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If your clients trust you and thank you for your great work, it’s easy to be surprised when a prospect is outright hostile.

But let’s face it: Many wealthy people think financial advisors would do anything to pocket higher management fees.

Why? After getting ripped off once, some millionaires would rather stuff their money in a mattress than let someone else manage it.

That’s why financial advisors need to work extra hard to build credibility. Once prospects see you as credible, they’re much more likely to buy from you—even if they vowed to never work with a financial advisor.

In this episode, you’ll find out how to build more credibility as a financial advisor and get the clients you deserve.

Ready to get more credibility and close more clients? Listen now!

Show highlights include:

  • Why prospective clients judge you for your age—and how to close millionaires even if you look like a teenager. (5:19)
  • How to make any of your marketing claims more believable by adding a simple “reason why”. (6:45)
  • How to supercharge your credibility with a “boring” about us page. (10:10)
  • Why people assume you’re boring—and how to make clients trust you by being exciting to work with. (13:55)

If you’re looking for a way to set more appointments with qualified prospects, sign up for James’ brand new webinar about how financial advisors can get more clients with email marketing.

Go to https://TheAdvisorCoach.com/webinar to register today.

Go to https://TheAdvisorCoach.com/Coaching and pick up your free 90 minute download called “5 Keys to Success for Financial Advisors” when you join The James Pollard Inner Circle.

Discover how to get even better at marketing yourself with these resources:




Read Full Transcript

You're listening to “Financial Advisor Marketing”—the best show on the planet for financial advisors who want to get more clients, without all the stress. You're about to get the real scoop on everything from lead generation to closing the deal.

James is the founder of TheAdvisorCoach.com, where you can find an entire suite of products designed to help financial advisors grow their businesses more rapidly than ever before. Now, here is your host, James Pollard.

James: This podcast episode is going to be about credibility. It's defined as the quality of being trusted and believed in. This is critical for financial advisors, because according to a study called How to Attract and Serve HNW, high net worth, 47% of under-30-year-old high-net-worth investors have low trust of financial management firms—and, by the way, high net worth is defined as having between $1 million and $5 million in investible assets—and there are tons of studies out there that they're finding that trust is either low and either staying flat or getting lower. [01:07.7]

Also, one of the CEB client experience surveys found that only 44% of people said they trust their advisor to make sound decisions. These are people who already have a financial advisor. These aren't prospective clients, so if they don't trust you after they've hired you, how do you think prospective clients feel? So, you need to build credibility. You need to build the quality of being trusted and believed in.

Put another way, you need to get people to trust you. That's really what this is all about, being trusted and believed in. I'm talking about this on this podcast this week because we run a lot of split tests and credibility is one of the small hinges that swing big doors. Credibility can make or break a test.

I also talk a lot with financial advisors, specifically Inner Circle members, and I’ve noticed that the ones with more credibility get more clients. That's the bottom line. If they have more credibility, they get more clients. They are more likely to have better websites, have better social media profiles, and by better, I mean higher-converting. [02:12.8]

They do a lot of the things I'm going to discuss today. Sometimes they do them intentionally. Other times they do them unintentionally. Some advisors ooze with credibility while others have to work at it. But no matter where you are, I'm going to do my best to help you this week.

But first I want to start off with this question. What are people trusting? When we talk about building trust and building credibility, what is the end goal? What are you optimizing for? There are actually three things people are trusting. They're trusting your character, what you say, and your capability. I'm going to break it down one by one.

Your character is first on the list here, and your character can make everything you do a non-starter. If people don't trust your character, they won't move forward at all, and I wish there was something I could tell you to help you improve your character, but there really isn't any way to do it. There's no tactic or anything. You just have to be a good person. [03:07.4]

I will tell you that there are two types of people. There are people who assume everyone is bad, until they prove otherwise; and there are people who assume everyone is good, until they prove otherwise. If you think about this through a game theory lens, you realize that the only way to secure a successful outcome for you is to proactively do good things. That way, you're escaping the bad category and staying in the good category in people's minds.

