How to Tell Your Most Important Story and Gain Trust from Your Clients in 5 Minutes


Picture this: a new client made an appointment with you and comes to see you in your office. So you think: “This client has a financial problem that I probably can solve.” You’re right. But be aware, your client has another problem first. He doesn’t know if he can trust you. So the question is: how do you let your client know that he can trust you, without you saying: “Don’t worry, you can trust me”.

The most important story you will ever tell is, “Who are you and why are you in business?”

Your life is the long version of that story. Everything you have been, done, haven’t done, dreamed of, will do, will be and won’t be….it’s your story. Your ability to influence people is directly related to what those people know (or believe) about who you are. You personally and your financial planning business.

Your attempts to influence others are filtered through people’s judgements about who you are: your trustworthiness, values, ambitions and integrity. The disadvantage a financial planner faces in today’s world, is that people actively protect themselves from external influences. Who can blame them? They can’t afford to do one more thing today; they don’t want to hear of yet another issue that needs their attention or money. In today’s world, influence is actively resisted, not only because people are up to their eyeballs in information. But because cynicism is justifiably at an all time high in the financial services industry.

Chances are that most people would prefer NOT to trust you. If they can treat you as untrustworthy, it makes their life a whole lot easier. So people make up a story (without realizing) that paints you as “ambitious, or greedy, or inexperienced, or dumb”. Anything that justifies not listening. Because listening to you, really listening, might force them to question their current beliefs, change direction or risk failure.

And lots of times those you wish to influence genuinely don’t know you. You are a stranger. In the absence of information people always make up a story to protect themselves from yet someone else who wants something. Incomplete stories are automatically untrustworthy. Humans naturally treat incomplete information with wariness. We tend to fill in the blanks with cautionary tales. Think about it. When your client says: “I need to see you immediately”. Do you make up a good story (“I bet he needs me for some advice”) or does your reaction lean more toward a “Did I do something wrong?” direction.

The rational thing would be to wait until you get more information. But humans aren’t rational. Never have been, never will be. Incomplete information is almost always filled with worst-case scenario stories. We have to do a better job giving people true stories of good intentions, right actions and positive outcomes. True stories build faith in us, our leadership and our future. Faith keeps people doing their best, giving their all and creatively surviving unavoidable trouble.

People don’t want more information. They can’t process the information they already have. What they want is faith in you, your words and your good intentions. We crave personal experiences that build up our faith and if that’s not possible we want true stories that feel like personal experiences.

Lucky for us you ar a good person. A good financial planner. Misunderstood maybe, but positively intended. Your job is to break through the worst-case scenario stories so people can see, at a deeper level, who you really are beneath the surface. People can’t trust someone they don’t know. If you are so professional and so private that no one really knows you, you are making it twice as hard for them to trust you.

That’s why your job is to answer the next questions:

1.         Who are you?

2.         Why are you in business?

3.         What makes you special?

4.         What earns you the right to influence?

5.         What are your gifts?

Can you tell me and the other readers of the blog Why You Are In Business?

Please, leave your answer here below in the comment field.

With your comment you’ll help me and other readers of this blog with insights. So that we can inspire each other and think together to improve and innovate our financial planning business.

To your success,

Ronald Sier

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Leave a Reply 5 comments

Rhodes Donald Reply

First of all, my reaction to Mike and Martin\’s comments (sorry guys but it helps get my thinking straight). Your answers to Why You Are In Business have missed the point. You are still thinking about what it is you do and no-one is interested in that. Those comments you made (and I\’ve made them in the past) will never inspire faith in you along the lines Ronald is talking about. What you need to discover upon some quiet introspection is what happened in your lives that put you on this path of helping people with their financial problems and why you love what you do. Get it. It is about you and what happened to you, not what you do!

Why am I in this business? I inherited a love of helping people from my mother but more importantly, I watched my father, who I adored, lose his third-generation, multi-million dollar family business as he tried to pass it on to the next generation and I watched his best friend do the same. Both very, very successful people. They both thought they had it together. They were pillars in their community and their country, nationally and internationally respected. And they blew it. I have spent my life building an understanding of how clever, successful people can blow it by not paying attention to risk.

    Ronald Sier Reply

    What a great story! I\’m instantly interested in you – as a person – after reading this.

Martin Reply

To help people protect what\’s important to them, their lifestyle, family and business.

Mike Reply

I\’m in business to help people have a successful investment experience–which includes their experiencing as little stress as possible.

Aloys Harmsen Reply


Ronald, nail on its head. Confidence in the planner is the first step and only we can take that step. Thanks for the insight


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