How to Become your Client's Trusted Advisor

Some of you will wonder what a trusted advisor is. You will ask why is it so important, as an individual and as a company, to be a trusted advisor rather than simply a product vendor. You’re thinking that to achieve high customer satisfaction it should be sufficient to sell and service high quality products. Nothing else?


 

If you think like this then you’re good, but you will not be the best. The highest level of customer and partner relationship is that of the trusted advisor.

Let’s establish the two definitions of 'trust' and 'advisor':

What exactly is trust?

The definition is 'firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something'. When we trust someone, it means we feel relatively secure in the belief that he or she will meet our expectations. Trust is stronger than hope but weaker than certainty. Sometimes, people use the word trust when they really mean certainty; on the other hand, trust is mistakenly used when there is no more than hope that someone will do what is desired.

To trust someone means that we believe a person is reliable and delivering on what he or she says. Trust is not automatically there, it must be earned. Trusting someone means that the other person will live up to the understanding that has been established and consistently deliver or exceed what is expected.

How do we perceive trust in business?  

 

"Trust relationships are vital to the conduct of business" 

I find it is best described by whether or not we as individuals feel comfortable sharing or disclosing information with someone else. It’s about whether or not the customers feels we have their best interests at heart.

I find it is best described by whether or not we as individuals feel comfortable sharing or disclosing information with someone else. It’s about whether or not the customers feels we have their best interests at heart.

What is an advisor?

The definition is 'a person who gives advice in a particular field'. As used in our context, an advisor is a guide who supports the 'journey' ('business') of another person ('company'). Someone who shows the visible ways on one side and on the other side the unseen paths. An advisor is like a mountain guide who knows not only the terrain, but also the challenges, risks and required resources.

Steps to Becoming a Trusted Advisor

 

#1 Put your Customer First

Is the customer really important for you - or are you and your goals even more important?

To give effective advice, you need to suppress your own ego and objectives. Put the customer’s needs first! Building trust begins by making customers feel that solutions and important decisions come from them.

#2 Empathise with & understand your Customer

Through active listening and asking the right questions, you’ll be able to establish a relationship where you can proactively manage your customers’ pain points, rather than addressing them reactively as they arise. Part of the 'empathy process' is establishing a sense of trust and rapport. Creating trust and rapport gives us the opening to have those conversations about a customer’s future scope or make recommendations or bring up opportunities.

#3 Be Credible

Maintaining up-to-date industry knowledge, staying well-informed about the latest technology trends and go-to-solutions will help you to provide your customer with an expert and top level service.

#4 Be Reliable & follow through

To turn credibility into a trustful relationship you must be reliable. It doesn’t matter if you’re a subject matter expert if the customer can’t trust you to deliver. Trust can be broken if you don’t consistently deliver on what you say and, once trust is lost, it’s almost never regained.

Keeping promises consistently is the key!

#5 Stay Committed & Communicate

The Trusted Advisor looks for a long-term relationship, not for a short-term gain. You can show your commitment, if you stay in contact with your customers between the projects and beside the official fee-based work. Demonstrate an interest and engagement in your customers and their businesses and you’ll be seen as a trusted person.

Always seek ways to provide greater value to your customers

A competitor can copy your product, spend more on advertising, and offer a lower price. But the one thing a competitor can never do is copy your relationships. True customer loyalty is a key differentiator in business, because it represents something that’s incredibly personal. And trust is the critical element in customer loyalty. It’s possible to learn how to be trustworthy and exercise trust in all business relationships.

How do I know that the customer sees me as a Trusted Advisor?

A Trusted Advisor is the person who gets a phone call about a question clearly outside of his specific area of responsibility (for example the customer is asking you for an electrician or plumber), simply because the customer values and trusts his/her judgment and perspective.

In addition, there needs to be a sense of Mutual Trust. Not just trust in Cloudreach as a service provider and consultancy but to also trust in the customer that they are doing the right thing and following the recommended guidelines to acquiring the services we provide. There has to be a balance.  

 

A picture says more than 1000 words - the steps to develop from a Product Vendor to a Trusted Advisor:  

In this spirit stay tuned according to our value 'Be one step ahead'!