The people who assume that everyone is good until proven otherwise, then you're not worried about those people. They already assume that you're good. You're worried about the people who view everyone as bad, until proven otherwise. But if you proactively do good stuff and show that you're a good person, these people will move you out of the bad category. Other than that, being a good person, having good character is all about being accountable, being disciplined, being honest, stuff like that. So, that is your character. [03:58.3]

Next, people need to trust what you say. Assuming you have good character, people will either stop and go, or stop or go, based on what you say. If people don't believe what you're saying, they won't become clients, and a sad thing is that a lot of people don't believe that they can be helped no matter what, or they believe they don't deserve the help. You might outline exactly how you can help someone and how you can benefit him or her, but that person won't move forward because that person lacks belief.

That happens sometimes where I see it with financial advisors even when I say, “Hey, look.” I want to grab him by the collar and be like, Dude, I can change your life, but they don't believe what I'm saying because they don't believe in themselves, and, unfortunately, that is the case with a lot of people. But if you can influence what you're saying in order to make it more believable, then you should do it. We're going to talk about that in a little bit.

But the third thing that people need to trust is your capability, and now we're getting into a tricky area, because people might believe you have good character and they might believe what you say, but they don't believe you can do it. [05:04.2]

For example, if I say that email marketing is the best appointment-setting strategy for financial advisors, an advisor might trust me and might believe what I'm saying, but not believe that I have the capability to execute on that strategy, that I have the ability to help the financial advisor. New advisors struggle with this because people judge them based on their age. They think they're not capable merely because they're young, but no matter what your age is, you need to think about ways to prove your capability. Think, How can I show people that I am capable? I can't remember the movie. I remember this from South Park. It's like, How can I reach these “keedz”? You need to reach those “keedz”, financial advisors. You must reach those “keedz”.

Those are the things people are trusting. Now I'm going to list some ways for you to improve credibility in your marketing. These are things you can sprinkle throughout your content, your social media profiles, your presentations, and all your other marketing materials, and they are going to boost your credibility. [06:00.4]

The very first thing is reasons why. I want you to get in the habit of giving reasons for things. As a copywriter, I'm trained to think this way because giving reasons is a form of proof and I'm always trying to prove stuff I write or talk about. The reason this is important is because it prevents people from dismissing a claim you make. See, I just did it. When you explain your reasoning, people suspend their judgment until they hear the reason.

Let me give you a silly example. My uncle was eight feet tall. Now that's not true, but you may or may not believe it. But let's say I said my uncle was eight feet tall because he had an overactive growth hormone. That's more believable because I give a reason. Here's how financial advisors can apply it. Why are you qualified to help people with their financial lives? What is the reason or what are the reasons? Do you have certifications? Do you have experience? Have you done it yourself? Can people vouch for you? Do you get referrals? These are all reasons why you are qualified to help people with their financial lives. [07:06.7]

What is your process? Why is your process superior to other advisors? Maybe you have a niche. Maybe you have a specialty that other advisors don't have. Why is your process superior? You should even give reasons why people should pay attention to you. When people get on your homepage, they should be given a reason to stick around. In the email marketing world, lead magnets, give people a reason to subscribe to your email list. Instead of trying to get people to subscribe for weekly emails or updates, you can get people to subscribe to immediate access to a free PDF download. That is a strong reason why.

You also have specificity. I also want you to get into the habit of being specific when you talk about things. You've helped a lot of people, sure. Great. How many people? You've been featured in some niche-specific publications. Great. Which ones? Can you point to them? [08:00.0]

A good example for financial advisors is when advisors say they add value to their clients' lives. Specifically, how is this done? How much value? Now, of course, you can make any claims. I'm not saying that. Always check with compliance before doing anything I tell you to do or anything I suggest. But what if there was a study like, I don't know, the Vanguard Advisor's Alpha study, which found that advisors can add a certain percentage of alpha to a client's life? Could you point to that study and back up your claim that advisors add value? Maybe.

Speaking of that study, another way to boost credibility is to use studies, to use data. I love doing this, which is why I do it a lot. I even did it at the beginning of this podcast episode when I backed up my claims with actual studies—and, sadly, I must throw this out there. The internet is crawling with people who say things like, “Do you have a source for that?” and they think they're operating in big brain mode, but they're not. They're just keyboard warriors who think they're smarter than they are because they want sources for everything. [09:05.2]

I do not like those people. I do not like the people who say, “Do you have a source? Can you back up your claim?” for literally everything. They think they're so smart, but they are not. It's crazy to me that people operate this way. Again, I don't like those people. I don't want to do business with them. I provide data for the genuinely curious, ambitious financial advisors who are on the fence about trusting what I say.

