On trust: How to answer the question, "Should I work with that guy or not?"

Interesting article in the New York Times recently, about how to trust a financial planner, right here:


As you may know, I graduated college and became a CPA, and then got into sales.  My last sales job I held was as a financial planner working for a national firm, and then I left to form my own financial planning firm in the late 1990’s.

And basically, this particular issue the article discusses, was one of the primary reasons why I went into business for myself:

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See, basically here’s how the financial planning industry works:

Planners get paid a commission to sell you products.  Some products pay more than others, so the trick is… from a consumer standpoint, to find a financial planner who is going to offer you solutions and products that are best for you, based on YOUR particular situation — NOT based on his compensation rates for the various solutions out there.

The problem is, every firm offers some kind of “proprietary products.”  For instance, Firm A might sell 1,000 different mutual funds, from 75 different mutual fund families.

But “Firm A Mutual Funds” — the proprietary funds owned by or private-labeled for the particular firm or bank you’re dealing with — pay out a higher commission than the others.

Which means the firm’s employees have a greater incentive to sell those funds, which causes a conflict.

Because if a particular broker isn’t selling these proprietary funds, he gets a hard time from his supervisors.

Which is why I left a national firm and went out on my own.  (Plus, I’m basically unmanageable and unemployable, but that’s another issue :-)

In other words, I wanted to do the best thing for my clients, regardless of how much money I was making.  I always felt, and I still strongly believe… as long as you’re taking care of your clients and doing the right thing for them, the money is going to come in, period.

And once I learned how to market myself properly, I never had any issues with money — and I’ve always followed this philosophy.

So why mess around with something that’s working, right?

Yes, of course.

Plus, it’s nice to sleep soundly at night, not having to worry about getting caught for doing something for the wrong reason — but that’s another topic for another day  :-)

But this article really addresses a much greater concern:

How can you trust someone?

How do you know, ahead of time, whether someone’s going to wind up screwing you or not?

And, how do you make these kinds of decisions in today’s world, when the barrier to entry to doing business — especially online — is pretty close to “zero?”

AND… when many people have no problem making all kinds of claims, ad infinitum, and to the point of absurdity?

Sometimes it seems like the internet is like an Arabian Bazaar.  The characters at all the tables are all just slight exaggerated variations of one another.

And the issue isn’t, which one is going to treat you best — it’s… which one is going to hurt you least?

So… what’s a poor girl like you supposed to do?

How do you figure these things out?

Well, for starters, things are typically much simpler than you think.

When someone asks me a question like this, “How do I know if I can trust this person?”

I think it’s much easier if you look at things in terms of “How would you know if you can trust a new dentist?”

Or a new contractor who’s about to demolish your existing bathroom and put in a new one?

What is your filter for evaluating these people in these situations?

If you’re like most people, there are probably a few things you should do in this situation.

1.  With rare exception, take your time making a decision.

It’s funny how most people will take their time choosing a dentist to fill a cavity, or spend hours deciding which hotel to stay in, or “Do I go with UPS or Fed Ex?”  And yet… some guy online says he can turn chicken salad into chicken shit, and Bam!

You’re convinced he can do this for you, so you immediately Paypal him 20K and then bank your future on it.

Not that there’s anything wrong with investing in things like this, BUT… my first suggestion is, slow down.

Trust is usually earned over time, not in a split-second.

So slow down and see where this person takes you — over time.

2.  Trust is also best earned incrementally, in small doses.

Think about it — do you really sit down with a financial planner, cold… in the first meeting, and hand over a check for a half-million bucks, to invest?

I hope not – unless you have some serious third party referral power and track record behind that first meeting.

Good relationships develop over time, not over night — even online.

And the best relationships — especially in business, are all based on “sampling.”

Get a little taste of what you’re getting into, before making a big huge commitment.

You probably didn’t ask your wife to get married on the first date, right?

And yet… people often rush to make decisions in a business setting when they don’t have to.

I’ve found, the old adage of, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear,” is pretty reliable.

3.  Measure and account, then compare.

One of the greatest benefits sampling gives you, is a chance to take stock and look at what you got for the investment you made.

In other words, did the claims made match the deliverables you received?

Do you see congruency and consistency in the experience you’re having?

Or is there back-pedaling, and shifting philosophies going back and forth?

These are the kinds of things you want to look for, as well as any other “filters” you apply, that make sense.

I think the bottom line is, you have to be fair, when it comes to trust.

And fair means, being fair to BOTH of you.

Plus, it also has to “feel right.”  A guy can have all the academic designations in the world… and say all the right things when you want to hear them.  But… if that basic “feel good chemistry” isn’t there… then trust your gut.

In fact, as long as you’ve taken your time and been fair, trust your gut first and foremost.

And by the way, you CAN, and you should… be applying these, and any other filters you have, on an ongoing basis, as well.

As you know, people change… flake out… and stuff happens, from time to time.  So while you don’t need to be paranoid, keeping one eye on the ball at all times, is probably not a bad idea in many situations.

I also cover this topic extensively, in my book, in Chapter 16, on pages 223-231.

Now go sell something, Craig Garber

P.S.  MORE of this is inside How To Make Maximum Money With Minimum Customers (comes with a LIFETIME Guarantee)

How To Make Maximum Money With Minimum Customers –  Amazon.com

Coming next week: The Maximum Money Club

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About the Author

Craig GarberAuthor of "How To Make Maximum Money With Minimum Customers, " and publisher of Seductive Selling - an offline marketing newsletter currently read in 15 countries, world-wide. In a nutshell, I do two things: 1. I show you how to attract a reliable, steady stream of pre-qualified leads who are ready to do business with you NOW... 2. And I increase your net profits and cash-flow, by increasing your customer, client, or patient value -- often, dramatically. How do I do this? By developing, and helping you implement, unique, personalized lead generation and marketing strategies... using compelling sales messages that push your customers emotional buy-buttons. I've worked with over 300 clients in more than 104 different industries, since March of 2000, and I really enjoy what I do. I'm a stable, reliable, happily married family guy with three kids who loves life and always follows through on my commitments and promises. I love to listen to music, workout, read, travel with my family, take pictures, and go bass fishing. I always say "Yes," when it comes to good cigars, good books, and good coffee :-)