According to Investopedia, the pressure is on for advisors to build trust. Consumer research from 2021 indicated that Americans have a lower level of trust in financial advisors than they do in banks, insurance companies and credit card companies.
So how exactly can you build your credibility and trust with consumers, both clients and prospects alike? We have some ideas for you to consider.
- Keep your digital properties up to date.
In order to increase your credibility, you need to remember that first of all, most people don’t know that you exist as a financial advisor. Once they have learned your name and are curious about who you are and what you do, they expect to be able to research you online.
Depending on the research study you read, between 70% and 90% of consumers will visit a website online before they decide to shop or do business with a company, and they expect the information they find on a website to be accurate. Yellow Pages and phone book publishers are a thing of the past; it’s incumbent upon businesses to keep their own digital information up to date.
While most advisors today have a website when we begin working with them, many of these websites are out of date, show services the advisor no longer offers, feature personnel that are no longer with the firm, or have old addresses or contact information.
In addition to relying on search and website results, 80% of consumers have at least one personal social media account. In between liking cat videos, consumers research businesses on social media, too. We sometimes meet with advisors who have completely lost control of their business’s social media accounts, have a LinkedIn personal account that says they still work for a previous employer, or have a business Facebook page which hasn’t posted anything at all since 2018.
Imagine if you were seeking an advisor or firm to manage your life savings. What would you expect from that firm’s digital presence? We help our advisor partners with this important aspect of building credibility.
- Shoot a video and post it on a branded YouTube channel.
YouTube videos tend to rank in search engine results if they are optimized correctly with your name and firm name. And people love to watch videos, so these videos can also be used on your website, as well as emailed to your clients and prospects.
In addition to helping you rank in search, videos allow people to “get to know” you before they meet you. Remember, potential prospects have no idea who you are, but if they see you on video, they will feel that they know you. Don’t you feel like you know every TV personality because you’ve seen and watched them before?
By appearing on camera to share information about what you do specific to your area of expertise, you’ve actually crossed a big barrier that was standing in the way of your potential success. People would rather meet and work with someone they know rather than a complete stranger. So, if you’re asking for people to call or contact you to set up a complimentary consultation on your website, you should have at least one video available for them to watch in order to increase the likelihood that they will take that next step.
Quantum has a large high-definition studio, multiple video cameras, lighting, backgrounds, videographers, scriptwriters, video editors and on-air talent to help our advisor partners with this important aspect of building credibility. Making you instantly credible and comfortable on video is our goal.
- Have a biography and professional photo on your website.
Very similar to video, having an up-to-date biography and professional headshot on your website allows people to feel they know you before they will take that step to meet with you in person, before potentially hiring you to manage their money or life savings.
Some people are readers, especially analytical people. Will they read your bio? The answer is no in most cases, no matter how short it is. Only if they are serious about hiring you will they spend the time reading your bio, deciding if you are the kind of person they can trust with their money. They will also examine your photo, so make sure it’s not a low-resolution selfie, but instead is professional and represents you accurately.
NOTE: Remember, it’s not just people, Google artificial intelligence indexes and “reads” your bio and ranks your photo as well. Your bio needs to live on its own web page URL so that you will rank for your name in search, not be part of a larger page with other people on it. We see this mistake a lot.
We have professional writers, SEO specialists, photographers and web developers who can help our advisor partners with this important aspect of building credibility.
- Be a real person.
Your credentials, training, talent and math skills are essential when it comes to financial matters, of course. But letting people get to know the real you is just as important in our industry, because money is a very personal, emotional and intimate matter. Research shows that clients want advisors who they feel actually care about them, and they’re more likely to refer you to family and friends if they feel a bond with you.
You don’t have to be on call 24/7, but your professional and personal life may be more blended than with other careers. You don’t have to be best friends, and you can still have boundaries because there are many different ways to bond with clients, from having kids the same age, to sharing a hobby, to being fans of the same sports or teams. Through the years, you may find ways to have more fun with clients by holding special client events or hosting unique outings.
Interestingly, people feel closer to and better about people who listen and ask thoughtful questions rather than talking excessively and downloading a lot of technical information and industry jargon. Keep this in mind at all times.
Letting clients get to know the real you can go a long way toward s retention and referrals, and Quantum helps our advisor partners stay on top of this important part of building and keeping client trust.
- Be holistic.
The experts in the financial services industry continue to report that clients want more from their financial advisor than just investment portfolio management. They expect advisors to help them with debt planning, tax planning, estate planning, retirement planning, and financial planning in order to reach specific financial milestones that are important to them.
At Quantum, we are uniquely able to provide solutions that can protect generational wealth from excess taxation, offer potential growth, and provide protection from many different risks, including market risk in retirement.
Many of our advisor partners have found that by providing client-centric insurance and annuities to help fill financial gaps, deliver tax advantages, and provide guarantees, they can retain clients during periods of market volatility, leading to increased credibility, trust, and ultimately, referability.
If you are a financial advisor, don’t hesitate to call Quantum at 800.440.1088 to discuss a potential partnership.
With nearly a decade in the financial services industry, Kyle has become one of the top consultants in the industry. His passion is helping advisors grow by leveraging their strengths and helping them improve on any areas of weakness.