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How Advisors Demonstrate Trust in the Workplace

Trust can mean different things to different people. Trust is also a function of both character and competence. To demonstrate trust, we need to see it in action. For some advisors, establishing and extending trust can be accomplished quite quickly. If there is trust between an advisor and a client, you’ll see more effective communication and collaboration, and of course, having a reputation of trust is priceless.

Consider the following 10 ways advisors can demonstrate trust to their clients:

1. Respecting confidentiality.

Financial and insurance forms can include a considerable amount of private information about clients, and usually much more than they care to reveal. Clients understand that advisors respect the confidential aspect of the information and won’t share it with others. By keeping information confidential, advisors are proving their integrity. Top advisors work to create a safe environment for clients to express sensitive information.

2. Being generous.

Advisors who are volunteering their time on non-profit boards, for example, share their talents with others and show clients they care.

3. Being humble.

Everyone makes mistakes, so advisors admitting when they are wrong and apologizing shows humility. If clients see their advisor as prideful, they will start to question their judgement.

4. Being honest.

Clients can sift through advisors’ charm and flattery, and they can tell what’s real and what’s not. Giving less that truthful information is the fastest way to erode trust, and the old saying that, “You are only as good as your word,” still rings true. Honesty and integrity has and will continue to be the hallmark of professional, trustworthy behavior.

5. Reaching clients’ goals.

By reaching the clients’ mutually agreed-upon goals, advisors demonstrate that they are doing quality work, being successful, and putting clients first.

6. Being empathetic.

Top advisors prepare for calls that are going to be challenging, especially if clients will be severely impacted by their news and they try to be understanding and as patient as possible. Showing empathy to clients and being sensitive to their feelings, especially when delivering bad news strengthens the client-advisor relationship.

7. Being organized.

Clients feel at ease when they are in an office that is organized. Lost documents and files or missed calls send clients the message that their advisors aren’t reliable and lack organization skills. Top advisors have developed systems and processes so that their office is in order and looks tidy.

8. Being dependable.

Advisors that are dependable do what they say they will do … period. When they make a commitment, they follow through. For example, if they said they would attend an event and have told clients that they will see them there, they’ve demonstrated their dependability by attending.

9. Being open.

When advisors open up about themselves and share their travels, hobbies or interests, clients feel that they know them a little better. If advisors withhold giving away information about themselves, then it’s easy for clients to start withholding their info.

10. Having savvy financial skills.

Clients want well-researched recommendations, and when they tell their advisor that they’ve really done their homework and to go ahead with the proposal, the advisor has proven his or her skills. It’s normal for clients to ask questions about recommendation, take time to think about major decisions, and to make revisions if necessary, but at the end of the day, giving the nod to move forward is the sign of the advisor’s value as a trustworthy person.

Recognize which behaviors encourage and sustain trust, and pay attention to how clients act around you. Apart from coming right out and saying that they trust you, clients usually demonstrate trust with their own behavior.

About Rosemary Smyth and Aaron Hoos

Rosemary Smyth and Aaron Hoos

Rosemary Smyth, MBA, CIM, FCSI, ACC, is an author, columnist and an international business coach for financial advisors. She spent her career working at leading investment firms before pursuing her passion for coaching. She lives in Victoria, BC. Visit her website at You can email Rosemary at:

Aaron Hoos, MBA, has worked in the financial industry since 1997. Formerly a stockbroker, insurance broker, and award-winning sales manager, today he writes for the financial and real estate industry as an educator and marketer. He is working on his second book. Visit his website at and follow him on Twitter @AaronHoos.

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