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As an advisor, your most valuable trait is sincerity. But most of us don’t understand how sensitive our radar is for picking up insincerity. In a study on sincerity, researchers played recorded responses to questions like, “What do you think of my new hairdo?” Some of the responses reflected the honest views, whereas others had the responder reading from a script. Listeners were generally able to distinguish sincere responses from insincere ones.

Benefits of sincerity

Another study found clients who viewed their real estate agent as being sincere (via body language, voice tone and facial expressions) were much more likely to feel satisfied with the service provided than those who dealt with agents they perceived as insincere.

Yet another study found that in order for pharmacists to succeed, it wasn’t enough to provide high-quality service (though that’s critical in a field where one mistake could lead to someone’s death). It was in developing that sense of trust with their customers through conveying sincerity that led to long-term sustainable success.

Edward C. Bursk, formerly the editor of the Harvard Business Review, observed, “Sincerity is at the very crux of low pressure selling.”