A standing appointment increases reliability.

Two Simple Ways to Improve Your Reliability

When I was a bachelor, a hairstylist recommended cutting my hair every two weeks. After receiving several compliments on how good my hair always looked, I kept up that schedule with a standing appointment. With it on my calendar, I never gave it a second thought.

Fast forward to a month or so ago when all non-essential businesses shut down. It wasn’t long before I was starting to look pretty shaggy, and so I asked my wife cut my hair. All we had at home was my beard trimmer and some everyday scissors. It wasn’t the best haircut I’ve ever received, but wow, I felt a lot better!

A major consequence of the coronavirus pandemic is the feeling that everything has changed, completely upending our sense of equilibrium. Everyone is desperate for a return to some sense of normalcy and reliability.

In times of great uncertainty, financial advisors and financial planners should make every effort to increase their personal reliability. You may not be able to control the markets, but you can provide a measure of comfort and stability through your actions.

Here are two simple tips for financial advisors and financial planners to improve your reliability.

First, at the end of every interaction with clients and prospective clients, take time to clarify and confirm every action step. Decide who will do what by when.

Even if you don’t have any pressing items to work on, confirm with them when you will speak again. This gets you out of the dilemma where you don’t want to over-communicate but you don’t want to under-communicate either.

You can say something like: “As you know, my goal is to provide you with just the right amount information, and I don’t want to overwhelm you with stuff that isn’t relevant or helpful. Of course, I want you to call me at any time with your questions or concerns. My plan is to contact you again in (timeframe).  Is that OK?”

Second, make sure you document everything you commit to doing. Once your meeting or conversation is over, transfer any action items to a trusted tool like your contact management system or to-do app.

Then once you’ve completed the task, let your client know.  A quick email or text can say, “As promised, I have.…”  By communicating your action back in writing, you are adding another stone to your foundation as someone who can be relied upon.

Trust is not a onetime occurrence.  It is built or torn down with every action and interaction. While the world feels so uncertain, you can be the constant that your clients need.

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