For as long as advisers have wanted to convince prospective clients of the value of what you do, client testimonials have played their part.

    Testimonials help to build trust; they provide external evidence that you do a good job and that you deliver on your promises.

    Testimonials have evolved and the growth of review sites has meant firms actively pursue client feedback as a means of achieving competitive advantage.

    The simple testimonial from ‘MK, Surrey’ has become something more compelling and engaging; it’s led to the introduction of ‘the client story’.

    The client story, delivered through the medium of video, is probably one of the most compelling pieces of marketing collateral available when looking to convert prospects. In terms of building trust with a prospect you’re yet to meet, there are few better ways.

    What value does video provide?

    Financial planning and advice is all about people and relationships. Underpinning this is trust. Prospects need to know you’ll do a good job and be the right type of firm for them but overall, they need to trust you.

    Video brings to life your proposition and makes it real. It informs the prospect what type of experience they will get, whether you work with people like them and the value they will receive.

    There’s no better way of telling prospects what you do than through your clients. As much as you may talk about your six-stage approach and your evidence-based investment process, it’s your clients who can really put into words the value of working with you.

    But using video comes with a warning: done badly, videos can undermine a proposition and do more harm than good.

    What does ‘good’ look like?

    There are a number of important areas to consider. Here are a few:

    Authenticity matters

    The most powerful videos are those that convey clients’ honest personal stories. This makes the films warm, watchable and relatable to potential future clients.

    It's worth trying to take a slightly different ‘angle’ of lifestyle or circumstances from each client. It’s about their world, as this is what prospects will relate to, rather than being all about your advice process.

    Ask the right questions

    We would suggest not having the adviser present and using a good interviewer, someone who can make the client feel relaxed.

    The best interview style is to have a wide-ranging, relaxed conversation, gently leading the discussion to the key areas you want to get across, but being open to the possibility of them saying unexpected and brilliant things.

    Vary the locations

    Videos of clients in your office telling stories about you can look staged. Better to use different locations - even if it’s in the same building! A client in their own surroundings often works best.

    High production quality

    We're not shooting the next Oscar winner here, but quality matters. Expect to shoot up to 30 minutes of footage for a 90-second video.

    Also, don’t try and do them yourselves unless you have the expertise.

    Lighting, multiple angles and sound all add to the quality of the end result. Professionals know this stuff and are worth the investment - they’ll also provide a view on a visual style that aligns to your brand.

    Choose the right clients

    These will be the kind of clients you want more of. Consider the type of clients you want to attract and how you work - it's better to interview couples if that’s who you work with rather than just one partner.

    You also want your clients to come across well, so post-production editing is important to help achieve this.

    The most common mistakes

    Poor production quality. If the end result looks cheap, so will your proposition.

    Choosing the wrong clients. They have to be aligned to your target market, eloquent and be good in front of the camera.

    Poor location choice. A background of filing cabinets and 80s wallpaper isn’t going to present the best image.

    Who does it well?

    We’ve seen a very mixed bag over the last couple of years but a couple that stand out are those produced by First Wealth and Henwood Court.

    Both use their videos in slightly different ways but what’s clear is they provide a prospect with a compelling insight into the value they will experience from the firm.

    If you want to accelerate your growth, communicate a compelling proposition and win more clients, it’s probably time to start thinking video.

    Yours,

    JP, Cheshire.

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