Three Key Factors in Choosing a Financial Advisor

When mom and dad sit down with you for the first time, they want to get to know you. They want to do business with someone they like and trust and someone who is making the right suggestions. They don’t want to do business with the Mr. or Ms. Financial Advisor you. They want to do business with the real you.

Too many Advisors feel that, in the first meeting, clients want to know about the Advisor’s fees, how the Advisor conducts regular reviews and how smart the Advisor is. There is almost an urge to show off.

That’s not what people want to know at all. In fact that’s not even close.

Mom and dad only want to know one thing. Can I depend on you? And telling them what your fees are or how you manage money is not going to give them what they need.

Here’s what they need to know in order to make a decision.

Who are you. Are you married or single? Are you a native or a transplant? Where do you live? Do you have kids? Where do your kids go to school? How do you treat your spouse or your mate? What are your family values? What do you do when you’re not in the office? Are you one of us or one of them?

Here’s a suggestion. Let them know the real you.

For mom and dad to select you instead of one of your competitors, three things must happen. They must like you; they must trust you and they must believe your recommendations are spot on.

We all do business with people we like. Likeability is how people size you up and it’s more important than ever, as manners and behavior continue to deteriorate before our very eyes. We all see unacceptable behavior more and more every day. How about the loudmouth on his cellphone? How about road rage? How about swearing in public? Nobody likes people who engage in these activities.

People will only appreciate what you do if they like you.

Trust is the result of a firm belief in your reliability, in your constantly telling the truth and in your consistency of behavior.

Trust is irrational. Imagine a young mother walking down the street holding an infant. She needs to tie her shoe. Would she hand the child to a stranger? Never. Would she hand the baby to a fireman? Yes. Why? Because she trusts firemen. Ask her why she trusts firemen, and she’ll simply say, “I don’t know. I just trust firemen.” A client will trust you in the same way, based upon experience and beliefs.

We look for reasons to trust others. We want to trust our doctor. We trust firemen. But while it takes a long time to create trust, trust can be shattered with a single act or word. The relationship between Advisor and client must be respected and maintained.

Remember that when you are talking to people, they are sizing you up. They are judging you. You will not be judged on your IQ. You will be judged on your EQ.

Related: The Importance of Empathy: Why Financial Advisors Can't Afford to Ignore It