Trust is a financial advisor’s most valuable asset. Building trust in every step of a client’s journey from the very beginning of the relationship creates a long-lasting and authentic partnership. With an ever-changing financial advisory landscape in technological advances and regulatory changes, being able to distinguish yourself is becoming more important than ever. Creating rapport, especially as the market is in a volatile stage, proves to your client you are confident in managing their portfolio. We’ve outlined three tactics financial advisors can adopt to cultivate trust with their clients.
There are many different touchpoints during an advising relationship where a financial advisor can build a healthy culture of transparency with their client. Having transparency and honest conversations right upfront will act as building blocks for a deep client relationship down the road. There are few keys areas where transparency is vital as you are building a working relationship with your client:
- Fees: Research shows that 45% of wealth management clients do not trust their advisors to charge them fairly, according to the Global Wealth Management Report. You should be completely open about your fee structure and the services you offer.
- Missing Deadlines: Although it can be a tough conversation, being accountable for missing a deadline is imperative to maintaining honesty with your client. Explaining to your client what happened and your plan to fix the mistake can go a long way in building trust with your client.
Listening and Communication
Being a good listener and practicing proactive communication is essential to maintaining and building trust with your client. Being attentive to your client and hearing their specific wants and needs will help you uncover areas where you can implement tailored strategies that your client may not have been aware of. Gathering as much information from your client as possible will help you make informed decisions for an effective financial plan.
Another tip that can be effective in communication is being wary of the financial terminology you use in conversations. Throwing around “financial jargon” (i.e. fiduciary, consumer price index, commodities) can be tempting to use around clients; however, it can often lead to distrust. Alternatively, defining these terms clearly and breaking down any abstraction into easier-to-learn concepts can be a great way to differentiate yourself from the competition.
Lastly, maintaining consistent communication with your clients is key to a successful client relationship. Taking time to check in regularly builds confidence in your clients and gives them a feeling of familiarity. This allows them to feel more comfortable, which will help them open up about financial questions or concerns about investments later down the road. These types of conversations also don’t have to strictly be directly related to financial planning -- genuine conversations about life events can go a long way and can even open up the doors to talk about something related to their future planning goals. You can implement this by planning a scheduled rotation of touchpoints throughout the year.
Your clients are trusting you with their life savings and income to keep their families safe and secure -- which is about as personal as it gets! Simple and thoughtful gestures such as sending out handwritten cards for major life milestones, birthdays, or thank you notes can go a very long way and build an intimate client/advisor relationship. Additionally, being genuinely interested in their financial state and showing empathy towards their current life situation is essential in establishing trust.
Trust isn’t simply given to you by your client; it is earned and doesn’t develop overnight. The key to a long-lasting partnership is rooted in trust and is the number one reason why a client will stay with you. A study by Vanguard showed that 94% of clients are likely to make a referral when they have highly trusted advisors. Clients with high levels of trust were also more than twice as likely to offer a referral, as opposed to those who had only a small amount of trust in their advisors. Advisors who cultivate trust will find that it takes a substantial amount of time but will eventually reap benefits by gaining higher client retention and referral rates.
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Posted by Lana Dalton
Lana is a Happiness Champion (aka Relationship Manager) at AdvicePay and loves helping enterprise users implement and optimize the AdvicePay platform. After graduating from the University of Washington in Seattle, Lana spent the past three years working in the tech industry, helping organizations implement software, create training content, and establish onboarding processes. When she’s not helping our enterprise users, you can find Lana trail running, backcountry skiing, and cooking different types of cuisine.