5 Stories to Develop Strong Relationships with Clients Based on Trust and Likeability
The best way to initiate a strong relationship with clients is to tell them stories. People don’t need to have a ton of data thrown at them in the first meeting. They will be more interested in whether they like and trust you. Forget the numbers and pie charts, and use your personal stories and experiences to help you establish trust and likeability in the minds of your prospects. Here are five such stories to get you started.
1. Create a connection with a ‘Who I am’ Story
I urge you to read Annette Simmons’ explanation of these various stories in her terrific book, Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins. If someone is going to do business with you, they must like you and trust you. Show people you have the right qualities by telling them a ‘who I am’ story revealing the kind of person you are.
Prospects don’t want to hear about your professional qualifications, they’re far more interested in knowing whether you’re married, have kids or play golf. They’ want to know what you stand for. Show them you have strong values and ethics – if you’re involved in social causes, for example, include it in your story.
Bring authenticity and passion and show your vulnerable side to allow people to get to know you as a real person, not just a ‘professional’ person. Your ‘who I am story’ will make potential clients (who are after all complete strangers) feel more comfortable at the prospect of working with you.
2. Reveal your caring side with a ‘How I helped others’ story
If clients are to trust you with their money, they need to be certain you are a caring person – someone who will look after their interests in the long term.
Reveal your caring side by basing a story on an experience in your life where you went that extra mile for someone. This can help clients visualize what working with you would be like.
Be specific when you’re telling this story, so they understand exactly what you did to help. How did you formulate a plan to help another client achieve their goals? Leave out all talk of products and returns, however. Instead, focus on emotions. How did these clients feel once they knew their finances were on track?
3. Tell your ‘Why I’m here’ story
This is one of the most important stories of all, because people meeting you for the first time will come into your office wondering who you are and why you are in this business. They’ll be asking themselves whether you’re just there to sell them something.
Overcome their concerns by telling a story that illustrates your innate interest in them as people rather than their assets. Tell them why you are passionate about what you do. Many other careers offer just as high returns – so what made you choose this profession? Did you become an advisor because you love helping others? Were you inspired after watching a family member suffer financial losses? Create a story around this to reassure prospects you’re in this business for the right reasons.
4. Illustrate your values with a story
Use just one incidence from the past to illustrate your honesty. Think of a time you did the ‘right thing’ even though it cost you something. Or tell a story about a time when you didn’t stand by your values and regretted it. Did you learn a lesson from it?
By opening up and showing that you are fallible you will come across as trustworthy.
Celebrate the pitfalls, setbacks, mistakes and challenges you have faced and the emotion you have felt – they made you the financial advisor you are today to prove your integrity.
5. Empathize by using an ‘I know what you’re thinking’ story
Stir up prospects’ emotions and redirect them by telling an ‘I know what you’re thinking’ story. People are naturally suspicious so share their suspicions and validate them – then dispel them with a good story.
If a prospect appears afraid to hand over their money, try using an analogy: People don’t throw away their furniture when they’re re-decorating – they simply rearrange it. In the same way an overhaul of their finances does not necessitate throwing any money away – they are simply re-organizing their assets in a more efficient way.
Stories can help you build rapport – they can make prospects feel they can trust you, that you care and that you have strong values. Focus on developing your storytelling skills and you will be able to communicate your unique worth to prospects. Only then will they feel comfortable taking the relationship further.
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