Remember it goes, 1) character, 2) what you say, and then, 3) capability. When I provide data, the people don't have to believe me. They can verify what I'm saying. Just like when a financial advisor claims that advisors add value to clients' lives, the person doesn't have to believe the financial advisor; the person can believe the Vanguard study. Okay? [09:47.8]

Hey, financial advisors. If you'd like even more help building your business, I invite you to subscribe to James' monthly paper-and-ink newsletter, “The James Pollard Inner Circle”. When you join today, you'll get more than $1,000 worth of bonuses, including exclusive interviews that aren't available anywhere else. Head on over to TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching to learn more.

Another thing you can do to build credibility and trust is to have a strong “About Us” page on your website. I don't want to talk about this too much because not only do I have an article about writing financial advisor biographies—which you can find by googling “The Advisor Coach financial advisor bio.” I have an entire article about it. Again, that's “The Advisor Coach financial advisor bio.” You just put it into Google. It should be number one that comes up. You click on that. You could read the entire article—but I also have the client-getting website, which explains my exact process for making websites work better for financial advisors. You can find that by going over to TheAdvisorCoach.com/website. One more time, that's TheAdvisorCoach.com/website.

I found that the best sequence for getting people to convert on a website is to have your homepage dialed in, to have your “About Us” page dialed in, and to have your “Contact Us” page dialed in. Again, you don't have to believe me. You can test all this for yourself. If you have a Google Analytics account, I want you to do this. [11:12.2]

I want you to set up what's called a goal. If you haven't set up goals and Google Analytics, make sure you do it. Have the goal be to set an appointment with you. If you have a calendar like Calendly or Acuity Scheduling, once they get on the “Thank You” page, they have accomplished the goal, because that's what they've done. They’ve set an appointment and the little pixel thing fires or the Google tag fires, and the goal is accomplished. Okay?

I want you to set that as a goal and I want you to look at the journey people take to set an appointment. Most of the time, it is going to be some combination of the homepage, the “About Us” page, and the contact page. I'm not just saying people go to the contact page and set an appointment because that's where your calendar is. That would be too obvious. What I mean is even if people get to an article you've written, they will then go to your “About Us” page or they will go to your homepage, or they will go to the homepage and then the “About Us” page, or they will go to the “About Us” page and then the homepage. [12:06.6]

Okay, are you following me? That is what they do. They bounce around on those three pages before they set an appointment. If you have those three pages, I can't stress this enough, if you have those three pages dialed in the way that I tell you over at TheAdvisorCoach.com/website, your chances of converting someone into a booked appointment are significantly higher, point blank, period.

But let's get back to the “About Us” page. Let me put it to you this way. If you think your “About Us” page is merely for talking about yourself, you're leaving a lot of money on the table, because talking about yourself is a great starting point, but your client should still be the hero of the journey.

But, now, don't worry. I'm not going to tease you with this client-getting website stuff and then leave you hanging. I will give you something that you can use today. One thing advisors miss with their “About Us” page is putting a personal photo on there. They have the typical headshot with a suit and tie or a button-up shirt, and that's great, but they don't give anything more real, if that makes sense. [13:05.0]

If you like going to Disney World, put a photo of you at Disney World on your “About Us” page, in addition to the one with you in a suit and tie or a button-up shirt, the fancy one, right? If you have horses and you talk about horses in your marketing include a photo of you and your horses.

The reason this is more important for financial advisors than other professions—and there I go again, giving you a reason—is because financial advisors have this stereotype of being boring. What? Financial advisors being boring? I never would've guessed. Researchers from the University of Essex in England, fancy England, they asked more than 500 people across five different experiments which careers they considered the most boring. I imagine it went like this. “Hello, good chap, what career do you consider most boring?” [13:54.4]

The study got published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Finance-associated positions took not one, not two, not three, but four of the top five slots as most boring, specifically, uh-oh—am I using specificity again?—data analysis, accounting, tax/insurance work, and banking were all in the top five.

