Your Clients Are Telling You How Much They Trust You. Are You Listening?
Wouldn’t it be great if your clients told you exactly how much they trust you?
What would you do with that information? How would it help you help your clients? Would they be more likely to follow your advice? How would that impact their success and yours?
I believe your clients are telling you how much they trust you with the most effective and predictable communication method that exists: behavior. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s famous quote applies here, “what you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” What your clients do, or do not do, is speaking loudly about trust. Are you listening?
I call these the “metrics” of trust and they are:
- How receptive to comprehensive financial services and advice are each of your clients?
- Have they consolidated all of their business with you?
- Do they act on your advice with relatively little “selling” or the need to use “persuasion” or “closing” techniques?
- Are they more influenced by your advice than the negative emotions related to market, economic, political, or world events?
- Do they pay your fee without quibbling or haggling?
- To what degree do they either offer unsolicited referrals or respond positively when you ask them to introduce you to their friends, family, and colleagues?
If your clients have an imaginary trust dial embedded in their subconscious, and they do, where does the needle on that trust dial have to be so your clients trust you completely? And if you are dealing with spouses or partners, keep in mind that there are two separate trust dials at work
Would you like to have clients who are fully comprehensive, consolidate all of their business with you, act on your advice, are more influenced by your advice than negative world events, happily pay your fee, and consistently introduce you to their friends, family, and colleagues? The key is trust.
Most of what’s involved in building trust is within your control. It’s also helpful to keep in mind that some people can’t trust. Establishing trust with someone who can’t trust is like trying to teach someone with a morbid fear of sharks to surf. Even if it’s possible, it’s not worth the time.
This also has little to do with how trustworthy you are. For the sake of this article, I am going to assume that you are trustworthy from both the competence and character sides of trust. I’m sure you find it frustrating to be trustworthy and have some people not trust you. Trust is for them to decide about you, not something you can declare.
The truth about how much each of your clients trusts you is a simple, honest assessment by you and your team of all six metrics of trust for each of your clients. How does that work?
Let’s take the first metric. What are your clients telling you if they look to you for advice in all areas of financial services? What does it say about how much they trust you if they only do business with you in one area of financial services, say investments or insurance? It could be as simple as you are not clearly communicating everything you can do for them. Or is it that they trust you enough to do some business with you, but not enough to work with you across all areas of financial services? Your clients’ willingness to be engaged in a holistic relationship vs. a la carte transactions is a metric of how much they trust you. What is their behavior in this area telling you about how much they trust you? On a scale of 1-10, what’s the score?
Having multiple advisors is not diversification. Metric #2 means that when your clients have their money spread among several advisors and institutions they are sending the message that they don’t trust any of you enough. You know your clients trust you completely when they have consolidated all of their investments with you. Consolidated doesn’t necessarily mean that all of their money has been transferred into an account at your firm. What about the money they have in places in that can’t be transferred into those accounts? Does that money still fall under your advice and are they willing to pay you for that? What is their behavior in this area telling you about how much they trust you? On a scale of 1-10, what’s the score?
I’ve seen research about how wealthy people having their investments spread among several advisors and institutions used to justify that this is just how wealthy people “are,” it’s not changeable, and you should be happy with a good-size account even it’s only a part of what they have. This is ridiculous. The much better lesson, and the good news for you, is that they have not yet met someone they trust enough to simplify their life by consolidating all of their money into a well-diversified asset allocation through one advisor. Why couldn’t that person be you? Wealthy people value simplification. Is it simpler to have multiple advisors and institutions even when that doesn’t add any value? Will you become the person they trust enough to consolidate all of their assets with? Or will that be someone else?
The third metric is how readily they act on your advice. Have you ever given someone advice and without any hesitation they said, “okay.” That’s trust. Even the most analytical people are capable of trusting at this level. The more you are trusted the more quickly your clients act on your advice with less information, education, or discussion. If you feel like you’re “closing” the trust level is low. What would have to happen for you to become the advisor who exudes that level of trust? What is their behavior in this area telling you about how much they trust you? On a scale of 1-10, what’s the score?
