But first, compliance
You’ve likely heard the good news for SEC-registered advisors:
Clients who give testimonials are “promotors” and there are disclosure requirements.
If you are a state-registered RIA, make sure your state allows testimonials. It runs the gamut: Some do, according to their own rules. A few do not and have no intention to do so. Some are considering adoption. Some follow SEC guidelines. Some are very quick to reply and be helpful. Some are bothered by the query and won’t answer. (I know this because I have personally contacted all 50 states to compile state-level responses…but I still triple check with your compliance department to be super sure it’s OK.)
Your compliance team still might not be comfortable with it or might have a specific way you need to solicit the testimonials. Of course, listen to them.
Moving on to the reason you’re here:
Should I really ask my clients to help me?
You are in right place.
If you’re wondering how to ask for a video testimonial, you may now find yourself coming up with more reasons why it’s a bad idea.
I know. It’s vulnerable. Vulnerability is one of my core values. Here, I’ll show you.
I once applied for a film directing program and had to get three letters of reference. It was intimidating. I ran through all the fears. Because what if they say no or they’re too busy or what if they think I’m an ego-maniac for asking? Or worse, what if they say yes and submit the equivalent of a complaint form! And a bunch more unnecessary (but perhaps relatable) worries.
But I promise it’s worth it. If your clients keep paying you and have told you before that they’re happy with your service, you can trust that: they like you.
Even if you don’t have any of these negative thoughts running through your head, you might just not be sure how to ask your customers for a video testimonial. Totally understandable. You have your clients to thank for keeping you in business and you want to be mindful of how you interact with them. That’s good! You don’t want to ask too much of them.
I’m right here with you.
Still not fully convinced it’s a good idea? Read this post first: 5 Benefits of Video Testimonials — for You AND Your Clients. Or just review the outline below:
Benefit #1: Video testimonials are like someone else giving you a personal introduction to your prospect.
Benefit #2: Video testimonials make you feel great about your business.
Benefit #3: Video testimonials give you insight into what your customers really appreciate.
Benefit #4: Your customers feel honored being asked to participate in video testimonials.
Benefit #5: Video testimonials give your customers brand exposure.
So, what’s the best way to ask for a video testimonial from your customers?
Find out if they’ve already given you a review on a public site
If you don’t have a regular habit of checking review sites like Yelp, Google, and TrustPilot, check them! (Note: your business may be listed on these sites without any action from you so it’s possible you don’t even know you’re on there…) First, get in the habit of personally thanking your clients for leaving positive reviews and addressing negative reviews as you see fit.
If you use LinkedIn, this is also a strategy you might try:
Get on LinkedIn and write recommendations for clients you want to feature (everyone appreciates an unexpected endorsement!) Of course, make sure you have something relevant and genuinely positive to say about their professionalism or the way they do business. Always be thoughtful.
Ask them for a recommendation back on LinkedIn (you may be surprised at how enthusiastic they’ll be)
From your most enthusiastic customers, ask if they would be willing to be interviewed on camera using a video testimonial questions format
Clients who have taken the time to write a positive review or endorsement—whether you’ve solicited it or not—present excellent opportunities for video testimonials for advisors. Simply find out if they would consider sharing their experience on camera as well.
Make it easy to say yes
Making it as easy as possible for your customers to say yes is key to asking. They also want to know what to expect and that they’re in good hands with the experience.
As much as your customers will want to praise you, appearing on camera is a vulnerable thing to do. Approaching your customers with a spirit of confident gratitude will help alleviate any self-consciousness they might feel about the process. Lead with your own vulnerability. Especially if you are camera-shy, get on camera yourself like I did here!
And of course, if they say no to you, just choose to believe it’s not personal. There are many legitimate reasons (or personal hangups of your clients) that might get in the way of saying yes. That’s fine. You only need a few really great customer testimonials. Part of making it easy to say yes is also making it OK to say no.
Using clear and direct language makes it easy to say yes. To make it super easy for you, we created email templates to show you some examples. You can even cut and paste directly from these.
Download 3 free email templates
Need some help writing an email asking your customers to record video testimonials? You’ll love our 3 free templates!
Template #1: Ask your customers if you can interview them yourself for video testimonials based on positive reviews they have already written and shared.
Template #2: Ask your customers for remotely-recorded video testimonials recorded by third-party pros (great for B2B, high-touch relationships!)
Template #3: Ask your customers for video testimonials recorded in person by a professional video team (great for your absolute most valuable relationships!)
Provide recording gear (possibly to keep)
When we’re hired at Authentic Advisor Video to create customer testimonials, we always give the option to borrow our remote recording gear or find out if our client prefers to gift it to participants. (Double check with your compliance officer about gifting rules.) If you can allow your participants to keep the gear, it’s a nice gesture of thanks for participating.
Even if they have gear already, it’s a good idea to provide something you know will create a result with good quality. If you’re doing a series of client testimonials, for example, consistency is key. And you don’t want to risk a gear failure.
We made a mistake early on to allow a participant-provided webcam and found out they had a filter setting on it that made it unusable. We didn’t know until the recording was complete. (At no additional cost to our client) we had to reschedule and re-record the interview, with our gear. Learn from our mistake.
Not sure what recording gear to get? We tested a lot of options and put together a remote recording gear package for around $200. We also have a subscription to a remote recording platform to avoids blips and glitches that can arise from recording video through an Internet video-streaming service such as Zoom or Google Meet.
Ring light with mini tripod
Get permission in writing
With so much focus on compliance, make sure you also communicate clearly with your client out of respect and for clarity on what you’re asking of them. From a long-term relationship perspective, make sure you have proper permissions from your customer to use the recording how you want to use it. Make sure you get all that in writing.
When clients hire us at Authentic Advisor Video to create testimonials, we provide a simple one-page agreement that spells it out. We also make it easy for all participants to sign it digitally.
Make it fun and reflective
Recording a client testimonial is an opportunity to shift the focus a bit and give your clients a rare chance to reflect on their experience with you in a new way. Making it fun and reflective is a great way to further your relationship with them.
It’s likely that they said yes to your request to participate because you’ve played a significant role in their financial health and possibly even contributed greatly to positive life transformation. How cool! Offering space to share and reflect on this experience can be really powerful for your clients as well as your firm.
Wondering what to ask in a recorded interview to generate a client testimonial?
Start with these: 8 Great Video Testimonial Questions and Why They Work
And don’t forget to enjoy the things they share about you! Receive their story and their praise with gratitude. It might feel natural to be bashful about it—just enjoy!
Make it easy for your customer to say yes by telling them what to expect and equipping them with gear.
Make sure you and your video team are familiar with and adhere to rules related to client testimonial videos.
Remember to enjoy this as a fun reflection process! It really feels amazing to get those positive praises. Well done, you earned it.
Even if you know what to do, finding time can be challenging. If you need help along the way, don’t hesitate to reach out to professionals.