Is Trust An Issue For Financial Advisers?

(Hey … even if you’re not a Financial Adviser, read on because this applies to us all in business and especially in sales roles).

It’s not an unfair observation to think until the Royal Commission into Banking and Financial Services that trust was just not an important topic … until it was.

However, the answer to this post’s title question is No … it’s not trust that’s an issue … it’s Trustworthiness.

But first … Let’s Talk About Success

The success of any financial advice practice depends on the right mix of new, retained and referral clients.

Other than growth by acquisition, let’s consider two specific and proven strategies for an Adviser’s business to flourish.

Referral Clients

In the pursuit of referral clients, the aim of every financial adviser is for their retained clients to proactively demonstrate their belief and experience in the trustworthiness of their adviser by referring potential new clients.

New Clients

In the pursuit of new clients (other than by referral), the aim of every financial adviser is to create a brand and experience that their target clients discover through word of mouth, word of web (social media), or through other marketing and advertising strategies.

Now let’s return to the topic of trust and trustworthiness.

Core to both these strategies is the requirement for the adviser to demonstrate their trustworthiness.

What then is trustworthiness?

To be worthy of existing and potential client trust, each adviser needs to be able to proactively demonstrate three core ingredients of trustworthiness:

  1. Competence – this goes far beyond technical knowledge and includes their capacity to engage the hearts and minds of potential and existing clients to fully engage with and take appropriate action on pursuing and gaining the value of financial advice.
  2. Character – this is so much more than truth, integrity, and ethics. While all important, core to an adviser’s character is their social/emotional intelligence and capacity to empathize and demonstrate an alignment of their personal values with the personal values by which their existing and potential clients live their lives by.
  3. Consistency – while it’s easy to demonstrate competence and character, to be consistent especially in disruptive, competitive, and difficult times, requires a level of ‘confident-acceptance’ by advisers. This means not only for themselves as an adviser, but also, being able to help and coach their clients into realizing and accepting that life isn’t always easy, to plan and manage what they can control, and to not stress over those things beyond their control.

You already know that your trustworthiness will impact almost every measure of success in your professional and personal life.

However, be careful not to take your trustworthiness for granted.

Taking a realistic appraisal of what you are doing to proactively demonstrate your competence, character and consistency might open a window into new ways to earn new, retained and referral clients.

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