Trust is a key factor in any sales relationship. Clients don’t buy from people (or entities) that they don't trust.
For financial advisors who aspire to market to Millennials, the trust factor is even more relevant. In a recent Pew Research study, the different generations were asked this question:
“Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted?”
The results are interesting, to say the least.
- Baby Boomers were the most trusting. 40% agreed with this statement.
- The Silent Generation was slightly less trusting. 37% said yes.
- There was a fall-off with Gen X. 31% answered affirmatively.
- Millennials were the least trusting. Only 19% agreed with this statement.
This begs the question: How do financial advisors sell to a generation that is cautious and distrustful by their very nature?
In the first place, it makes sense to discard the concept of the traditional selling process, whatever that is. For many wary Millennials, “selling” is a non-starter. So…stop selling to them.
How about this approach? Re-frame the client acquisition process towards a relationship where the underlying cornerstone is trust in the client, and confidence in their ability to make a decision based more on their comfort, rather than your ability to “sell” them.
Building Trust with Clients
Jerry Acuff, author of: The Relationship Edge: The Key to Strategic Influence and Selling Success offers additional steps that financial advisors can take in building trust. These steps can be effective with any prospective client, Millennials and otherwise.
Be yourself. Be authentic. Rather than acting like a salesperson, simply act as you are. When you do this, you’ll attract people who like you and want to work with you. Not a bad thing.
Be curious. Curiosity about others is the secret ingredient to building relationships. When you are curious about your clients, you are given the opporturnity to learn new things and make new connections.
Be consistent. A client’s instinct to trust you is dependent upon showing the client that your behavior is consistent and persistent over time.
Be transparent. Transparency, full disclosure, and open and direct communication are critical shortcuts to building trust.
Be truthful. Show your integrity. Be willing to speak the truth (in a non-adversarial manner), even if it’s unpopular with your client, or your company, or the industry. Also, don’t promise what you can’t deliver.
Over the next 30 years, it is estimated that $30 trillion will flow from Baby Boomers…to the Millennials. In order for financial advisors to position themselves to help these young adults who are coming of age financially, building trust will be a critical and fundamental factor.
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