Let me be your Trusted Advisor!
The term Trusted Advisor is being used currently in both business and personal situations. In short, a Trusted Adviser is someone who has the Knowledge, Attitude (or Compatible Values), Training and Experience to be trusted by individuals to provide advice that will address a specific need. A Trusted Advisor can be anyone: a family member, a vendor, business associate, or a customer.
Recall someone that either referred you to a vendor or referred a customer to you. Remember who it was and what they did as I tell you some Trusted Advisor stories.
Long ago I had a carpenter work on my old Victorian house. He first demolished and then replaced my back porch. He provided exactly what I needed, high quality craftsmanship, efficiency, and at a reasonable price. I called him when I needed him on a different project. While he was there I asked him to recommend a plumber. He pulled a small telephone book out of the top pocket of his bib overalls, turned the pages with his large thumb, and said, “Call this guy”. I took his advice and received excellent service.
Fast forward to today.
Many of us find Trusted Advisors through networking. Do you remember someone you trusted enough to ask for a referral for a product or service that they did not provide themselves? What was it about that person that caused you to trust them?
It may be that you had a working relationship with them. We need to have a relationship with someone to do business, the bigger the business, the bigger the relationship needs to be. How did this person establish a relationship with you? It could be that They showed up consistently. Or that they demonstrated Knowledge, Attitude, Skills and Habits that that made us believe in them.
Typically, we go through a process where we get to know somebody in a meeting or event. There is something specific that we like about them. There was something they did that made us trust them. There was something they did that caused us to trust that we could depend on them for all to a quality product or service.
My 2nd story comes from my own practice as a business advisor. I often need to refer clients to services that I don’t provide myself. Sometime ago I had a client that was not been well served by their current accountant. They were $2.5 million a year business and were functioning without QuickBooks or the equivalent. I recommended a QuickBooks certified accountant to them who served them very well going forward.
My final example of a Trusted Advisor is my friend Jim Voigt. Jim is an attorney whose clients are small and medium-size businesses. As part of his practice, he provides clients with their corporate meeting minutes and annual reports. This effort involves an annual meeting with the client to review their past years activities in their plans for the next year. Of course, the need for additional legal services comes out of that conversation. Also, he may hear the need for services that he does not provide. On occasion he can even observe that that the client has a business management need. In that case, he could ask them, “Might you be interested in speaking with a business advisor?” And I get a referral.
Think about ways that you might enhance your business brand as a Trusted Advisor.
- Ask your clients questions that let you learn what is going on in their business, what is important to them, and therefore their needs, dreams, and vision.
- They may ask you for a recommendation to a vendor or provide you with an opportunity to recommend one.
As a Trusted Advisor we can best meet the most important needs of our customers. By supporting them in meeting their needs, we create a relationship strong enough to do business. Of course, the stronger the relationship, the more opportunities there are to do more and more business …with us.