The Three Pillars of Credibility

Credibility is an important word in our industry, and it has a direct impact on how you interact with your clients. Credibility is your bedrock, your supreme asset, and it should be something you always enhance. Start by following the three pillars of credibility that financial professionals should take stock of daily, according to the research of Richard Shell, professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a consultant to our Professional Development programs, that can help foster a lasting partnership.

Expertise

Do your clients consider you an expert? What can you do to distinguish your practice? Can you create a newsletter, explain a market event that shows insight, or in some cases, bring in experts that can?

Another goal is getting to know the particulars of your clients. For example, one advisor I know works solely with Mississippi River boat captains, a distinct group to say the least. Because this advisor works with such a specific demographic, he understands the ins and outs of his clients’ industry and how to navigate their unique set of financial challenges.

Carefully selecting a niche, or a Unique Business Tranche (UBT), means you can become a subject matter expert and further solidify your value among your clients. An easy way to define your niche is by personal affinity. Consider leveraging that passion into a focus, and use it to define the type of advisory practice you will have.

Results

Credibility stalls without commitment to a top-notch Investment Policy Statement that delivers, while still being mindful of risk and fees.

Do your clients rely on your ability to use experience-based market knowledge to make recommendations? If you aren’t getting your clients the results they expect, or at least developing a plan that will get them there eventually, chances are your clients will start looking elsewhere.

Trustworthiness

Trust comes not just from what you know or what you can do, but by showing how much you care about who your clients are, what their lives look like and the role you can play to support the life they dream about. There is always an opportunity to deliver a special set of experiences as a participant, not just somebody who plugs in.

Remember, trust comes to town on foot, and out of town on horseback. Be meticulous with your integrity; trust can flee in an instant. Working with integrity and honesty creates a space for your clients to trust and rely on you not just as their financial advisor, but as a partner.

Check Yourself

Your credibility is directly related to your market share, so be scrupulous when examining your results, your expertise and your trustworthiness.

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The Science of Negotiations