Building Trust and Relationships – The Power of Transparent Values

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Why is it that many top businesses attract the best clients/customers? It can seem too easy – they have targeted clients chasing them, they convert almost every prospect they want, and customers love them. What is the underlying cause and how can other businesses replicate it?

The answer may surprise you. After 30+ years as an advisor, senior leader, consultant, coach, and business owner in the industry, I am convinced the answer lies within 2 words – TRUST and VALUES. Let me break it down for you:

We trust those we feel are both Competent and have Character (Dr. Stephen Covey)

Many businesses demonstrate their competency by sharing skills, credentials, firm capabilities, etc.

Top professionals also do two things very well:

  1. They are more transparent with their values and demonstrate their character
  2. They are more skilled at asking the right questions and demonstrating an understanding of other’s (clients and prospects) values.

They are able to do this in multiple ways and through multiple mediums and communication methods – both online and offline.

Here’s a short course on some tangible action steps you can take.

Your Transparent Values:

Step 1 – get clear on your values and branding. Download our free marketing template if you want some help with this. Narrow down to your top 5 -7 values. Mine are integrity, family, health, connection, personal responsibility, growth and adventure.


Step 2 – make sure your values are reflected in everything you do online and offline:

–       Your thoughts, actions, words

–       What you share online and offline – for example, I constantly share health and workout tips I have learned in person (when asked) and in blogs and posts online.

–       Any profiles, bios, content posts, and website – for example; if family is one of your values, post pictures and videos of family interactions. Showcase organizations you belong to and contribute to that reflect your values.

–       Your conversations – look for commonality of values and share stories that demonstrate your commitment to those values. Storytelling is a critical differentiator of successful advisors.

Demonstrating understanding of others’ values:

This is really about the questions you ask and the communication process you choose. I recently read a great article in the weekend edition of the WSJ (2/28 – 3/1) called “Three Questions to help set your financial priorities”. It was targeted at consumers, but they are very powerful questions that you can ask to uncover client values.

  1. Imagine you have enough $ to satisfy all of your needs now and in the future. Would you change your life? Why? If so, how would you change it?
  2. Assume you are in your current financial situation. Your doctor tells you that only have 5-10 years to live. What would you change and why?
  3. Your doctor tells you that you have only 1 day to live. You look back on your life – what did you miss out on? Why? Who did you not get to be? Fail to do?

A powerful communication process can also be used.  It is based on one key question that gets at values faster than anything I have seen. It is simple: you keep asking: What is it about X that is important to you?

In the end, it is really about human nature. We all want to be understood. We all want to be trusted. Take the time to get clear on your own values, share them in ways perhaps you haven’t in the past, and continue to challenge yourself to increase your communication skills and questions to uncover and understand the core values of those you want to build lasting relationships with.

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