One of the latest topics is Trusted Advisors – what does the term mean, how do you become one, what are the benefits and what actually makes a trusted advisor?
We decided to recently run a poll on our LinkedIn channel, where we asked our followers “In your opinion what are the key characteristics of a trusted advisor?.”
63% of the voters all agreed that the key traits are:
Earning the status of a Trusted Advisor takes time and commitment, effective relationships need to grow and be built on solid foundations. Yes they need to be credible, reliable and always have your organisations best interests at heart, but they also need to honest and challenging when necessary.
As David Maister puts it in The Trusted Advisor*, “there is no greater source of distrust than advisors who appear to be more interested in themselves, than in trying to be of service to the client. We must work hard to show that our self-orientation is under control.”
Trusted Advisors are authentic, genuine, real and this transparency is a critical factor for building long term successful relationships. By offering valuable insight, being an active listener, showing a vested interest and learning about the problems your customers are facing with their current solutions, will all help to gain trust and trust is the first step to being seen as a Trusted Advisor.
A Trusted Advisor can help steer the partnership in a direction that will benefit both parties in the long-term. You can help advise your customer on how to use your products or services most effectively and potentially upsell or cross-sell if they could benefit more from anything else they do not currently purchase.
Build a sustainable competitor advantage, competitors can look copy anything your business does, but they cannot copy your relationships, true customer loyalty is a key differentiator in business, because it represents something that is incredibly personal.
In conclusion, being a seen as a Trusted Advisor does not happen overnight and at the heart of this earnt status lies trust. Everything you do leads to developing trust with your customers and partners and must be willing to earn this. Share best practices, create added value for your customers, remove your business from being seen as just a transactional relationship, embed yourself and align your organisations values with theirs.