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Practice Management > Marketing and Communications

5 Ways to Use Testimonials & Boost Your Client Experience

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Financial advisors have long bemoaned restrictions on client testimonial. But after more than a year since the Securities and Exchange Commission Marketing Rule became mandatory, still only 7% of advisors are using client testimonials.

Many are waiting for the SEC to bring down the hammer on an early adopter or two so there’s more clarity around what will trigger commission’s ire.

In the meantime, however, advisors are missing out on more than the critical social proof needed to show how they offer differentiated value. They’re also missing a powerful method to forge deeper connections with clients and create a more impactful client experience.

The practice of asking clients for their thoughts and opinions, and showing that you value that input is a requirement in a healthy client relationship.

From collecting testimonials to how you showcase and share them, there are several key steps in the testimonial process where you can deepen your relationship with you clients.

1. Practice intentional onboarding.

During your onboarding meeting, once a client has signed their documents, have a short conversation about why they chose you.

What are their intentions in choosing a financial planner and why did they choose you? What was it about you that made them feel comfortable? Is there something that you offered that others didn’t?

If you include a photo release in your onboarding paperwork, this is a great time to take photos, and for clients who aren’t camera shy, doing a quick video where they answer these questions.

The output of these questions is great for your marketing. But the process of asking is great for the relationship.

You’re teaching your client right out of the gate that their opinion and their experience matters. You’re also setting up feedback as an expectation, so they’ll be more likely to share with you what’s going wrong and right in their experience with your firm.

2. Conduct yearly reflections.

During each annual review, make a feedback session part of the agenda. Two things will happen here: You’ll get positive comments you can work with as testimonials, and you’ll get constructive feedback.

Constructive feedback is a gift for you and for the client relationship. If they share with you that your account portal is hard to use or that you haven’t been responsive enough, you can take action to fix the issue and follow up with your client as soon as it’s fixed.

The fact that you cared enough to listen and take their concerns to heart is a major relationship builder. Even when a client only has positive things to say, the fact that you ask shows that you care.

3. Share key insights.

When it comes time to share testimonials, don’t assume your clients will be bashful. When you have their permission to share, include them in the process.

Shoot them an email when you put their testimonial on the website, especially if there’s a video or photo. Tag them in social media when you share their words.

Not only will their friends then see the testimonial in their own feeds, but your client will get some time in the spotlight.

While you may think that only your younger clients will appreciate this, boomers are even more likely to see it as a big deal that they’ve been spotlighted on your website or tagged in a post. Get their sharing and testimonial preferences during onboarding, the same way you do when you ask about their communication preferences.

4. Embrace opportunities for gratitude.

For those clients that provide testimonials and allow you to share, show your appreciation.

Create a photo wall in your office with photos of your testimonial-givers and the words they’ve shared. Send a small gift to thank them for taking the time to share their opinions. Share the video and photos with them so they can use for their own social media.

These activities expand the ways you can reach out to your client and let you continue to build rapport and a level of comfort.

In the end, testimonials aren’t just good for your business. They help others understand what working with you is really like through the eyes of actual clients. And the very practice of collecting and sharing testimonials provides opportunities to give your clients a richer, deeper experience with you.

5. Consider more testimonial-focused activities.

  • Conduct a video interview during onboarding and at each annual review.
  • Post the full video on YouTube and create video snippets for sharing on social media.
  • Pull quotes from the transcript and keep in a spreadsheet with the name of the client and date of testimonial and get pre-approved by compliance. Sprinkle these quotes on the website, across social media, and even in your proposal documents and slideshows.
  • Use the transcript of the video to create a blog post about the client’s experience with you. Embed the long-form video into the blog.
  • Frame a picture of each testimonial provider along with their best quote and hang it in your office.


Mary Kate Gulick is executive vice president and head of agency for FiComm Partners.


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