By Binh Nguyen
Since 2008, a trend of distrust has been on the rise. According to Personal Capital Corp., only 30 percent of Americans reported to trusting stockbrokers more than Uber drivers. An even more recent study from The National Association of Retirement Plan Participants showed consumer trust in financial companies has fallen from 13 percent in 2015 to just 8 percent today. This increase in consumer wariness towards financial professionals and institutions correlates with the current lack of public confidence in the government, which also shows a low statistic.
A mere eight percent of Americans would feel comfortable with you handling their finances. So, how can you earn the trust of the other 92 percent?
This anti-establishment mentality can heavily impact the relationship between you and your clients. That’s why it is important to be proactive in mending the trust gap between the two by utilizing these 10 relationship marketing strategies:
- Stay engaged with clients’ celebrations through social media
Your clients, aside from being business transactions, are people. People have things to celebrate—birthdays, engagements, award honors, promotions, anniversaries, the list goes on. When you stay on the pulse of their personal success, you are sending the message that you care. Caring strengthens relationships. So go ahead and write that post on their Facebook!
- Don’t hide your personality
When connecting with clients, don’t be anything less than your true self. Of course, it’s important to stay professional, but when you communicate in a less formal nature with a client, you are humanizing your relationship. It’s okay to laugh a little or to get excited, and it’s definitely okay to show your personality. Clients want you to produce results, and you can produce results without being stiff, formal or conventional.
- Show that there is a person or people behind the brand
It’s easy to say that you are genuine and authentic, but it only truly resonates through your actions. Your clients hired you for a reason—because they know you are competent at your job. Beyond that, make sure you show that you aren’t just your brand, but also a person. Have conversations with them about things that don’t pertain to finance. Ask them how their day was, and tell them about your own. Cultivating this type of communication makes your connection to them more personable.
- The three A’s: Be accessible, accountable and accommodating
Aside from strengthening your relationship with your clients through personal ventures, make sure you are staying on top of your duties as an advisor. Trust is built when the client feels that they can reach you at any point in time, knows that you are responsible for the decisions made and actions taken and requests inquiries from you that tends to their specific needs. These three A’s will take you a step further than the rest when it comes to client trust in your services.
- Think about being a transformational leader
Using emotional intelligence can be an advantage to your relationship-building with clients and employees. Being a transformational leader means that you are proactive about sharing your vision with others and helping others reach their visions. When you share your personal story with clients about why you are a financial advisor and where you see the future going, you are giving them a glimpse of who you are. Alternatively, when they open up to you about their vision, you’re able to help them accomplish their financial goals, showing how receptive and resourceful you are.
- Make perceived risk and risk-reduction a priority
Clients will often ask you questions about risk-related financial scenarios, and it is your job to educate and at times relieve them of those thoughts. Building credibility and trust starts with reassuring your clients. Share with them your knowledge, and effectively communicate the ways that risk might affect them.
- Make connecting with your brand simple
When you make it easy for clients and prospective clients to understand the services that you offer, you are giving them access to learn more about you. Most people like simple and easy-to-understand, especially if they are paying you to do the complex work for them. If your brand is user-friendly and reachable on all social media platforms, clients will be more motivated to trust and connect with you.
- Understanding reliability is key
When an individual agrees to work with you as their financial advisor, they are trusting you to take care of their money as if it were yours. Many are solely dependent on you for financial advice, suggestions and even guidance. Clients who know they can rely on you will also know that they can trust you.
- Stay consistent with your results
It’s all about showing, not telling. The best and fastest way to build trust with your client is to produce positive results that exceed their initial expectations. It’s essential to listen to what your client wants and deliver on any promises made. Be sure to stay on the pulse of their account for consistency and make sure to periodically explain the information to them.
- Stay in touch after business is finished
As Charlie Cook once said, “Communication isn’t the only ingredient for developing trust, but it’s a critical one.” Even after your relationship with the client isn’t transaction-based anymore, it is important to still communicate with them. In a web-based society, it’s as easy as one-click to stay connected via social media. Staying in touch with your client post-business will show that you care for the relationship—you never know when your paths might cross again.
Use these tips to help stop the mistrust trend and begin strengthening trust instead.
Binh Nguyen is a Marketing Associate at Flackable, a national public relations agency supporting the communications needs of registered investment advisors (RIAs) and other forward-thinking financial services firms. To learn more about Flackable, please visit www.flackable.com