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Build Trust Quickly With Clients

Updated: Dec 16, 2019

Trust. It’s everything. It’s the key to success when you first begin a relationship. It’s the key to maintaining a relationship with your clients. How do you build trust? How do you build it quickly? People who figure it out are often times far more successful in the financial services industry that those who continue to struggle with it over the years. So, how have we built trust?

older couple on boat pointing into distance
Clear Financial Partners Clients

Well, going back to no one cares what you know until they know that you care. It’s a really helpful insight for you to understand how you can initially build trust. People like you better when you’re interested in them, not interesting. Be interested, not interesting. Ask them about themselves to learn more about them. You’d be amazed. Some of the most trusting relationships will develop where you’ve spent 30 seconds talking and they’ve spent 9 1/2 minutes talking because you listened. Because you took the time to listen. But I would say there are two big ways to build trust.

One, you want to be aware of the personalities because there are four different personality types. Hippocrates identified them hundreds of years ago. Myers-Brigs, DISC, all of these things will test it. There’s one that we use, the Insight Spectrum Survey. We’ll use it for our staff members at Clear Financial Partners and ourselves to understand those four personalities better. But when you understand the personalities, it helps you understand better what the perspective client you’re working with really wants from you. What kind of a relationship do they want to have with you? So, we’ll touch on those four personalities briefly in a second. The other thing is the Trust Bank.

The Trust Bank is critical — I wrote about it in my first book. The concept here is, you always do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do it. You’re making a promise and you’re keeping it. And that’s the key to making deposits in the Trust Bank. Every time you make a promise to a client and you keep it, you make a deposit and they trust you more. Anytime they get a negative surprise, they take a withdrawal and withdrawals are big. It takes a lot of deposits to cover even one withdrawal. So, negative surprises always happen when you make a promise to a client and then you don’t come through. So, if you say you’ll call a client back on a particular day, or a particular time, or that you’re going to get done with this thing by a particular deadline, I encourage you to make those promises. Make that commitment.

But make sure that you under promise and over deliver. Make sure you get that done on time or ahead of time. Don’t call them late with an excuse or things like that. You’re making a little bit of a withdrawal every time you make a promise and you don’t keep it. That’s critical in order for you to build trust and have the kind of relationship where people know that when you say you’ll do something, you’ll do it.

As far as connecting in an EQ capacity, IQ is over. Everyone is brilliant now with Google. Everyone can Google the right answers. “In a high IQ job pool, it’s soft skills like discipline, drive, and empathy that mark those who emerge as outstanding” — that’s Daniel Goldman, not me. But empathy, that’s all about EQ. What’s your Emotional Quotient? How do you connect with your clients, your staff members, your referral partners? When you’re talking to a prospect and you’re trying to connect with them, you need to realize that not everybody is the same, right? So, the four personality types that we refer to are Gold, Blue, Green, and Orange.

Gold is those bottom-line oriented individuals — they’re kind of OCD. You might know that you’re Gold if you organize your closet by size, category, shape, and color. The Greens are the engineers of the world. They’re going to ask questions about their questions. They’re going to ask a million questions. The Blues are the selfless artists of the world. They care more about others than they care about themselves. And the Orange? The Orange, they’re the adrenaline junkies of the world. They like to be the center of attention and they like to have a really great time. Everything’s always about what’s the coolest, newest thing you’ve done.

If you can identify which personality you’re talking to, you know exactly how to lean into that conversation and build trust and show them that you care about them. The Gold is very much about time and punctuality. How are you going to make sure that you are achieving things efficiently? They want bottom line-oriented content and they’ll talk quicker — they’re looking for what they can take away from this moment because they are spending minutes with you. They want to get value out of those minutes.

The Green is looking for details and answers. Make sure that when they ask a question, you understand the question. Go ahead and repeat right back to them and say, “Hey, this is what I heard you say. I just want to be clear that this is it.” And if you don’t know the answer, don’t guess. Make sure you say, “I’ll research that, and I’ll get back to you.” It’s an opportunity for you to make a deposit into the Trust Bank because you can promise them that you’ll research something, and you’ll get back to them. You might be 99% sure of the answer. Tell them that — “I’m 99% sure that this is the answer but let me get to 100% and I’ll get back to you.” You’ll build a big deposit with a Green.

A Blue? A Blue doesn’t want to hear the Blue and Gold conversation. They want to hear about your family. They want to talk about their family. Who are the people in our lives? What are their causes? What do they care about? If you don’t spend time with them connecting about their family, their kids, their grandkids, their significant other, their parents, you will miss out on building trust with the Blues.

And the Oranges? Let them talk. Let them tell you about the newest, coolest stuff they just did. Are they scuba divers, skydivers, do they like roller coasters? What’s the newest, coolest thing that they’ve done recently? Let them share that story with you so that you can learn and understand exactly who they are. You’ll connect emotionally and enhance your EQ as well as build trust by making deposits in the Trust Bank.

Tim Clairmont CFP, MSFS, is the founder and CEO of Clear Financial Partners, Inc., a holistic financial planning firm in the Portland, Oregon, suburb of Lake Oswego and has served clients as a financial advisor for over two decades. Tim is a nine-year member of MDRT and an eight-year Top of the Table member. He has written two books — Passionate Ambivalence: How to Sell with Authenticity and Integrity and What Should I Do With My 401k? Should I Buy an Annuity? Tim has launched a national education initiative called the ClearFP Advisor Program™ focused on sharing the intellectual property, strategies and systems that Tim has developed with other like-minded financial advisors across the country. Tim has also launched a free mobile app, ClearFP: Clock, to educate the general public and help them create their own financial plans.

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