Can Trust Be Established Early?

I got a really interesting question from a subscriber named Jeffrey, who said he is a new advisor and he’s having a problem gaining trust with people during the initial visit. He asked if establishing trust up front is possible and if it is, how he can do that. Furthermore, he asked if it is possible to open an account without the establishment of trust.

Listen to this audio episode or read the transcript below to hear Don’s 4 suggestions on establishing trust early on in the relationship.

Let me begin my answer by saying this: Everyone has a problem gaining trust quickly. New advisor, old advisor, everyone. We establish trust by virtue of our behavior over time. So people are going to trust us or not trust us by watching how we act and what we say.

Do we do what we say we’re going to do with no exceptions? Are we honest? Are we sincere? Are we responsible people? There’s no knowing those things up front, obviously.

Establishing trust when meeting someone for the first time is especially unlikely in this day in age. Probably because of all the negative press. Anybody associated with Wall Street today will suffer a lack of trust simply by association. Having said that, I can think of four instances where an account might be opened and trust established really quickly.

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One is if the person you’re meeting is a very trusting soul. Some people simply give anyone the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise, so maybe you’ll meet that trusting person.

Secondly, I think name recognition helps. Being with a well-known firm could help in this sense. A lot of times people will choose to go with a well-known firm not because they don’t like the other person, it’s just an issue of trust in their mind. They have this belief that the well-known firm is going to treat them well. If the firm wasn’t above board, how could it get so big?

I think a third instance would be you being referred by someone whom that person trusts. That’s what makes centers of influence so powerful.

And I could propose a fourth instance where it would be just kismet, serendipity, timing…. That when you walk in the door, the person has been looking to open an account, and that’s the day they’re going to do it.

So my answer is that opening an account early in the relationship can and does happen, but it’s very difficult to gain anything with someone who doesn’t trust you. So you’re obviously far better off establishing trust.

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