Trust in Me: Is a Trusted Advisor an outdated cliché or does it pay?
In the Financial Services Industry, becoming a Trusted Advisor has been seen as the ultimate goal when interacting with both prospects and clients. Has this term become overused and outdated? Some Sales experts believe in some instances, it has. Check out Collen Francis, at Engage Selling’s view on the term in her two-minute video Graduate From Trusted Advisor to Object of Interest.
The term Trusted Advisor has a place in our Industry. Recently I was speaking to an Advisor who said he was struggling with conveying his unique value. He said that many Financial Services Platforms offer about the same menu of Products and Services. He asked, “With all the offerings being similar, how do I become a Trusted Advisor?” It’s a good question and it sparked me to remember how crucial it is to develop a relationship with your client that is based on trust. Moreover, this must be the basis of the relationship starting with the very first contact.
Now for you veterans out there, and I know there are many, you know that earning customer trust is a process. The key question, when we prospect, is how can we accelerate the trust-building process. In this blog post, we will discuss five key questions in a prospect’s mind that need to be answered to develop a Trust-Based Selling relationship. These answers can be used when you speak to prospects or clients, updating your marketing material, or enhancing your web presence (if your Compliance allows).
What are your background, experience, and qualifications?
Prospective clients need to know that their potential advisor has sufficient training, knowledge, and experience to advise them on the issues that matter most to them and more importantly, on the issues they may not be aware of. This question will also allow you to speak about professional qualifications and designations such as a CFA, CIM, or CFP. In addition, successful Advisors have often entered into the profession after many years of working with entrepreneurs and other like-minded people that may later become their clients. An Advisor who was a former business owner is a perfect example of this, thus possessing the unique ability (vs. others) of truly understanding and specializing in business owners’ challenges and investment portfolios. Having a particular niche such as this is an excellent way to gain trust and further grow the business.
How are you compensated?
This may seem like a relatively straightforward question, however, in an environment where fees are increasingly scrutinized, and clients are trained to be suspicious (think discount broker television ads), it is important to be as transparent and forthcoming as possible. Highlight any referral or commission agreements in place, what is included in your fees, what is extra, etc.
Are we a good fit?
Focus on the type of clients you and the team typically work with. If possible, use client testimonials to personalize your story and further enhance credibility. Potential clients are looking for someone they feel comfortable speaking with and with whom they can be open and honest in sharing their hopes, fears, dreams, etc. It is important that you convey in your message that what is important to them is important to you.
What role does technology play in your business?
Technology is becoming more and more engrained into financial services, whether it is employed in trading tools and automation, facilitating timely trades and the delivery of sophisticated strategies, or creating enhanced risk management techniques to allocate investor capital. Regardless of your comfort with technology, be aware that younger investors tend to favour financial advice that is easily integrated with their technological world (e.g. access to portfolios, money transfers, client communication, etc.). Using some of the tools at your disposal now, or potentially investing in technology, may help the team develop a solid pipeline of new clients and prospects. In addition, introducing technology has proven to help create efficiencies and increase profitability.
Can I trust my Advisor to help me reach my goals and objectives?
This last question provides you the chance to showcase your team’s added value. Explaining how portfolios and investments are created and customized to client needs will illustrate your team’s ability to create income and build the wealth required for your clients to retire comfortably. You will also want to circle back to the value-added professional services offered (financial, tax, and estate planning, legal, etc.). Illustrating how your team can assist with the client’s investment needs as well as their interests can be a powerful inducement to trust and work with you.
All these critical questions for new clients will help you in demonstrating your accessibility, personal competence, and transparency while you lay the foundation for a trust-based relationship. Whatever plan you create for your client must relate to the client’s goals as well as their situation.
For more than 25 years, I have worked with Advisors helping them build their businesses. My commitment to you is to partner with you in your practice and offer solutions to help build your business.
Investment involves risk, uncertainty and assumptions. The value of investments rise and fall and there is a risk you may not recoup the amount originally invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.
The contents of this blog are the personal views of the author and not necessarily the views of Caldwell Investment Management Ltd. The views expressed, while based on current market conditions and information, they are subject to change without notice and as such, there can be no assurance that actual results will not differ materially from such expectations. The comments are an illustration of broader themes and intended to be for general information purposes only.
Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future results as they involve uncertainties and assumptions; there can be no assurance that actual results will not differ materially from expectations.
The contents are provided as general in nature and should not be relied upon nor construed to be the rendering of specific tax, legal, accounting or professional investment advice. Readers should consult with their own accountants, lawyers and/or financial advisors for advice on their specific circumstances before taking any action.
The information contained herein is from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy cannot be guaranteed. No representations or warranty, expressed or implied is made by Caldwell Investment Management Ltd. or its affiliates.