What is a Trusted Advisor?
A trusted advisor is one who has the ability to identify, understand and anticipate a client’s most important needs and their unique situation and most importantly deliver problem-solving capabilities that create peace of mind.
Becoming a Trusted Advisor
Becoming a Trusted Advisor isn’t an overnight process. There are many pieces to a relationship that results in achieving that status.
For example, recently I wrote a blog titled 5 factors for getting others to listen to you. I reference it now because you cannot become a Trusted Advisor if others will not listen to you.
But being a Trusted Advisor requires more than just having others listen. It requires others to put their complete trust in you. They must trust you so much that they will be vulnerable and admit their deepest and most intimate problems to you.
Are your clients admitting their most important problems to you? If not, it will be hard to help them and impossible to become a Trusted Advisor.
What can you do to move towards becoming a most Trusted Advisor?
1 – Trusted Advisors Stay Disciplined in their Niche
Find your niche and build a track record of success in that niche.
Doctors, nurses and pharmacists have commanded the highest levels of trust for the 15 years that Gallup has been conducting research on this topic. These professions are very disciplined in their niche and their degrees provide great social proof. Because of this, most people are quick to admit their problems when they go to a healthcare provider, their Trusted Advisor.
You cannot make everyone a die-hard fan but you have a higher probability of making the right people die-hard fans and the right people are in your niche. When you stay disciplined in a niche you can learn about their intimate problems, their challenges and their opportunities.
What is your niche? If you need help discovering your niche check out Discover your X-Factor for more on this topic.
2 – Trusted Advisors Focus on Solving Problems
Find problems that you can solve better than anyone else in world and then build a reputation as an expert at solving these problems. Your level of importance will grow in direct proportion to your proximity to the income statement or balance sheet of those you serve. Most companies look at financial performance as the ultimate measure client satisfaction, employee engagement, strategy, and operational performance. Find and highlight the correlation.
What problems are you the best at solving? Can you link your product results to financial performance?
3 – Trusted Advisors Anticipate Needs
It is important to listen to your clients and to determine how they are framing their challenges and first understand their vision for a solution.
However, there is more to being a Trusted Advisor than just jumping whenever the client asks you to, the only question you ask being “How high?” A Trusted Advisor anticipates their client’s highest-level challenges and diagnoses the root cause before discussing solutions.
Work to truly understand by asking questions like, “Why is this important?” and “What is the impact in other areas?”
4 – Trusted Advisors Advise Versus Sell
Be a problem solver not a solution pusher. Trusted Advisors put the needs of their clients in front of their own needs. Most likely, you know the market better than they do. Recommend alternatives to your organization when it is a better fit. People like to buy and hate to be sold. Put another way, empower those you serve to make the right decision.
5 –Trusted Advisors Lead their Clients
Trusted Advisors have a vision for making things better. Use this vision to make recommendations the client has not yet considered. When your clients take action and implement the recommendations, it creates a positive impact.
6–Trusted Advisors are Confident
Create unshakeable confidence in yourself and your message. Study your industry and master your craft. Focus on those that see value in what you do and do not let those who don’t drag you off course.
Trusted Advisors have an abundance mindset. When someone does not see the full value in what a Trusted Advisor does, rather than beg or compromise, the Trusted Advisor simply looks for someone who will.
Why You MUST Become a Trusted Advisor
Chances are high that your industry either has already been, or will be, disrupted by emerging technologies. Being a Trusted Advisor ensures you will always be relevant.
I recently had my first experience with a 3D printed product. 3D printing is a disruptive technology that is quickly changing how items are produced, and has the potential to disrupt the dental industry – which currently falls into the highly trusted healthcare category we discussed above.
My first 3D printed product was a set of invisible teeth aligners from SmileDirect.com. My lack of discipline in wearing my retainers as a teenager has resulted in crooked teeth as an adult. I finally feel like there is an efficient, affordable, and easily-accessible solution.
Time will tell whether I experience the same results as others have with this new product. However, unless dentists find a way to become – or remain – Trusted Advisors, my bet is the dental industry will fall victim to disruption from this emerging technology.
No industry is immune from the disruption taking place from the creative applications of technology. Those striving to be Trusted Advisors must recognize that the pace of change today is too great to stay in love with yesterday’s best practices. And while they may not be able to control or predict where things are going, they can control their mindset and the effort they put towards being a Trusted Advisor in the minds of those they serve.
Being a Trusted Advisor will ensure you are relevant no matter where things ultimately end up.