Today more than ever, people want to know that they can trust public officials, law enforcement, educators, journalists, retailers, anyone who is in a position to serve the public.
So, it’s not surprising that prospective clients would want to have a solid basis for trusting the person who will be giving them guidance and direction in planning for their future and managing their investments.
Many will look for recommendations from another trusted professional or a family member or friend in whose judgment they have confidence. Some will check out government websites (e.g., FINRA.org, SEC.gov). Others may run a search on the website of the CFP Board.
And of course, they’ll also review your website and your social media. Presumably, they’ll read your biography, including your educational background and other credentials. No doubt, they’ll also want to know about your experience and something about the types of clients you serve and the services you provide.
What can you do to communicate your trustworthiness? Obviously, you can’t simply say, “Trust me,” as that’s a red flag for most people.
But here are a few things you can provide on your website or social media:
- A clear description of the process you use to understand everything you need to know about your client. Is it specific and does it appear to be well-thought-out?
- An explanation of the type of plan you put together for them. What information does it include and how is that information presented?
- The principles that guide your investment approach. What do you believe about investing; why do you believe it; and how does that impact how you design portfolios for your clients?
- What you believe about risk and how you manage it for your clients. How do you determine your clients’ risk capacity and risk tolerance? And how do you apply that understanding to their investments?
- Your standards for ongoing client communication and reviews. What can your clients expect from you?
- Educational opportunities you provide. How do you help your client better understand what they need to know about their finances and how to plan for their future?
Do you think your prospective clients would like to know what you stand for as a planner or advisor? How well does your website communicate trust to your clients and prospective clients?