How To Position Yourself As A Trusted Advisor
In sales, positioning yourself as a trusted advisor can mean the difference between having ‘an OK’ sales career – and absolutely thriving in your industry.
So, what is a trusted advisor; and how do you position yourself in this way to your potential clients?
In this article, you’ll learn:
- What is a trusted advisor?
- Behaviours that’ll break trust
- The six traits you’ll need
How To Position Yourself As A Trusted Advisor
What Is A Trusted Advisor?
A trusted advisor is a Sales Professional, Business Owner or Consultant that has earned the trust of their potential client, or current clients.
As per Hub Spot, there are six dimensions to a trusted advisor:
- Integrity: You’re received as reliable, dependable and trustworthy
- Competency: You can deliver on what you say you can
- Recognition: You treat them as a person, rather than a number
- Proactivity: You genuinely care about their best interests
- Savvy: You show empathy and understand their issues
- Chemistry: You and your potential clients/ clients ‘click’, and get along well
Embodying these principles will help you position yourself as a trusted advisor; which in turn will help both you and your clients.
What Will Hurt Your Perception As A Trusted Advisor?
As much as it is important to learn what makes a trusted advisor; it is equally important to know what’ll damage your perception of being seen and treated as one.
The first thing that’ll break trust, is going into a sales conversation with little to no understanding of your potentials client’s needs.
Your potential client will expect you to have done some homework, and at least ensure they’re qualified prior to meeting them. Failing to do so, won’t help your positioning as a trusted advisor.
Secondly, the next quick way to break trust and lose the sale is by presenting you product or service too early.
As per our article in Entrepreneur; many Sales Professionals make the mistake of doing something we call ‘premature presentation’.
This is when they present their product or service without deep diving into the following:
- Whether there’s an actual need
- Learning their pain points
- Finding out their desired outcome
Presenting before learning any of these vital ingredients will massively hurt your perception as a trusted advisor, because it’ll demonstrate that you’re there for a quick sale – rather than actually trying to solve their problems or issues.
Finally, they don’t know how to walk away from a sale.
A trusted advisor knows and feels confident to tell their clients or potential clients when something won’t work, or if they won’t be the right fit.
You’ll quickly break trust if you try and close a sale or up sell something that you have no business offering a current or potential client.
The Six Traits Of A Trusted Advisor
In order to be a trusted advisor, there are six distinct traits you’ll need to learn, embody – and then build into your life so that they become guiding principles to follow.
Below is our list.
The first on our list, is that you have to operate with a high level of integrity; in which you serve your clients or potential clients with their interests in mind.
Many Sales Professionals and Business Owners operate with a short vision; they think about making a quick sale, even if it means selling something your potential client or clients don’t actually need.
A trusted advisor knows that they have to think about the long game, and they only will prescribe a solution if they truly know they’ll benefit from it, and that it’s something they need.
On integrity; a trusted advisor also knows that the relationship between them and their client is something to be cherished, and they’ll never speak out against them, or share things with others about them that they wouldn’t wish shared.
Integrity is an important principle to have in life, and one that separates a trusted advisor from a status quo salesperson.
Experience & Knowledge
A trusted advisor has the required knowledge of their subject and has the experience to look at a situation or problem from multiple vantage points.
Furthermore, it’s also very beneficial when you can share knowledge and experience about other similar verticals to theirs and lean on similar industries to help them realise how they can borrow ideas from other places to work for them.
To be a trusted advisor, we recommend that you learn your craft and subject in depth, as well as what other relatable industries and competitors are doing in their own businesses.
A core principle of a trusted advisor is that they are consistent in their approach, as well as understand the importance of following frameworks for consistency.
For example; if they’re meeting with a new potential client, they would initially use a discovery call to qualify their potential clients, and then use a step by step sales process to learn if there’s an actual need to serve them.
They’re consistent with their planning, their finances, their internal procedures, and they way they approach and treat their clients.
A trusted advisor know that their word is their bond, and they will ensure they don’t break it.
One of the fundamental ingredients of a relationship, is trust.
A trusted advisor knows that by breaking trust by not being reliable or coming through for a potential client, that it’ll tarnish their reputation and make it difficult to come back from.
In sales; it’s important to only promise on something you know you can definitely deliver.
This way, you won’t be setting yourself up for failure, and can maintain being reliable for your clients.
People like people who like them; and people like people who ask questions to learn more about them.
A trusted advisor knows to stay curious; they ask a lot of questions and have a genuine desire to learn about their client and their business, so that they can offer better solutions, and think about ways to enhance them and their business.
Staying curious will not only help you get more knowledge about your industry, but it also demonstrates empathy and shows that you care.
The Ability To Listen
Finally, a trusted advisor is an excellent listener.
Most people listen to think about how they will respond.
A trusted advisor however will listen to be present, and truly digest and learn what it is their client is actually telling them.
They’ll get clarity before making assumptions and ask further probing questions to learn the underlying reasoning for their client’s viewpoint.
Trusted advisors know that it’s not about being right; but more importantly, being present and actually hearing what people are saying.
Position Yourself As A Trusted Advisor – Final Thoughts
These traits will help position you as a trusted advisor when dealing with your potential or actual clients and enhance your relationship with them.
A trusted advisor is generally a lot more successful than a regular salesperson, because they don’t look at people merely as numbers.
Behind the business – are people; people who want to be heard, cared about, and want a relationship with a specialist.
By positioning yourself in this way, you’ll be of better service to others around you, and you’ll be rewarded for it.