Your KLT Factor: How do you Garner Trust?

Trust. Objectivity. Transparency. How many times a day do you see at least one of those words show up in brochures, organization descriptions, and various marketing materials? More importantly, how often do these words seem to ring hollow?

Usage of the words is not surprising. The entire financial services arena is trying to overcome a bad reputation. Indeed, compared to other businesses and industries, financial services comes in dead last with only a 51 percent trust rating compared to the tech sector which garners a 79 percent trust rating, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer.

So, if people do business with people they know, like and trust, (KLT), how does the retirement plan industry garner that allusive trust factor? Fee-only is one tactic some firms are employing. Consistent, genuine, client-centered social media interaction is yet another method.

Just what does this latter point mean? Simply put: you are who Google says you are. Granted, this sounds a bit ominous, but you cannot ignore the power of today’s internet information.

Most likely your clients, and definitely your prospects, are going to Google you at least once if not several times. They want to know you, your firm, your marketing position, and above all, they want to know if they can trust you.

They may not see every post on Facebook, update on LinkedIn, or tweet on Twitter. However, they will see some of these interactions and they will look for your core values or marketing position. Do you put your clients’ needs first? Do you offer useful information? Are you a thought leader? (Oh, by the way: Show that you’re a thought leader, don’t say that you are!)

Clients and prospects will also look for consistency. Are you saying one thing today, but something entirely different a week ago? Studies show employee candidates should be interviewed at least three times because dishonest people cannot keep their stories straight in repetitive meetings. The same theory holds true for establishing trust with your clients; you must be forthcoming and you must be consistent.

As the saying goes: actions speak louder than words. You don’t gain trust by using the word; you gain it by the actions you take. (Or, as my sweetie pie always told my son, “I watch your feet, not your mouth.”)