The "Know, Like, Trust" Factor in Your Marketing
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You’ve probably heard of the “know, like, trust” factor, but you might wonder if there is a need to put it to work for you at scale. After all, as a financial advisor, chances are you are a generally likable person, and your personality has played a part in your success.
You are in the business of helping people on a personal level. The “know, like, trust” factor probably isn’t a struggle for you because, if you weren’t a people person, you would have chosen a different career path. You may have the foundation covered, but growing a business is different from making friends or being well-known. Getting someone to trust you with their financial decisions goes beyond just being friendly; they have to really trust you.
To scale your business, you can’t rely on your personality alone to carry you through; instead, you need to take the necessary steps to intentionally and systematically make sure more of your ideal prospects have the opportunity to get to know, like, and trust you every day.
What Is the “know, like, trust” factor?
The concept is basic, but there is a lot more to “know, like, trust” than you might have considered. Essentially, it represents the journey that your potential client makes when they are getting to know you and your professional brand.
They have to know who you are, which means they need to know you exist, what services you offer, and why you are qualified to deliver those services. Then they need to determine whether they like what they discover – that you seem like someone they can connect with, and you appear to be qualified and capable of meeting their needs satisfactorily. And finally, once they know and like you, trust can begin to develop as they decide whether or not you seem to be an honest, dependable person or company upon whom they can rely.
Only when you’ve overcome the “know, like, trust” hurdle, can you expect to secure them as a client and grow your relationship. At times, the journey from meeting you to signing on the dotted line is a quick one, depending on how they are introduced to you, what their circumstances are, and how discerning they are.
But most often, you will need to take action to move the process along.
How to boost the “know, like, trust” factor in your marketing
Marketing encompasses every activity you do to increase your sales and enhance your growth. Whether interacting with a prospective client one-on-one, at a seminar or speaking engagement, or through your promotional materials, both online and off, the “know, like, trust” factor should be incorporated into everything you do.
The first step is to help people get to know who you are and what you stand for in your firm. If you think of the marketing journey as a funnel, “know” is the top of the funnel or the widest point.
Share compelling biographies of yourself and your team with relevant background information. When people see that you have something in common, they are more likely to pay attention, connect with you, and want to get to know you better. Professional, friendly headshots and photographs can go a long way in making a connection, too; people are visual, and images matter more than ever.
In all of your communications, you need to be intentional and clear about exactly who your firm serves and who don’t. Every presentation you give, every piece of marketing collateral you produce, and every bit of content you publish should either attract your ideal client or repel those who are not a good fit for your firm.
You will also need to make it crystal clear what services you provide, what benefits they can expect to gain from working with you, exactly how you work with clients, how you structure your fees, and other critical information. People are curious and skeptical; the more precise the information you can give them upfront, the better.
Lack of clarity leads to assumptions and objections that may work against you. Providing the information they need to begin making a decision is more likely to work in your favor. When you help potential clients get to know you better, they can self-select to keep learning more or move on without wasting further time.
One of the best ways for people to get to know you more quickly and boost your credibility is to be generous about sharing your knowledge and helpful information.
Knowing you does not mean liking you. The way you present your brand and demonstrate your expertise and professionalism makes a difference. In order for a prospective client to get to like you, you have to give them material to help them along the marketing journey. If you think of the marketing funnel, you are still near the widest, top part, but you are beginning to narrow your pool toward the middle.
One of the most effective ways to get people to like you more is to be authentic. Nobody connects with a stuffed suit or wants to work with a robot. Yes, a financial advisor needs to show up in a more formal manner than some professions, but you would be well served to let your personality shine through and drop the overly polished veneer.
People connect with genuine people.
A great method for enhancing your likability is to share stories. People connect with stories when they are relatable and inspirational, so consider sharing stories whenever possible. Clients would be interested to hear or read about why you became a financial advisor, obstacles you’ve faced along the road in your life or career, and how you overcame them. Stories about you or your client’s experiences and what you or your clients learned through them can also register these same feelings.
Make an effort to be positive, upbeat, and optimistic in your communications while also being transparent and truthful. As a financial advisor, you will need to work through some tough topics – from market volatility or decline to the struggles your clients face that affect their finances, such as job loss, divorce, and illness. They want to know they will be working with someone who will be real with them and have the fortitude to get them through whatever life throws their way.
Do the little things well, because early impressions matter. People want to work with an advisor who will be responsive and easy to reach, so be sure to respond to phone calls, emails, and even social media comments in a timely manner. Make sure your support staff understands the role they play in marketing and growing the business through the way they communicate with prospective clients as well.
Because potential clients are likely to forget you soon after they meet you or land on your website, make sure you have measures in place to stay in touch. They can’t grow to like you if you don’t help them remember you. Create a valuable opt-in, such as a special report or worksheet, to solve a problem for them right off the bat, illustrate your expertise, and make sure they know exactly what you have to offer. If they sign up for this opt-in, they are entering the middle of your marketing funnel – the pool of people who are more likely to consider working with you.
Some people are easier to win over than others, but many people have their guard up – especially when it comes to money. Whether they’ve worked with a financial advisor who burned them in the past, they’ve never worked with an advisor before, or they aren’t sure if you can help them reach their goals, it’s your job at this stage to do what you can to establish your credibility, demonstrate your reliability, and prove that you are capable.
In marketing, one of the most effective ways to build trust is to keep showing up. Simply being there again and again with helpful information and resources, addressing concerns, sharing your insights, and offering your perspective can make quite an impact. It allows you to show that you are, in fact, knowledgeable, and consistency breeds trust.
Marketing online also provides an opportunity to leverage social proof, which helps instill trust. You can share testimonials from happy clients, articles that you’ve written or places you’ve been quoted, media clips, speaking engagements, examples of community service, and case studies – all putting your firm in a positive light. Social proof shows people that other people trust you, and it, in turn, signals that they can trust you too.
Email is one of the best methods for building trust in marketing. When you offer a valuable opt-in, such as a special report, you will also want to follow that up with regular email communication. Deliver a series of emails, known as a “nurture sequence,” over the next couple of weeks, explicitly designed to amplify the “know, like, trust” factor and acclimate them to how your firm can help them.
Within those emails, invite them to a free consultation. This is the point at which they’ve neared the bottom of the marketing funnel. These readers will be warmed up and primed to speak with you about potentially working together.
Whether they take you up on this offer or not, be sure to stay in consistent communication with them through a regular monthly or quarterly newsletter. This will keep you top of mind, so over time, when they are ready to further explore working with a financial advisor, you will be in the running, all because you made the extra effort to establish trust.
The bottom line
The “know, like, trust” factor is the foundation for every relationship in business. Without it, you won’t make sales or sign new clients. With it, you are well on your way to cultivating profitable and fulfilling relationships that enable you to grow a business that you love.
Sometimes creating a nurturing series that develops a, “know, like, trust” factor can seem like an overwhelming task to undertake on your own. This is exactly what we do for our clients! We help to craft a nurturing series that is captivating and helps develop a consistent appearance and engaging relationship with your prospects. Reach out to us to see how we can help!
Crystal Lee Butler, MBA is a creative marketer and results-oriented business consultant with over a decade of experience collaborating with independent advisers. At Crystal Marketing Solutions, LLC she delivers exceptional insights for financial professionals enabling them to create a consistent marketing presence so they can focus on the things that matter most to them.