How building trust helps you do better for clients

Planning for a client’s financial future involves discussions about their hopes, dreams and fears as well as addressing some uncomfortable realities. Those aren’t always easy conversations. And without trust between the financial advisor and the client, those conversations may not happen at all. As a result, the advisor is working with partial information, which isn’t ideal for providing the best counsel. The relationship can be similar to that of a patient and doctor.

The doctor and patient relationship

Just as with a good doctor-patient relationship, you want to know the most pressing issues your client has when they come to see you. You also, however, want to understand their overall financial health. Sometimes what a client thinks is the solution isn’t the best solution for them.

“If you went to a doctor and asked for a certain prescription, the doctor is going to want more information. This could include learning more through in-depth questions or tests. You’re not going to just get the prescription right away. It should be similar in our business; otherwise, how will there be any trust in the relationship?” said Michael S. Ross, an MDRT member since 2005 and a Top of the Table qualifier from Burlington, Massachusetts, USA.

Learning more through discussions

Stephen Kagawa visits an MDRT book club

You can hear more about this in an MDRT book club discussion with Stephen Kagawa about his book Aloha Financial Advising in the video “Understanding the dynamic between client and advisor.

“I’ve found that what a client is really after is almost always something different than what they initially say,” said Stephen Kagawa, FSS, LUTCF, an MDRT member since 1991 and a Top of the Table qualifier from Monrovia, California, USA. “That’s why it’s important to have in-depth conversations with clients, and those conversations happen when they’re built on trust.”

Furthermore, it’s important for financial advisors to keep an open mind during those conversations. “Sometimes we’re stuck on our biases, and we need to be careful not to impose that on others,” Kagawa said. 

The dynamic of a good relationship between financial advisors and clients is built on trust. If it’s not there, it’s a missed opportunity for the advisor to offer the client their best possible guidance.

Learn more about book clubs and find a reading list at “Take a page from others’ success.” If you’re an MDRT member in the U.S. or Canada, you can sign up to express your interest in book clubs.

For book reviews and ideas, visit:

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