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Mastering Client Video Testimonials

Tips to generate client testimonials that you'll be excited to share.

We’re excited about the SEC’s updated ruling on advisor testimonials.  If you’re an RIA, you’re now able to capture your clients’ advocacy in written or video format.  These testimonials will be used in a variety of ways: from your website, to your social channels, to your prospect follow-up emails.  

First things first, you’ve got to capture some great testimonials.  We at Oechsli have been doing this for decades.  Seriously, I found a trifold poster board in the back of our office with printed testimonials attached to black and white photos.  In thinking through our experiences, both good and bad, I’ve outlined some tips to help you generate testimonial videos that you’re excited to share. 

Ask for Testimonials

Start by making a list of your advocates. These are the clients who have given you compliments in the past, have referred you, or have given other signals that they enjoy your services. Call them, let them know how much you appreciate them, and ask if they would be willing to speak about their experience with you in a quick testimonial video. Be sure to express how much this would mean to you and what they could expect if they agree to take part.

Prepare Questions in Advance

Once you’ve got some willing participants, send a few questions for them to ponder in advance. You could include things like: 

  • "What advice would you offer someone looking to hire a financial advisor?"
  • "Why did you decide to work with our team?"
  • "What challenges did you face prior to engaging us?”
  • "What has been your favorite thing about working with us?"
  • "How would you describe our support staff?"
  • “What has been your experience with our financial planning process?”

Plan for Optimal Video Quality

The video shoot is best done in your office, and your smartphone is plenty capable of serving as the recording device. You’ll just want to solidify your shot with a tripod, add in an external light source, and improve the audio with an external microphone, but the phone itself is just fine as the camera. If you are unsure how to set this up, solicit the help of a colleague or friend with more video knowledge. Even better, if you want this to be really polished, hire a professional for a day of shooting. 

Coach your Clients

Your clients often have great talking points when describing what they like most about working with you. However, they aren’t professional YouTubers and may need some guidance to get the language and energy just right. That’s where you come in. Serve as the director of your video shoot and don’t be afraid to ask them for do-overs. For example, “Could you do that part one more time and not mention our competitor?” or “That was great. But could you do it again and reference that we handle your insurance needs as well?” 

Distribute your Testimonials Widely

With quality video footage in-hand, you can now focus on distribution. The most natural ways to share will be through your: 

  • Website - Embed these testimonial videos in a prominent place on your website.
  • Social Posts - Use these testimonials as posts on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.  
  • Social Ads - Put some ad budget behind these testimonials on Facebook and LinkedIn, ensuring they are seen by your target market.
  • YouTube - Add your videos to YouTube with titles that could pick up some search traffic. For example, Denver Financial Advisor - Jane Smith - Client Testimonial
  • Prospect Follow-up Emails - Leverage these testimonials for creative prospect follow-up. You might say, “I thought it might be helpful to hear what a few of our clients like most about working with us…”

This isn’t a one-off initiative, as testimonials can get stale. As the months and years go on, be on the lookout for situations where it’s natural to ask for more. For example, if a client offers you a compliment, use that as a signal to ask for a testimonial. You might say something like, “would you be willing to record that as a testimonial?”  Over time, you’ll accumulate enough testimonials to serve as social proof that you’re a great solution for affluent investors in your area. Good luck!

Stephen Boswell is a partner with The Oechsli Institute, a firm that specializes in research and training for the financial services industry. @StephenBoswell

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