What determines your value is not up to you to decide. It is left up to the client. And that decision is a lot simpler than you might think.

When selecting an advisor, three things are of value to a prospective client: That person must like the advisor, that person must trust the advisor and that person must think the advisor is smart. There is very little else to factor in initially.

Prospective clients generally are not looking for more information. Rather, they are looking for someone they can trust. We’re selling financial solutions and they are buying peace of mind. There is a big difference. They’re not judging us on what we know. They are judging us on who we are.

That’s nowhere more evident than in the initial meeting. For you, that initial meeting is a job interview.

Most advisors feel compelled to explain how they manage money in that initial meeting, and that’s not where the prospective client is focused. While the advisor is talking, the prospective client is dealing with one simple question: Can I trust you?

They are not going to be influenced by the numbers. They are going to be influenced by your strength of character. The perceived amount of trust in the advisor dictates the advisor’s value. When clients finally find an advisor they can trust, they retain that advisor. The peace of mind that ensues is enormous.

Make sure you come across as likeable. People do business with people they like. Advisors who are not likeable bring no value to a relationship.

Know what it means to be trustworthy. When a client fires an advisor, the reason most often cited is lack of communication. What the clients really mean is lack of follow-up.

Not seeing enough people is the number one cause of failure in our business. Not following up is number two. Advisors who don’t follow up are not trustworthy.

I have seen many cases where a client has transferred in his or her entire account without hearing a single investment recommendation. Why would someone do that?