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Will You Trust Me?

Isn’t that really the key question we are asking our clients when we meet them for the first time? Yet most of us are, appropriately, not so candid with our word selection. We would all acknowledge the importance of that initial greeting: the eye contact, the handshake, and the opening dialogue – all of which could be very different depending on our instincts and sense of the other person.

We get better at this with experience, or even perhaps with age. The question is whether we are consistent, or if we sometimes lose a little focus and leave an unintended impression.

Don’t forget how essential it is for your client to interview you. If you are a mortgage broker, lender, accountant or financial consultant, your client prospect needs to decide whether they can trust you with highly confidential information – i.e., their tax returns, social security number, bank statements, pay-stubs, divorce papers, bankruptcy documents or all of the above. If you make one odd gesture or leave them with a tiny bit of uncertainty, they are not likely to call you back – nor should they.

But if you are a borrower or investor looking for a trusted advisor, it’s a two-way street. Your prospective advisor is interviewing you for the same purpose. Leaving an impression that you have not been entirely forthright may require you to settle for a less professional or inexperienced advisor.

You will know if an acceptable level of mutual trust has been gained.

Here’s the Point: Trust must be earned, not expected – and it won’t be immediately or fully granted, regardless of your reputation.