Love or hate fast food, you can’t argue that it’s a reliable dining experience. Pull into any drive thru from Florida to Alaska and if you order a number 1, you can trust that it will be prepared the same way every time.
If only financial services were that easy! Becoming a trusted financial advisor isn’t so simple. As Andrea Howe, co-author of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook, in an interview with Bank Investment Consultant outlines, there are 4 factors: Reliability, credibility, intimacy and other-orientation.
Reliability and credibility fall into a practical, surface-level category. These are the core-competencies that every advisor should have. Howe says that this basically involves being truthful with clients and staying in contact with them via mailings or phone calls.
When it comes to these two factors, it’s a pretty level playing field. Every advisor out there who takes their job seriously strives to be reliable and credible. But the latter two factors, Howe argues, are much more important for relationship-building.
Intimacy and other-orientation are the emotionally/psychologically-oriented variables, and most advisors typically focus on credibility and reliability. They deliver quarterly messages, show clients what they know, update the accounts and perform typical money management tasks.
However, the advisor also has to build intimacy. As trust is eroded or shaken, an advisor can build intimacy with an acknowledgement, an apology, validation and empathetic listening.
An advisor also must demonstrate that above all else, he or she is focused on the client. If an advisor is just focused on credibility and reliability, the client sees the advisor’s self-orientation as high.
These emotional variables are vital for client retention and increasing share of wallet. Research into behavioral economics by Nobel prize winners has shown that 70% of our decisions are driven by emotional factors. Financial advisors who want to increase their share of wallet should be taking note of these factors.