How to show your competence – One of the three secrets to trust


One of the advisers I most admired in my career was a broker called Joss. Behind her desk, in eye view of her clients, was a collage of thank you cards from all her satisfied clients. All her new clients would see these, read a few and immediately feel comfortable with Joss and her competence.

In my first sales role, my desk was immediately beneath an enormous sign saying “Prudential Property Services”. I relied on the brand to set a solid first impression.

Gone are the days when new customers can rely on the brand to demonstrate how competent you are. Halifax, Lloyds, Santander names all give an impression that usually shows that any adviser working for them knows a thing or two about mortgages.

One of the fundamental challenges for you will be proving your competence in the first 10 minutes without relying on a significant brand name above your head.

Their advice days are withering, and you may be encountering lots of new customers as an independent mortgage adviser.

Here are eight ideas to help you do this before you meet the client and within the first 10 minutes:

  • Provide evidence for any definitive statements you use. If you’re the number one broker in town, back it up somehow; if you’re a whole of market adviser, established for over ten years, show the client the FCA register entry or your Client Agreement brochure. Online via video, you can easily offer a screen share of the FCA register.
  • If you’ve been associated in the finance industry or similar for many years, make sure you let your client know this to reflect your competence. Don’t waffle on about it, but make sure they’re aware of your years of experience.
  • Exam certificates are helpful either as photos on the wall, as a visual on Zoom, maybe a background to use for a couple of minutes. Or just a PowerPoint slide showing your qualifications on video.
  • Testimonials, endorsements and client reviews are more than helpful these days; they are essential. Your potential clients will look you up online and will search for reviews of you and your firm. So long as they are impartial and logged in a reputable source, clients will feel assured of your capability and competence. Vouchedfor, unbiased, Google, Trustpilot – there are dozens to use.
  • Testimonials and case studies on websites also work, especially if direct quotes from clients on the web pages. Video testimonials are most powerful and possibly a YouTube Channel with all sorts of videos demonstrating your competence.
  • LinkedIn Profile is a must-have these days. You can own your name when it’s searched on Google, which it will be. Purchase your name as a domain, for example, and have this redirected to your LinkedIn profile. Naturally, ensure your Social Selling Index is in the high percentages with your profile.
  • Podcasts demonstrate your expertise; a published book will do wonders to your silhouette. Articles in the trade press can help so long as you re-purpose these for your clients. Sponsorship may help; charity partnerships are also heartwarming.
  • Finally, how you carry yourself off, communicate, explain things. How you use the tech if you’re advising via video. What you look like also impacts, although this is not so important in these contemporary times. A suit and tie are a bit old fashioned, but that’s a personal choice.
  • Awards? The British Mortgage Broker Award, the Intelligent Finance Magazine Award, the UK Financial Adviser Awards. Please don’t get me on that bandwagon. Just think of the Eurovision song contest and the ultimate winners. Doesn’t Lithuania constantly vote for Estonia, which also reciprocates and gives top marks to Latvia, who always supports Poland with the best marks? The UK always comes last, but surely we’re the best. These are ego stroking lender marketing events that are all over LinkedIn like a rash and a complete waste of industry resources and money. If the funds were used to provide free training to every broker, that would be far more beneficial. The Award Ceremonies cost thousands of pounds.

Rant over.


About Author

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Paul Archer is an Online Sales Trainer, Speaker and Conference Host. He’d be happy to assist you in moving your workshops online during this challenging period. Email him on or LinkIn with him at The world of sales development has changed, many have missed this and boldly go on to run courses in the old-fashioned way. You want to develop your people – professional advisers, salespeople, coaches - and know there is a better way. He can help you. Think about music. I mean the music industry. In 2000 music became free, illegally at first with Napster, downloads became cheap as chips and streaming now cost $10 a month. In the same way, traditional self-development is now free. Everything is available online. Music artists and bands now make their money performing live. The live experience is what fans will pay money for. Recorded music is merely to create demand for the live experience. He brings his 35+ years of sales expertise and experience to you in two ways: Online, on-demand, just in time. He doesn’t run “just in case” training courses, they’re a thing of the past. Development should be “just in time”. Curated video, live videocasts and webinars, podcasts — books, articles and blog posts delivered via his Learning Platforms, YouTube or your in-house systems. Live. He can bring his expertise to your teams in live sessions, but these are rare now and need to be exceptional events. Conferences, seminars and events, he can educate, entertain them with my unique speaking style that has been enjoyed by thousands of sale people and advisers across the globe. Forty-five minutes, 2 hours, maybe a day – you choose. You figured there was a better way to develop your sales teams, you are right, and now you may want to make contact with him so you can talk further. You can Linkin with him at, and he’ll start a conversation or head to his YouTube Channel for more at email him at or phone him on +44 7702 341769, and where ever you are in the world he’d love to hear from you. Paul is a prolific writer and blogger – maintaining three blogs, with attracting thousands of hits from all over the world. He has published eight books. His latest tome "Pocketbook of Presentation Skills” was released in January 2020 and is available from Amazon. The third edition of his book “Train the Trainer of the 21st Century” is also available from Amazon.

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