What’s the secret to becoming a trusted adviser?

It is often said that in the age of digital disruption, the best way brokers can show their value to clients is to become trusted advisers. But what’s the secret to becoming one?

“Focus on building trust in every interaction”, says trust expert Meiron Lees.

“Brokers must have a total focus on building trust, as it can be broken in an instant,” Lees says. “It’s very fragile and the key to maintaining trusting client relationships is to have an understanding of what makes and breaks trust.”

Client’s go through a four-step trust process, Lees explains.

Step 1: Assessment of trust.

When people first meet a broker they assess them on their trustworthiness. There are three categories a low, base or high level of trust. “Most brokers rate low or at a base level in Australia.” This is can be due to negative previous encounters, experiences from others, damaging media articles and the like.

Step 2: Decision to trust.

People then decide to trust based on two criteria: interpersonal and institutional. “Do you trust the broker? The key trust aspects are their intention, character, conduct and reputation. Do you trust the institution that the broker represents? The key aspects being, reputation, claims experience, systems and processes and previous interactions.

Step 3:  Trust-informed actions.

This is showing the broker that they are starting to trust them, for example, accepting your recommendations, signing documents, willingly paying your fees, not blaming you when things go wrong and becoming your biggest advocate.

Step 4: The outcome.

“How did it go? Did expectations meet experience? Did everything fall into place according to expectations?” Do they feel that the advice meets their safety and security needs?

The cycle is ongoing and with each encounter trust builds or breaks especially in a new relationship, Lees warns. “The more positive experiences in each cycle, the more strengthened the trust.”

Want to learn more about how to build trust with clients? Meiron Lees will be presenting a session at this year’s NIBA Convention, “Ignite your thinking”. Check out the program www.nibaconvention.com.au/program/ and register now: www.nibaconvention.com.au/registration.