The fourth metric is the degree to which your clients are more influenced by you than they are by all the negative events in the world that are very effectively exaggerated, embellished, and spun by smart and articulate people who deliver the “news.” When the crap hit the fan a few years ago did your clients stay the course of their plan or did they make you sell low, against your advice? What has to happen to move the needle on the trust dial so your clients are more influenced by you than their emotional reaction to events out of their control? What is their behavior in this area telling you about how much they trust you? On a scale of 1-10, what’s the score?
The fifth metric is about your compensation. First of all, is ALL of your compensation totally transparent and fully disclosed? Are ALL of the costs of doing business with you totally transparent and fully disclosed, not just the money that you get paid? And are they happy to pay whatever that is? If there is debate about your fee it could mean more than just a cheap client. There could be a trust issue at work. When that needle on the trust dial moves farther to the right your clients will be happy to pay the fee, provided, of course, there is a good value. What is their behavior in this area telling you about how much they trust you? On a scale of 1-10, what’s the score?
And that brings us to metric #6: referrals. I think it’s reasonable to believe that your clients have to trust you more to refer you to their friends, family, and colleagues than the level of trust required for them to do business with you. A referral and introduction puts their most important relationships at risk. If you drop the ball it reflects badly on them. So, do they refer you? How involved are they willing to be to make a warm introduction? Obviously, there’s a significant trust difference between, “call so-and-so, but don’t use my name” versus “give Bob a call later this week after I have the chance to speak with him and tell him how much I trust you and what a great job you have done for me.” And don’t believe it for a moment if you ever here, “we just don’t refer.” That’s not very encrypted code for, “I don’t trust you enough to risk my relationships with my friends, family, and colleagues to make those introductions.” Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to be trusted that much. What is their behavior in this area telling you about how much they trust you? On a scale of 1-10, what’s the score?
Now what? How do you use this information to become a better advisor for your clients and a more successful advisor for yourself and your family? The first step is an assessment to discover the truth about the level of trust that exists with your clients based on their behavior against these six metrics.
To make it easier for you we created the Metrics of Trust™ Spreadsheet. Follow this link to download it for free. Essentially, the way it works is that you enter the name for each of your clients and assess where they stand in each of these six areas. Using a simple 1-10 scoring system your trust score with that client could be a maximum 60. It will be very apparent where you want to improve your value delivery or strengthen the relationship to move the needle on the trust dial to where both you and the client would prefer for it to be.
Make it your goal to become the kind of advisor and communicator who can move the needle on the trust dial to create a clientele who are fully comprehensive, consolidate of all of their business with you, act on your advice, are more influenced by you than negative external events, happily pay your fee, and consistently introduce you to their friends, family, and colleagues.
How We're Investing in the Search for a Cancer Cure
Written by: Frank Jennings, Ph.D., Portfolio Manager
I hate cancer.
I’ve lost one too many friends to this insidious disease and I’ve made it a priority to be part of the effort to find a cure for it. Every day, I draw motivation from the people I’ve lost in my work as Portfolio Manager of Oppenheimer Global Opportunities Fund.
I may not be a doctor or medical industry professional, but the work my team and I do has brought us to the front lines of the ongoing fight against cancer. The Fund’s guiding philosophy is to invest in emergent growth companies that we believe have the potential to grow into large, highly profitable businesses.
Our search for these types of companies has given me renewed hope that we are closer than ever to finding a cure for one of the deadliest scourges humanity has ever known.
OppenheimerFunds’ Role in the Fight
Oppenheimer Global Opportunities Fund invests in a number of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that are developing breakthrough drugs that can potentially treat the disease more effectively without debilitating side effects, make it easier for patients to manage pain, and possibly even lower the cost of treatment.
