Lying to a client or prospect is never good in business, but it’s an especially bad way to start a relationship. I received an email today from “Victoria Lopez” at “Growth Titan”. The subject said: “Michael, just pinged your Linkedin”. It opens with “I messaged you on Linkedin to arrange a call, but thought this might be better”. Of course I received no such message or connection request in LinkedIn.
Victoria is in the lead generation business. I am inundated on a daily basis with pitches from firms that want to set up appointments for me with prospective clients. It’s not a service I am interested in. I guess Victoria is just trying to get everyone’s attention. Unusually for me, I did open her email.
Once I realized she opened with a lie, I had no interest in anything she had to say. Even if she was selling something I needed or wanted, how could I trust her? Would you? It’s also an industry that doesn’t have the best reputation. Stories of the same lead being sold to multiple customers are common and many are not screened for whether they are a match to what the person or firm on the other side of the desk does or the type of clients they work with. In other words, bad apples give the industry a bad rap.
This got me thinking about my own profession. In the broadest “big-tent” category of “financial services”, there is a well deserved lack of trust. There are squadrons of sales reps pushing all types of financial products and services. Most are held to a suitability standard – meaning the product or service has to be something that you might need or benefit from. Consumers end up with purchases that have little value to them, cost too much, and are far from the best solution to their problem, to name a few shortcomings. They often get the “this is the greatest thing since sliced bread” sales pitch and a stack of legalese disclosures that they don’t understand and hence usually don’t read. Any questions they do ask are often glossed over. Bad apples again give everyone a bad reputation.
My space in the tent is very different. As a Financial Planner and Wealth Manager I work differently. Federal and State regulations, as well as those of the CFP Board of Standards who issued my certification as a CFP®, require me to work as a Fiduciary. It is the highest standard in dealing with my clients. If you are not familiar with the Fiduciary Standard – you can read more here: http://www.financialconnectioninc.com/fiduciary-standard
I realize my most important value to my clients is my fiduciary duty – an unwavering dedication to putting their needs and interests first in all cases. In a world full of sharks, I will always be their lifeboat.
The Bottom Line: There is always room in my lifeboat.
–Michael Ross, CFP®