Building trust is a crucial part of selling. It’s all about helping prospects answer two questions: First, has an advisor behaved unethically in the past, suggesting a flawed character? And second, is the person still engaging in unethical practices today, indicating a threat of current fraud?
Prospects must answer both questions in order to get comfortable with their advisor. How to help them? By understanding that what we’re really talking about here is the importance of being transparent (the first question) and the necessity of acting as a fiduciary (the second).
But I’d go even further. Since most advisors today are focusing on transparency and on putting clients first, you must do and say something dramatically different to set yourself apart. Here’s how:
- Buy a background check on yourself so that consumers cannot question your level of transparency.
- Make a compelling gesture that says you’ll never, ever put your own interests ahead of the client’s.
In this column, we’ll address the first bullet, and in the next, we’ll explore the second.
So why commission a background check on yourself? Because the standard transparency strategies only take you so far.
Sure, you want to discuss your background extensively on your website. And you want to increase your online exposure by building a LinkedIn page, along with personal profiles on sites such as Ethics.net (provided by my firm, the National Ethics Association). And you want to have a compliant business brochure, with ethics and confidentiality statements front and center (and on your website, too).