The greatest intergenerational transfer of wealth in history is underway. As a financial advisor, it represents either an unprecedented opportunity or a threat to your survival. It will ultimately come down to trust
The financial advisory industry has a trust problem. According to the CFA Institute and Edelman Investor Trust Study, the financial services industry sits at the bottom of industries most trusted among clients. When investors were asked which industries they trust to do what is right, only 52% stated they trust the financial services industry. In another survey conducted by the CFP Board, 60% of investors feel financial advisors put their company’s interests first.
Then there are millennials – arguably the most distrustful group of emerging affluent investors and heirs to the great wealth transfer of $30 trillion. Having watched their parents struggle through the last economic downturn, they have the least faith in financial advisors, especially those who lack transparency or the willingness to communicate with them on their terms.
Can Advisors Gain the Trust of Digital Natives?
The younger generations depend on the internet for information and social engagement, preferring to seek their own answers rather than to be told what is true. For these digital natives, if information can’t be Googled, it is usually not trusted.
Does this preclude relationships between millennials and financial advisors? Not necessarily. The good news, according to the CFP Board survey, is that 41% feel that having a financial advisory relationship is now more important than ever. However, those who do seek an advisory relationship – whether it’s Gen X or Millennials or even Baby Boomers – want a relationship built on trust and transparency as evidenced by a strong online presence.
Having watched their parents struggle through the last economic downturn, younger generations have the least faith in financial advisors. Learn how to earn the trust of digital-first investors with this post Click To Tweet
Inspiring Trust With An Online Presence
Influence: The capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behaviors, opinions, etc. of others.
These days, trust is hard to come by. It must be earned and developed; and, for financial services professionals, there is often a reputation to overcome (industry reputation, not personal). So, building trust occurs over time and it must be facilitated by a deliberate process that leads people down a path of discovery that reveals who you are, what you stand for, and why you can be trusted.
In the digital world, the trust-building process begins by establishing your online presence comprised of a complete web apparatus that includes a quality website with an integrated social media strategy. Having an online presence can help build credibility, which is obviously very important. It doesn’t matter how much experience you have or how great your advice is; without a professional, well-conceived online presence your credibility will suffer.
But it can’t stop there. Credibility will get you some attention, but it is influence that inspires the level of trust that ignites relationships. People are naturally drawn to people of influence. If you are viewed as an influencer, people will seek you out for more information and advice which is central to the trust-building process.
How do you build online influence?
- You have a high quality, well-designed website that invites attention.
- You commit to publishing and sharing messages that provide guidance, information, insights, resources and help to your ideal clients wherever they are spending time online.
- Through your blog posts, articles, whitepapers and podcasts, you are viewed as an expert – a true authority in your specialized field.
- You have a growing network of Twitter followers and LinkedIn connections who are interested in your thoughts and the information you offer.
- You engage with your followers and connections regularly and get their thoughts as often as providing your own.
- You become trusted and respected for your thoughts and opinions not only due to your authority on the subject but by being objective and independent in your thinking.
- You have the ability to get people who follow you to get involved and take action.
Of course, it’s difficult to build your online influence overnight. It’s a process, and it does take some time; however, even as you begin to build your online influence, you are already engaging your ideal clients in the trust-building process. As your online influence gradually expands, it creates more trust-building opportunities, and, eventually takes on a life of its own.
There is no Time to Waste in Building Trust
It’s expected that 90% of the assets to be transferred to the next generation will not remain with the original financial advisor. For financial advisors, or their firms, who expect to be in business over the next 30 years, now is the time to begin the process of cultivating those relationships by building influence and trust.
The good news is you know where they reside – on the Internet; and you know whom they do trust – professionals who have credibility and influence, especially in digital communities. Most financial advisors already have an online presence, and an increasing number are becoming active on social media. However, to get the attention of the next generations, and gain their trust, advisors must make the short leap from simply having an online presence to strategically building their online influence.