Without Integrity, There Is No Credibility
If you are to be chosen as someone’s Financial Advisor, you must pass three tests. The person must like you and think you are smart, but, most importantly, the person must trust you. There is no substitute for trust.
When mom and dad leave you after that first meeting, they do not talk about convexity or tactical asset allocation.
They ask themselves one question: “Do you trust him? Do you trust her?” If the answer is ‘no’ or ‘not really’, you stand no chance of getting those folks as clients. There are too many other Advisors they can turn to.
Trusting in you begins with believing in you.
Are you believable? Do you always tell the truth? Is your integrity above reproach, both your actions and your words? How consistent are you? How sustainable is your credibility? Are you referable?
Without integrity, there is no credibility.
You can’t get away with telling the truth most of the time. You can’t get away with embellishing just a little bit. You are a walking billboard. Every word and every action contributes to your reputation, both good and bad. In one single instant everything you have worked so hard to build up can be torn down.
If you lose your credibility, people will doubt your integrity.
You can lose your credibility by not keeping your word. You can lose your credibility by letting someone down. You can lose your credibility by not knowing what you are talking about. You can lose your credibility by not taking responsibility for your actions. You can even lose your credibility by being smarmy.
It doesn’t take much. Relationship problems with clients don’t announce themselves in advance. They sneak up on little cat feet.
These pitfalls are not a problem for the Advisor who always does the right thing, who values his integrity above all other values.
Integrity is calling the client in troubled times before the client calls you. It is addressing underperforming recommendations. It is calling when you say you will call. It is doing what’s right for the client even though it may cost you money. It is holding yourself to a higher standard. In the end, it’s simply doing the right thing.
The more honest you are, the simpler your life is to lead.
There are no white lies to remember and there is nothing to hide. People trust us because we do what we say we will do. Consistency is the foundation of all that we do.
You are running a business and your business’s most important asset is your reputation. Your reputation is the collective opinion of others. It is hard work to maintain a good reputation and it is a career killer not to do so.
Negative perceptions and referrals do not go together.
Make good choices. Have high self-esteem but be modest. Determine your personal values and live by them. Demand integrity in others. Stay away from dishonest people.
Integrity. Credibility. Reputation.
These are not part-time endeavors. As Warren Buffett so capably put it, it takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to destroy it.