How much time and effort should an advisor invest with a prospective client if the advisor becomes convinced that the client is unlikely to hire them?
A client’s reluctance to hire a particular advisor may stem from a number of factors. Therefore, in the interest of clarity and for our discussion, let’s assume the client has a legitimate psychological condition which causes them to be suspicious and hinders their ability to trust. I’m not suggesting the client is mentally impaired, simply programmed by the past.
I suspect this may be more common than we might think, especially as more and more clients cross paths with unethical advisors. In this post, we’ll address this type of situation, and drawing on personal experience, explore some of the underlying reasons and what an advisor may be able to do to help this type of client.
What should an advisor do when confronted by a client with trust issues? Before walking away, assuming the advisor and client wish to continue, it may be wise to explore some possible solutions. In doing so, the advisor may also help the client learn how to trust again. Here are a few steps to consider when faced with this type of individual.
1) Confirm their inability to trust
2) Uncover the specifics behind their inability to trust
3) Validate their reasons and feelings
4) Develop a plan to move forward
First, you must confirm that they have an inability to trust. If you come right out and ask, “Do you have a hard time trusting others?” the relationship may end right there. This depends on the individual’s particular personality and whether or not you’ve earned the right to ask such a question.
You’ll need to judge this carefully and based on their personality, gender and temperament, you must decide when and how to ask.
Next, you need to uncover the specifics. For example, assuming they had a bad experience with an advisor in the past, you should do what you can to draw this out of them. Let them vent if they desire. Also, you should understand that it has nothing to do with you.
If you can get them to discuss the specifics (only if they want to), it can be a healing episode for them and they may come to view you as a genuine, caring individual.