Trusted advisor who?
On my Swedish podcast that I lead together with Michael Alphov, one of our guests, Anthony Iannarino said that you need two things to be a trusted advisor – trust and advice.
It almost sounds basic, but I can promise you that there are tons of people sitting there, not understanding what is it that does not allow them to make the sales they want to be making.
I talk about giving value in almost every article that I write, it is about building a strong relationship with your prospect or client and making sure that the trade you do is worthwhile for both parties.
However, I still see so many people doing sales in a way where they offer their client a service and if they don’t want it, they just wave with it at their face for a little longer and then walk away.
When there is so much more you could do.
What is the difference between a trusted advisor and a simple sales rep?
A trusted advisor is a person that a client goes to for advice. The customer knows their advisor will give them relevant business guidance, will provide insights that they are lacking and will help to put together pieces of the puzzle that they are missing. In many cases the customer has parts of the bigger picture (or puzzle) but lacks the most important pieces.
Such person will ask questions that will make their client open up, dig into what their business needs, what are their problems and then, together with the client, will find solutions for the issues they discussed.
They will know so much about the industry of their client, that they will be able to advise not only on the product or service they are directly providing, but also on what other trends are happening in their business environment and how this is impacting the customer.
A true advisor will inspire their client for a change and will leave them in a state where the client wants to learn more and act on all of the information they just received. The customer will feel like they now have new goals to achieve and they are grateful to have found their new business partner.
Specifically, an advisor will let the customer know why they are wrong assuming and how thinking in a new way could help them to see things in a new light.
It is making the customer understand what they didn’t know that they needed to understand.
On contrary, a sales rep will come into their client’s office, will ask them questions on what they are looking for, will tell them that their service will do all the things their potential client needs and will sell the service. They will not go beyond what they must do.
Which person do you want to meet and which one do you think is more valued in the business community?
How to become an advisor?
After the picture I created, being an advisor rather than like everyone else, sounds so much more logical, however, as it takes effort to become one, I put together 9 clear steps that you can take in order to get closer to being the business partner you want to be.
- Study your industry
- Study your client
- Be the person that has relationships and connections
Learn to ask questions
Listen to understand
Look for the solution that is best for your client
Support beyond your service
Always bring value
These 9 things will transform you from being a simple sales rep to being an advisor. It is about relationship building with providing a true value for your client.
Making it happen will require you to be a professional in your field and industry, you will need to know more than your client does in terms of knowledge as well as people.
You’ll be the person that people need to meet, you will be asking questions that open up honest vulnerable conversations and you will listen as long as you need to, in order to be able to truly help your client.
Your solutions will be thoughtful and will bring change, you will try to support in the ways that are not directly related to your business through providing contacts and recommendations and you will constantly be bringing value.
The element of trust
People trust those who can ground their knowledge in facts and experience, have respect for their work and follow through.
It is simple but not easy. To gain our client’s trust we must be truly knowledgeable in what we do and the environment we’re in and we need to acknowledge our client’s efforts and hard work that they have put in to build their business.
You will be building trust with your client from the moment you will be telling about yourself, asking questions, talking about what you know and how you understand them. The first follow up email will show whether you do the things you promise to do and whether you overachieve.
One can not really be a trusted advisor if they are not trustworthy, therefore you must always go through with your word.
As people we constantly want more and business is no different.
A trusted advisor is someone who does not only sell, but also provides solutions to the core problems their client is facing.
Our clients do not want to be working with sales reps. They want to be getting the service that goes beyond the product you sell and in order to exceed their expectations we need to be selling through consulting and giving valuable advise.
The 9 steps I provided could change the way one is viewed by their clients completely and I know for a fact it would increase your sales.
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