August 6, 2008

The "T" Word

Gaining a client's trust is an important part of securing the relationship. Karen Altfest gives four rules of thumb in her book "Keeping Clients for Life" to help advisors gain clients' confidence.

Don't overload them with information. "Never tell your client you are unsure about which way to go," Altfest says. "Explain your thinking clearly and the pros and cons of various actions, then -- with your client -- pick the option that most closely fits the need and keep to it."

Keep your self-doubt to yourself. How will your clients believe in you if you don't, Altfest asks. Share your inferiority complex with your friends and family, but keep it out of the office.

Client appointments are sacred. Your client may attribute canceled or postponed appointments to incompentence or disinterest. Once an appointment is set, stick to it.

Follow through. Simply put, if you say you're going to do something, do it. "Reliability is everything in an advisor," Altfest says.

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