Question: Since the Good Life depends on possessing supreme trust, which great thinker tells us how to find it?

  • Descarte (“To do is to be”)?
  • Voltaire (“To be is to do”)?
  • Frank Sinatra (“Do be do be do”)?

Answer: Ol’ Blue Eyes, of course.

Here’s why: The key to building trust hinges on both doing and being. In prior columns, I discussed specific actions that build more trust — such as becoming more credible through professional education and following through on all of your commitments. I also talked about the importance of full disclosure as a strategy for building trust.

But you can take these steps — and others — to build trust and still wind up with doubting clients. That’s because trustworthy actions must come from trustworthy people. In other words, doing without being doesn’t inspire trust. Consumers want an advisor whose total personality breeds trust — whose total being, not just isolated actions, instills confidence.

Does this describe you? If not, don’t worry. It’s not too late to add “being” to your “doing” in the trust department. Here are some points to consider:

  • Trustworthy advisors take a genuine interest in their clients and really listen to what they say. You’ll never see such an advisor losing focus during a client session. You will see them using open-ended questions and confirming questions to make sure they heard the client’s concerns correctly.
  • Trustworthy advisors believe in their souls that they and their clients sit on the same side of the table. You’ll never see such advisors enrich themselves at the expense of their clients.
  • Trustworthy advisors seem to be hard-wired for humility and respect, regardless of a person’s net worth or social standing. You’ll never see a trustworthy advisor treating a waiter or other service industry person with disrespect.
  • Trustworthy advisors are optimistic about life. You’ll never find them thinking the light at the end of the tunnel is just another approaching train. Rather, they’ll view it as another adventure about to unfold. Such individuals are likely to spend their last $20 on a money belt even if it means going hungry today.
  • Trustworthy advisors have incredible tolerance for the quirks of others. Like Jerry Seinfeld watching George’s or Kramer’s latest fiasco unfold, they just sit back and enjoy the people around them without getting annoyed or impatient. You’ll never see them sneering at the characters in life’s parade.
  • Finally, trustworthy advisors have a deep-seated compassion for their fellow man. They care about money, but they care more about the welfare of their clients. You’ll never see them derive more energy and enjoyment from their wallet than from working with people.

So as you contemplate how to put more trust in your life, here’s the bottom line. Do the right things. Be the right person. And put your do-be-do’s together like Sinatra, baby.