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I’ve never met an advisor who didn’t want to be trusted by prospects and clients.

A 10-year study summarized in the Harvard Business Review found the primary trait impeding executives from reaching their goals was the inability to forge and maintain trusting relationships.

I have done extensive research on this subject. What I’ve found is the single biggest barrier to establishing trust in a new relationship is the lack of reciprocity. Almost every day in my coaching practice, I see advisors sending this message: They don’t trust the prospect.

Here are some examples of this counter-productive conduct.

Extensive screening

You don’t want to waste time at a meeting with someone who isn’t suitable for your practice. That’s understandable.

In a brief call (which should be with an advisor and not an assistant who has been delegated this task), you should be able to determine whether a meeting has the potential to be mutually beneficial.

When you engage in more extensive screening – often to determine which advisor at your firm might be a good fit, or to obtain more detailed financial information – what message are you sending?

The first message is that the prospect hasn’t gone to your website and doesn’t understand your preferred demographic and any minimum assets you require. If that information isn’t on your website, it should be.

A request for detailed financial information before you meet isn’t just off-putting, it also conveys a lack of trust. Why don’t you trust prospects to provide this information at a time of their choosing?