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If you’re visiting this site, you’re probably highly specialized, with experience serving institutional or high net worth clients — seeking the most effective way to hold on to those clients and attract new ones. The simple truth, in this difficult environment, is that it’s not about the performance of your funds, but about whether your clients believe in you. The most important task you face as a financial professional is to build an authentic connection to your client.

Of course it’s a tall order. Not least of all because “authentic” and “connection” are terms more easily said than experienced. I know that. It’s why, wherever I go, I’m on the alert for examples — to make it real for you, and meaningful in our work together.

For instance, I work with a voice coach. At our most recent session, I had my song down cold. I hit every note right, but my performance was flat.

“When you’re up on that stage,” he explained, “You need to be in a ‘circumstance.’ If it’s real for you when you sing your song, that’s what comes across. That’s what the audience will remember.”

In three short sentences he described the same authenticity that drives a successful portfolio presentation. When what you do and say is real for you, that’s what comes across. Otherwise, you’re just performing. Instead of building credibility, you come across as not real.

The bottom line? There is a direct connection between authenticity and high level success. We see it every day in people like Warren Buffett, Peter Lynch and George Soros. They have the integrity and rigor to stick with the things they believe in and even when we don’t necessarily agree — we listen seriously to what they have to say.