Tips for building client trust - and how to tell if you've earned it

by Mackenzie McCarty09 May 2013

Any good broker knows building client trust is crucial to a successful practice – but figuring out how to do that can be difficult. Speaking at the MFAA National Convention yesterday, professional development specialist, Bill Bachrach, offered some practical tips for making solid and lasting connections with your clients.

“Trust is a combination of character and competence – you don’t want to be a trustworthy moron or an untrustworthy expert, you need to have both,” he said.

Bachrach urged brokers to listen to clients’ needs before offering advice, saying 30-40 minutes of listening is ideal.

“You wouldn’t go to a first date and say, ‘I’m so excited to be here – let me tell you all about me’, so why do that with your clients? You build trust by listening to their stories, not by telling yours.”

He also suggested brokers make a habit of recording their client meetings so that they can re-play them later on, saying this serves the dual purpose of: a) helping the broker to remember things s/he may have forgotten and b) allow the broker to assess their own performance. Introducing the recording device to clients by saying something along the lines of 'I'm recording this conversation so I can review my own performance and make sure I'm giving you the best service possible', says Bachrach, should help alleviate any concerns the client may have about being recorded.

Finally, Bachrach says brokers can figure out the level of trust they’ve earned from their clients by considering the following ‘metrics of trust:

  • The client is receptive to your advice;
  • There’s little or no price negotiation;
  • They’re more influenced by your advice than the negative emotions related to markets, politics or world events;
  • They’re referral sources who actually do business with you and;
  • (Most importantly, according to Bachrach), they refer and introduce you to other potential clients

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