We’ve all heard the popular saying that trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair. As accurate as it is, what happens when you don’t have years to build someone’s trust?
With trust at the foundation of the client acquisition process, everything you say and do is being evaluated by potential clients — for good or for bad. When someone’s financial future and wellbeing is at stake, they usually aren’t inclined to let just anyone manage their assets or create a plan.
That’s why you need to proactively identify opportunities to insert credibility signals into your interactions with prospects in the pipeline.
Let’s look at five ways you can demonstrate your trustworthiness.
In marketing, there tends to be an emphasis on hiding your flaws and boasting about how amazing you are, but there’s nothing that earns trust faster than being brutally honest.
Recognize what you excel at while also being willing to admit your shortcomings. If a prospect asks you something you are unaware of, or wants to work with someone who specializes in something you don’t have a lot of experience with, own up to that. Even if you have to say: “That’s not an area where I am quite as comfortable, but let me do some research and get back to you.” You will send a powerful signal that you are trustworthy.
INVEST IN QUALITY
First impressions are always important, especially when you’re trying to earn new clients. Everything from your firm’s branding to the cleanliness of your office should be a reflection of you and your personality.
Here are two of the most underrated but essential areas to employ (payroll or outsourced) to ensure a trust-enhancing experience:
- Designer — Hiring an innovative creator or design firm to ensure that all your marketing materials are modern and professional. If your branding is outdated, prospects may assume your thought process is outdated, too. Rather than being overrated, quality design can actually help drive your business objectives.
- Receptionist — The individual answering your phones and responding to emails is your connection to the outside world. You’re going to want someone who is enthusiastic, professional and reliable to fill this role. If you aren’t ready for a full-time employee, there are plenty of virtual assistants out there who are amazing.
Capitalize on specific, positive testimonials. If a client sends you a positive email, ask them if you can use it on your website. Similarly, if a client leaves a nice voicemail, see if they’re willing to let you use that audio sound bite on your podcast.
Then, proceed to use these endorsements in an email drip campaign. Email is the largest and most reliable traffic source for advisors after all. Demonstrating that people enjoy working with you boosts your reputation and allows prospects to get a feel for the quality of your ongoing relationships.
Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews, too. You can even develop a simple script to help you request a testimonial.
INTRODUCE CLIENTS TO PROSPECTS
Staggering your meetings so that prospects encounter current clients and planning social events that both parties are invited to can facilitate valuable conversations. Prospects can quickly identify how genuine your client base is and experience fear of missing out, better known as FOMO, for not working with you, prompting them to take action.
At events or in your office, consider facilitating introductions by telling clients how you and so-and-so prospect are considering working together. You’ll be amazed how quickly clients will respond with “They’re amazing! You’re going to love working with them!” in a way that will work wonders for moving the prospect forward.
One of my peers takes a unique approach to introducing prospective clients to his firm by taking the familial welcomeness to a whole new level.
He has decorated his firm’s office walls with pictures of his clients’ grandkids to remind him that his efforts have an impact, and to show visitors that the legacy they’re planning for is generations deep. In addition to being a unique conversation starter, it makes people feel like the office is a home away from home.
ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
Getting to know your prospects and determining what they’re looking for requires more than reading off a list of generic questions and checking off boxes. Of course, you will have basic questions you need to ask to build a foundation, but deeper, thought-provoking questions will do more to build trust.
I recommend the PAS method, which stands for Problem, Agitate, Solve. In short, you want to get to the bottom of their issues with basic questions like, “Why are you looking for help? What are the biggest money issues that keep you up at night?”
Then agitate by digging deeper on the perceived problems. “Can you expound on that? Why is this such a big problem? How does this issue make you feel?” In other words, push beyond their first answer to find the emotion behind their issues.
Lastly, move into solve mode, where you propose how specifically you can help and why they should work with you.
As with most things in life, building trust takes time. By incorporating these trust-building methods into your process, you will build relationships faster and increase the likelihood that more prospects will turn into clients.
Robert Sofia is the CEO of the digital marketing firm Snappy Kraken.
Find this series on fintechforadvisers.com.
Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He’s also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.