In last month’s newsletter, I shared the key results of the Edelman Trust Barometer 2015, in which we saw continuing challenges for the financial services industry in relation to trust. However we also saw that trust in the financial services industry is growing faster than any other sector so the graph is definitely moving in the right direction!
I got a lot of feedback in relation to this article, thanks for all your likes and comments – much appreciated as ever. A few people asked me what financial brokers should do to build trust. So here goes! Here are a few ways that I think really help to build trust.
Communicate what you do
One of the most important ways to build trust is by communicating really clearly with clients about what you do. Many people don’t really know what a financial broker does and how they actually work with you. You can give huge levels of comfort by walking the client through your advice process in detail, showing them what to expect and the value that you will add. This will help to remove any doubts in their mind.
Provide client testimonials
Seek these out continually, they are really important. In my book, you need to seek permission to use the client’s actual name (and logo if a company). Testimonials from “John H, Dublin” don’t really count – in fact someone might suspect they are made up! Genuine client testimonials are really powerful – who can advocate for you better than people who you’ve helped in the past, whose lives you have potentially changed?
Seek recommendations on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a really important platform for financial brokers; it’s where many prospective clients will check you out before picking up the phone to you. After all, when you Google your name, the chances are that your LinkedIn profile will appear high up the search results. Recommendations from clients on your LinkedIn profile are a very powerful endorsement of your services, so look for these at every opportunity. They are great trust builders. LinkedIn endorsements (the little pictures beside your skills) are useful too, but to be honest add limited value as they are so easily gained.
Presence in mainstream press
Some advisers have built up great profiles by regularly appearing in “Opinion” columns in national newspapers and some even building positions as regular commentators on TV and radio. These are great for building trust, as they demonstrate your industry knowledge and authenticity as a voice worth listening too.
Sounds simple? If I was a CFP, I’d tell everyone at every opportunity! Why not advertise the fact that you are part of a highly qualified cohort? Prospective clients will value the fact that you are investing in yourself and are willing to learn to stay at the frontier of providing financial advice. I’m working with a financial broker at the moment who is a CFP and studying for his tax exams as we speak. Now apart from that being a really powerful proposition for clients, it will also hugely help him to achieve high levels of trust among clients.
There are of course many more ways of building trust; advertising awards that you win, communicating your opinions with your clients via newsletters and being active on social media. Hopefully the ideas above will give you a few pointers as to how you can continue to build trust with your clients and prospective clients.