Last week I was working with one of our Certified Wealth Mentors with my role to offer some behavioral insights on some difficult client cases. The cases were difficult because of the clients attitudes not only to financial decision-making but also to life. These cases reaffirmed to me how much trust is core to all dimensions of every client situation. This is why when we redeveloped our DNA personality system in the past year we made trust a new stand-alone personality factor.
Often when we talk about trust it is in the context of our role as trusted advisor and building open relationships with clients. Certainly, this is an important dimension. Talking about trust in this way is fine. However, the heart of truly understanding trust and to knowing our clients is to know where trust comes from. There are a number of very important dimensions to trust that we all need to know. Let me ask you the question: How much do you trust yourself? Trusting yourself is the starting point of building sound relationships and also making sound decisions. Your own level of personal trust will determine whether you will trust others and then whether others will trust you. So, if you want to know whether your clients will trust you, reflect on your own level of self trust and then learn about their self trust.
We all have a natural level of trust which comes with our natural DNA behavioral style and then there are life experiences added on top which deepen or reduce our trust levels. The more we know who we are and have personal confidence then the more likelihood that we will trust.
In one of the client cases I was referring to the client was 60 years old with a very successful business and over $10 million to his name and annual income of over $2 million. However, he was personally unhappy, not prepared to let go of the iron grip on his business or prepared to create an estate plan his family could know about or be involved in. Does this sound familiar? This is a client who has very low personal trust levels and it transcends every part of his life. It will be very hard for this advisor to get close and really provide the advice he needs and on the other side the advisor will find it hard to meet expectations. A no win situation.
Have you seen people make fear based decisions and not be transparent? This starts from low personal trust levels. As a service provider you want to know your clients trust levels early if you are going to have a close and profitable relationship. You will never be able to help this type of person until you can discover the source of the fear. The difficulty is getting them to tell you. I do find that when you can get a client to talk about their strengths and passions you have a much greater chance of unlocking the fear, and trust grows from there.