February 10, 2016 Greg Preite

How to Build Trust Through Education

Financial advisors face a tough market: You have to gain the trust of your prospects, convert them into clients, and then maintain that comfortable relationship so that you retain their business. It isn’t easy to convince a skeptical modern consumer to entrust you with their life savings. But once you inspire their confidence in you, it is much easier to influence your clients’ decisions and help them achieve their goals.

Most people believe that trust is not given; it is earned. With much hard work and patience, you can earn the trust of your prospects over time. Earning that trust is a significant part of what you do every day, but luckily we have analyzed the most common relationship-building tools for you. Here is what we’ve learned about the process.

Educate your clients… Many financial advisors see themselves as “educators”, and rightly so: An informed client is a happy client who feels comfortable making important decisions. It’s a smart idea to educate your clients on issues that will affect them, such as the different types of investment vehicles, tax implications, insurance products, or changes in government regulations that will affect them. When you educate your clients, you accomplish several goals:

  • they come to view you as the knowledgeable expert on a variety of topics
  • you answer their biggest questions about retirement and financial security
  • they view you as the person who can solve any financial problem
  • they feel more comfortable making decisions
  • you keep your name at the top of their mind, as you reach out to them on a regular basis

….But don’t overdo it. Today, successful advisors are using a variety of methods to educate their prospects and clients: regular blogging, social media posts, and reaching out via email. But of course, there can be “too much of a good thing”. You definitely want to reap the benefits listed above, but there can be some potential drawbacks to over-educating your clients:

  • The average person knows very little about finance, so offering them too much information can create confusion. And when people feel confused, they don’t make a decision; they retreat, instead, to consider the issue further. Overwhelming your clients with too much information is not a good idea for this reason.
  • Again, most people don’t possess the same level of financial know-how that you need in your profession. If your material is too complex, your contacts won’t read your blogs or open your emails. This leads to less interaction and a desire to avoid you!
  • You give them all the answers, and now they don’t need to contact you! You want to come across as competent, while saving some of the finer details for personal interactions.
  • Speaking of avoiding you, be careful not to come across as a salesperson. Your material should seek to educate, but not persuade. If you’re blatantly persuasive, your contacts get that “used car salesman” vibe about you. This won’t lead to a trusting relationship.

Seek to strike the right balance. Clearly, there is a delicate balance between educating your clients and turning them off. So how do you hit that sweet spot? Ask yourself the following questions any time you create materials geared toward your target audience:

  • What do they know about finance? How much do they need to know? How much is too much?
  • What are their fears? What matters to them? What are some questions you are commonly asked about retirement, insurance, Social Security, and so on?
  • Do my blogs, social media posts, or emails answer those questions?
  • Am I offering too much detail for the average person? Will they feel overwhelmed or confused?
  • Is this material engaging and relevant to my target demographic?
  • Am I educating or over-educating?
  • Do I sound like I’m trying to sell something?
  • Do I answer basic questions, while inspiring my readers to contact me for more information?
  • Am I producing blogs, emails, and social media posts on a regular, predictable basis? (We recommend reaching out to your target audience about four times per month)

It’s easy to see why many advisors walk a thin line between educating and over-educating their clients! You want to strike a delicate balance between inspiring trust and curiosity to learn more, and overwhelming or confusing your audience.

Digital marketing can take time and patience to find the right combination that works for your audience. Give us a call for more information on how to trusting relationships with your clients that will last for years to come.



Contact Us to Learn More!

Follow in the footsteps of other top producers.
Leverage the power and reach of the internet with The Digital Advisor.