So, people think financial advisors are boring, okay, and they want to get a reason to prove to themselves that you are not boring, that you are actually someone they want to work with, because having a financial advisor is entering into a pretty serious relationship. You're going to get, quote-unquote, “financially naked” with this person.

You're going to discuss serious stuff, like estate planning, taxes, insurance, retirement planning. You're going to show your SEP, your IRA, your Roth, everything, your 401(k). You're going to, again, like I said, get financially naked with this person. You don't want to do it with a boring person, do you? No. You want to do it with someone you relate with, someone that is exciting, someone that won't put you to sleep or make you have tears of boredom. [15:00.3]

Now, finally, this is a little bit of an elephant in the room when it comes to credibility and building trust, and that's testimonials, because marketers will immediately jump to testimonials as a credibility booster without giving it much thought. They will mistakenly use testimonials as blanket recommendations for everyone. Even though testimonials are making headway in financial planning, I want to give you a word of warning.

Back when the SEC finalized the revamp of its marketing rules, I got this email from a financial advisor. “James, I read your email and saw your video on LinkedIn about how you don't think testimonials will matter in the long run. Dude, I usually agree with everything you say, but I think you're off-base here. Testimonials will matter, for sure. Why is it that every marketer in the world says testimonials matter and you're the lone wolf saying they don’t? Again, I love your stuff, but I'm more confused than anything.”

To be clear, testimonials do matter. There are some instances where testimonials can greatly improve a split test. For example, reviews on Amazon can swing a book’s sales in either direction. If a book has 100 reviews and it's only two stars, it probably won't sell as many books as another book that has a 4.5-star rating with 100 reviews. [16:15.5]

Now, with that said, testimonials become weaker as price increases, as the purchasing decision becomes more complex, and I would argue, as the consequences of making a bad decision increased. Testimonials become weaker as the price increases, as the purchasing decision becomes more complex, and as the consequences of making a bad decision, meaning, if you buy something and it sucks, it's super bad. As that increases, then testimonials become weaker.

When someone is searching for a low-priced inconsequential product or service, such as a book on Amazon, that person will look for reviews for validation and quickly make a decision. However, when someone is buying something expensive, complex, and consequential, such as, oh, gee, I don't know, financial planning, that person will likely slow down, do more research, and take testimonials for face value, because what business is posting negative testimonials? [17:14.7]

I mean, really, that's all it is. Of course, you're going to highlight your happy customers. That's a given. That's what testimonials are. Now, there is one area where I think testimonials will make a difference for financial advisors and that's as a tiebreaker, meaning, if a prospective client is comparing two financial advisors and can't tell the difference between the two, then testimonials will tip the scales one way or the other.

However, I think if you find yourself in the position where a prospective client can't distinguish you from another advisor, you've already screwed up and you should fix that problem first, and here's where I fulfill my legal obligation to talk about nicheing on every show. Here we go. Niche marketing coming in hot. [17:59.3]

Let's say you have zero testimonials and there's a prospective client who is comparing you with another financial advisor in your city who has 20 rock-solid raving fan testimonials. Yet your prospective client is a dentist and, oh, wouldn't you know, you specialize in working with dentists while your competitor is a generalist. Do you think testimonials matter in that scenario? Hmm, maybe a little, but not as much as if you were comparing to generalists.

Those are the things that can help you build credibility, build trust. Yes, testimonials, for sure. Having a strong “About Us” page, data-specificity, and reasons why. I'm just scraping the tip of the iceberg here. There's only so much I can give in a free podcast episode.

I also want you to remember what people are trusting. It’s your character first, then what you say, and then your capabilities. They want to see if you're a good person. Then they want to make a judgment, and if they believe what you're saying, if you're making outlandish claims, they'll just dismiss you right away, so you can't even do that. But what you're saying, they want to know what you're saying is true, and then your capabilities, because even if you say stuff that is true and you're a good person, if they don't think you're capable of delivering the outcomes you promise, they're going to just move on anyway. [19:18.8]

That is it for this show. I hope this has helped you in some way. I really want to see you win. I genuinely care about financial advisors and I want them to be successful. I've been getting a lot of new listeners lately. If you're new here, make sure you listen to all of the episodes. I'm not joking, all of them, because they exist for you.

I will catch you next week.

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