The introverts reading this are already cringing! Yes, it’s hard to put yourself out there and ask your clients to rate your service, but there are very clear benefits to doing so – especially in our algorithm-driven world. Here’s how to make Google work for you.

 How do you find decent a decent building contractor to fix your kitchen roof, or a fun new restaurant to try for your wedding anniversary? How do you find an off-grid cabin in the mountains for your next holiday? And now that your family GP has retired, how do you find a new one who has a good rapport with your children?

If you’re anything like us, you ask friends and family for a recommendation, but if no recommendation is forthcoming, you turn to the Internet. The review sections on Facebook, Airbnb, Google and others are always enlightening and often the defining reason that you end up choosing one service provider over another.

When it comes to choosing a financial advisor, however, this process seems to stall at the family-and-friend recommendation stage. Of course, referrals are always going to be integral to driving new business, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t maximise the power of Google to attract even more new clients.

Why are online reviews important?

Two reasons. The first is because reviews help with search engine optimisation (SEO). If you have good reviews, your practice will be first on the page if someone googles “Financial planner Sandton”, for example.

The second reason is because a review is a form of “social proof” – a phenomenon where people feel empowered to copy the actions of others. If another real-life human has left an objectively positive review of a particular company, you immediately feel more comfortable hiring that company. As more and more people leave positive reviews, this feeling becomes exponentially more persuasive.

As we all know, trust is the cornerstone of the financial planning industry. Social proof is one of the best and easiest ways to create and foster trust.

How do I start?

This is the hardest part! The only way to get reviews is to ask for them. Yes, we know it feels a little cheap to finish a meeting and then ask your client to rate your service – that’s what call centre agents do, not CFP® professionals! But get over this psychological stumbling block and you’ll find that many clients will be very happy to write a review, especially if you’ve given them the excellent service they were promised.

If you don’t feel like asking for a review in person, there are lots of other ways to do it. Create a Google review link and add it to your email signature, or add a review button to your website. We can also help you craft a sensitively worded email campaign to encourage clients to rate your service online.

The reality is that review technology is easy to use and available to everyone. If you’re not using it, know that your competitors definitely are… We understand how digital marketing works. If you need help, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Until next time, happy searching!