The cutting-edge therapies that are in development may even pave the way to the ultimate goal – a cure for all forms of the disease. Of course, one glance at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) website is all it takes to remind us we’re in a fight that often feels like an uphill race against time.
At some point in their lifetime, nearly 40% of the population will be diagnosed with cancer, according to the NCI. Last year in the United States alone, 1.7 million people received this dreaded news from their doctor, while nearly 600,000 people succumbed to the disease.1
These statistics certainly make it fair to ask why I’m so optimistic about the future of cancer treatment and the potential for a cure.
Well for starters, just consider that geneticists have finally mapped the entire human genome. Today, 100 million people have had their genomes mapped, which has enabled us to confirm, for example, that there is a particular gene mutation that places some women at a high risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer at some point in their life.
This is important on several fronts. First, it allows doctors to know beforehand whether or not a cancer drug will work on a patient due to the genetic makeup of the cancer. This means fewer drugs will be prescribed inappropriately. It may even help bring promising new treatments to market faster.
By knowing a cancer’s genetic makeup, drug trials can be conducted only on people with a high probability of success. In turn, this will result in less money wasted, better outcomes for patients, and ultimately, faster approvals by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other international regulatory bodies.
The Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Companies We Believe In
One of the largest holdings in the portfolio is in a company that develops and markets therapies that mimic a person’s own immune system to fight cancer. This particular company, which is headquartered in the U.S., recently developed a new antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) technology that allows its medications to attack cancer cells with fewer side effects than chemotherapy.
This firm has a number of innovative cancer medications at its disposal – including therapies for treating various types of lymphoma. The company continues to sign partners onto its proprietary ADC technology, and we believe it is well-positioned to earn millions in royalties over the long term, making it an attractive acquisition target for larger drug makers.
There are a number of European pharmaceutical and biotech firms in the portfolio as well, including another company that specializes in immunotherapy – which seeks to boost the body’s immune system to fight off cancer.
Analysts have predicted this company’s treatment for multiple myeloma has blockbuster potential. And although the drug is primarily used to fight blood cancer, there are signs that it could also work against solid tumors as well. Now beyond the “cash-burning stage” that afflicts most drug makers at some point, this company is on track to becoming a mature biotech firm that’s positioned for strong overall sales and steady royalty income in the near future.
Over the last five years, shares of this company have climbed more than 2,000% and we see potential for continued strong future growth.
How the Cancer Fight Aligns with My Investment Philosophy
I believe companies have a lifecycle – just like people do. There’s a beginning, adolescence, prime years, and an eventual decline phase. Companies usually begin as entrepreneurial ventures powered by the spirit of a startup. If they’re successful, they gradually mature into corporate entities and can enjoy an extended run of success. The decline phase typically takes root when companies get too big and bogged down by bureaucracy, regulation and saturated markets.
The Fund seeks to invest in businesses that still have exponential growth ahead of them. I’ve been excited to discover that there are quite a few companies like this at the forefront of the fight against cancer. Investing in these types of companies within the Oppenheimer Global Opportunities Fund can help clients achieve their desired investment outcomes, which is my top priority as a portfolio manager.
Combining this core mission with my personal desire to see cancer eradicated is one of the most gratifying parts of my job.
Learn more about how we think about investments differently, visit challengetheindex.com
Foreign investments may be volatile and involve additional expenses and special risks, including currency fluctuations, foreign taxes, regulatory and geopolitical risks. Emerging and developing market investments may be especially volatile. Eurozone investments may be subject to volatility and liquidity issues. Investments in securities of growth companies may be volatile. Mid-sized company stock is typically more volatile than that of larger company stock. It may take a substantial period of time to realize a gain on an investment in a mid-sized company, if any gain is realized at all. Fixed income investing entails credit and interest rate risks. When interest rates rise, bond prices generally fall, and the Fund’s share prices can fall. Below-investment-grade (“high yield” or “junk”) bonds are more at risk of default and are subject to liquidity risk. Diversification does not guarantee profit or protect against loss.
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