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10 tips for winning trust from prospective and existing clients

Turning client trust into long-term relationships

There’s no magic secret to winning your customers' trust. But if there were, it would probably involve something like delivering a responsive, proactive and personalised service. In short, not just making them your top priority – but making sure they know they are.

According to a report commissioned by the International Longevity Centre, people who work with a financial adviser increase their assets by an average of £41,099. Yet fewer than one in six people in the UK are currently taking advice. Why? One reason might be that people don’t think their finances are significant enough to need advice. But another reason may be a lack of trust.
 

Why is it important to win trust?

For example, data from the Retirement Advantage Retirement Sentiment Index report Expanding Horizons reveals that 42% of over 50s cited trust as one of the main obstacles preventing them from seeking financial advice.

This is a worrying statistic. Andrew Tully, Pensions Technical Director at Canada Life, commented: ‘It is vital that more is done to encourage people to get professional advice and consider all the options available to them to make the most of their hard-earned savings.’

Citizens Advice echoes this sentiment, cautioning consumers: ‘If you have little experience of dealing with finances or you're confused about making a decision, it may be helpful to get professional financial advice.’

Winning and keeping the trust of existing clients and prospects should be at the heart of every adviser's business. And, if you can earn the trust of your customers, you might just secure their loyalty too. If you keep an extra 5% of customers, you could boost your profits by as much as 95%, so there are big rewards to be gained by getting and keeping customer trust.
 

10 tips for winning client trust

1.  Show you're trustworthy from the off

Use all the evidence you have to highlight your trustworthiness. Use interactions – whether face to face or online – to convey your company's history, expertise, awards and professionalism. If people feel that your approach and values align with theirs, you'll have created a firm foundation on which to build a trustworthy relationship.
 

2.  Deliver on your promises

The most trustworthy people deliver on their promises, so it's essential to show that you can be depended upon to follow through on any commitments that you make. Whether that's calling at a specified time or supplying documents by an agreed date, consistently do what you say you will. Never keep your customers wondering if you'll follow through with a promise. If doubt creeps in, it can quickly take hold and undermine the trust they had in you.
 

3.  Build your reputation

Focus on building an excellent reputation for doing things right – from suggesting the most suitable products that your customers may not have considered before to providing a flawless service. Then, highlight your reputation through compelling stories. Customers trust other customers – so share your best reviews, testimonials and case studies. All this information is social proof that will help prospects build up a solid and favourable impression of your business – one that's worthy of their trust.
 

4.  Be honest and transparent

If you want to gain your customers' trust, always be open and transparent about what you do, how you do it and what customers can expect of you.

Make sure you're giving your customers all the information they need to make an informed decision. If you can prove you have their best interests at heart, the more they'll trust you and will, therefore, be more likely to give you repeat business.
 

5.  Share best practice

You can earn extra brownie points with your customers by sharing valuable tips and best practice about getting the most out of your services, even where it doesn’t constitute formal advice. It won't require a huge amount of your time or resources because you already know the information, and it'll add a lot of value to your customers. This is in fact another way to market your services in a low-key manner, by making clients aware of what else is out there and other ways in which your advice could add value. Just make sure they understand the difference between formal advice and free guidance.
 

6.  Know your customers

No one likes to feel that they're being given a one-size-fits-all service that's rolled out for everyone. Get to know your customers, so you give them a personalised experience. Researching their needs, issues and pain points will help you develop tailored solutions which will resonate with them. If you demonstrate a real understanding of their needs and provide a bespoke service that solves their problem and adds value, then your customers are far more likely to trust you.
 

7.  Make security a priority

From commenting on social media to making purchases online, customers are consistently asked to trust the businesses and brands they engage with. And you should do all you can to retain that trust. For example, social media exchanges should never mention personal customer data or detailed information. You should always ask first if you want to use a testimonial from a customer on your website to see if they're happy having their identity revealed. Ensure any online payment systems you have installed are completely secure.
 

8.  Ensure everything's up-to-date and functioning properly

Would you trust a company if its website isn't working correctly? Always make sure your online offering is up to date, and customers can click through to the information they want without a hitch. Is your contact page functioning correctly? Try it yourself to see what the user experience is like. Could it be improved? What options does the customer have? Whatever connection routes you use – contact forms, phone numbers, email addresses or social media handles – make sure they're all running smoothly and you're responding to queries in good time. Giving customers quick responses is essential to winning their trust.
 

9.  Be a good communicator

Regular communication with your customers shows you care about them. Reach out through online feedback surveys to better understand what they were happy with and areas you could improve on. Engage in conversation with satisfied customers to acknowledge their loyalty and win their advocacy. Send a thank you note to show how much they mean to your business. Well-timed communications, a proactive approach, and a commitment to making customers happy can go a long way towards winning their trust and loyalty long-term.
 

10.  Go the extra mile

Proactive service wins loyalty and trust as it saves customers time and effort because they're confident you're getting things done, and they don't have to chase you. Always stay one step ahead and eliminate any potential obstacles, so your customers enjoy a seamless and effortless experience when they do business with you.

Going the extra mile for your customers is the best way to build trust and a loyal customer base. Along with providing an efficient, professional and personable experience, if your customers feel you've gone above and beyond, they're far more likely to come back – and recommend you to their friends and family.

Another way to win trust is to operate through a brand that already has a high level of consumer trust, such as Unbiased. An Unbiased plan gives potential clients instant reassurance that you are regulated and qualified, as well as making it easier for them to find you.

About the author
Nick Green
Nick Green
Nick Green is a financial journalist writing for Unbiased.co.uk, the site that has helped over 10 million people find financial, business and legal advice. Nick has been writing professionally on money and business topics for over 15 years, and has previously written for leading accountancy firms PKF and BDO.

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