Unlocking Real Value Blog

It’s All About Trust, Trust, Trust

Hardly a day goes by that I don’t read one study or another, or see a poll that indicates that the public level of confidence in the financial services industry remains very low. And usually the answer why is the same – a lack of trust. Trust is our equivalent to real estate’s Location, Location, Location. Its’ All About Trust, Trust, Trust – that’s it in a nutshell – that’s what matters to investors.

So if we all know that you have to gain an investors trust, why are so many in our industry having trouble either understanding this, or in gaining it? I read an interesting article recently that not only talked about trust between advisors and clients, but between advisors and the investment companies (e.g., mutual funds) that they work with. What was most interesting to me was that advisors are looking for the exact  same thing in the companies that they work with that clients look for in advisors.

So why the disconnect? Why are advisors in general able to articulate what they want from investment partners but unable to demonstrate the same traits to the people that they want to do business with them? Why can’t we as an industry gain the public’s trust?

First, lets look at the traits that are most important on the advisor side. They want firms they work with to be ethical, trustworthy and easy to business with. These traits are more important to them than cost. In addition, many advisors seem to be reducing the number of firms that they are working with in order to be able to do a better job of due diligence – they want to work with a smaller number of partners who they know well and can trust.

Hmmm – sounds familiar? That’s exactly what clients want – they don’t want to have a lot of advisors – they want someone that is ethical, that they can trust and that is easy to work with.

So where is the disconnect – why can’t many advisors demonstrate to their clients that they are ethical, trustworthy and easy to do business with?

Much has to do with the fact that clients don’t understand what the advisor is really offering – what the “brand” is. If an advisor doesn’t effectively articulate what his value-added proposition is and what makes him different – and better – than the competition, then naturally the client will focus on either price or product – and inevitably not be happy.

The clients of successful advisors can tell you why they do business with their advisor. So, maybe, if your’e an advisor, you should ask the question – the answer might help you reposition or redefine your message. Ask yourself the question, ask your clients the question. In fact, just by asking clients the question, and showing clients that you trust and value their opinion, you are probably starting to increase trust!

Its All About Trust, Trust, Trust.

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