me and my needs?
Even if the potential client finds that your practice isn’t the right fit for them – it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
You see, when you collect and craft client testimonials, you should target your favorite clients – the ones that you’d replicate a dozen times if you could – as their stories demonstrates to prospective clients that meet your ideal client profile that you understand them and can help.
How to Create Testimonials
You might be wondering; how do I even start? Good news – we can break down testimonial collection and creation in six steps.
1. Identify the right clients to ask
Your first step is to identify the best clients to ask. Think about your favorite clients, the ones you like to work with most, the ones you’ve helped the most – the ones who may have already told you how much they like working with you. Now that you have those clients in mind, write down their names. Ideally, you should start with 10+ names on your list.
Many advisors find this step the toughest. It’s common to worry you might sound “pushy” or "salesy” when you ask a client if they’re willing to be a testimonial. Instead, I encourage you to take on a spirit of gratitude and reflection.
The key here is asking with authenticity and gratitude. You can also explain why you are asking. Some of the most powerful things you can say are:
- “I value our relationship.”
- “I enjoy working with you and your family.”
- “You have really helped me to learn and grow in my business.”
- “If I could replicate our relationship ten times over – that would be my ideal practice.”
Once you’ve established your appreciation of them, you’re likely to get a very positive response.
We have some tactics that could make asking your clients for testimonials easier. Consider three approaches to asking for a testimonial:
- React to positive, unprompted feedback. Perhaps the easiest and most way to broach the subject, you can ask if they would allow you to expand on the nice email message they sent or online review they posted into a testimonial. The client has already shown their appreciation and a willingness to have their voice heard. Be ready to respond to these opportunities while your services are still at the top of the client’s mind. Prepare a few templates you can customize to the specific situation and comment.
- Solicit feedback from clients who would make a strong case for your skills. This could take the form of an email or phone call where you chronicle the successes you and the client have seen and simply asking for the endorsement.
- Reflect on previous conversations or email exchanges you’ve had with a client. Remind them of a challenge they faced and how they overcame it (with your expert guidance, of course). Frame the ask as a way they can help others in the same situation.
For in-depth case studies, a bit of up-front work pays off in the long run, giving you “the full story of the client’s journey.” Ted suggested drafting just 3-to-5 open-ended questions to ensure a quick pace and powerful responses including examples like:
- What challenges or pain points were you facing in your financial life before you discovered our practice
- Why did you select us to help you improve or optimize your financial situation?
- What impact has working with us had on you?
- Can you share any specific ways we have gone the extra mile for you?
- Have you received any unexpected benefits from working with us?
Also, be sure to ask the client to detail their experience working with you as if they were talking with a close friend. “Let the conversation flow, and go in with an open mind, with no preconceived notions of what your clients are going to say,” Ted said. “Many times, they will surprise you in a positive way.”
You have several ways to collect testimonials from your clients. We find that video and audio recordings are often the most impactful – and as we cover later, can be repurposed in several formats.
Today, video testimonials aren’t the uptight talking heads you might have seen ten years ago. Instead, they’re more organic and social, like a friendly conversation demonstrating your connection. This New Skool frame of mind can also help you address feelings of perfectionism or procrastination. When the pressure kicks in you can just take a breath and talk to them, just like you would during a normal conversation!
Video also helps your clients’ authentic enthusiasm come through in their voices and facial expressions, further building trust with potential prospects who watch.
Also, recording videos is easier than ever. We’re all comfortable with video conferencing now, and most platforms have excellent recording options. As an alternative to Zoom or similar, you could also record a video together in person or create an audio file over the phone.
Another important part of being an trusted advisor is knowing and understanding your clients and meeting them where they’re at. So, if a client really isn’t comfortable with video, you can go analog and write down their answers to a few questions or send them a short questionnaire to complete on their own.
Once the testimonial is collected, it’s time to use it! During the recent Marketing Masterclass, Ted also showed us how to frame the testimonial conversation into a long-form written piece that addresses five key elements:
1.) What was the client’s “before they came to you” situation? Why did they seek financial advice?
2.) What route did the client take in deciding that your firm offered the best option for their situation. How did you stand out from the competition?
3.) What results did you deliver? How did the solutions, services, and advice overcome their challenges?
4.) Include visual elements such as the client’s image, your company logo, and attractive layout and design.
5.) Pull quotes. These focus the readers’ attention on the key takeaways and can be used as design elements in the document.
Once you have a meaty testimonial, I encourage you to view it as an asset to the firm, and use it in multiple ways, across time. From just one video testimonial, you can scrape the audio to add to your podcast, use the transcript to write a blog, and pull quotes or audio snippet for social media, newsletters, and emails.
Essentially, a strong testimonial opens the door to reusing and repurposing testimonials into bite-sized marketing messages, expanding the potential audience of prospects looking for an advisor like you.
If you’ve been inspired to create testimonials, we leave you with four action steps you can take today.
- Look at your client list and existing reviews. Write 10+ names of clients whose story would make great testimonial.
- Envision your outcome and the tone of your testimonials.
- Plan what you need to do and delegate some tasks.
- Make your first two asks!
If you have questions about testimonials or supercharging your firm’s growth, ask the experts at FiComm. Send us your question through Dear FiComm, and we’ll help you for FREE!