Are You a Trusted Advisor?
Guest Post: News and Views from our Clients and Friends
Whether you are an internal or external consultant, a manager, or a member of a project team, you want people to rely on you to give solid advice. You can be the best in your field, but if you can’t build relationships with the people who hire you and with whom you work, you can’t add value. Author David Maister wrote a book that I just love: The Trusted Advisor. In it, he talks about the fact that as our relationships with clients, customers, or co-workers deepen, we become more than an expert to them. We become “a trusted advisor.” Someone they look to for honesty, a sounding board, and sometimes plain old friendship. Here are some coaching tips for how you can become a trusted advisor:
- Be a better listener than talker. Professionals fail all the time because they provide services they think others need, but that don’t really solve a problem or fit the situation. I recently “fired” my insurance agent because he kept trying to sell me products unrelated to what I told him I needed. A good advisor collects information to help identify the real needs of others.
- Be discrete. This means you don’t talk about others or use their names without their permission. I once overheard a cell phone call in the airport that was totally inappropriate. It was a consultant who was working on the campaign of a famous senator. By the time the call was over I knew all the tactics his firm was going to use in an upcoming election. If the senator ever got wind of it, I’m sure this company would have been fired.
- No one likes to think they’re being gouged. Set a fair price on your product or services but know when it’s appropriate to throw in something extra or not bill for a ten minute telephone consultation. In the long run it won’t make much difference to you but it will to your customers.
- Be someone others want to be around. People don’t buy your product or services, they buy you. There are plenty of people who can provide what you sell or the services you deliver — why should anyone buy from you?
- Be honest. If you’re not the best person for a particular job, recommend someone else who is. Remember the scene from Miracle on 34th Street where Santa Claus was sending shoppers to other stores? It wound up getting his store even more customers because they appreciated his honesty. Similarly, if your client or customer asks for something you think isn’t appropriate for the situation, say so rather than simply provide it in order to make the sale.
Dr. Lois Frankel, a friend of Grandpoint, is known in Southern California for her KNX segment, Eye on Your Career, and internationally for her bestselling business books. Follow her on Twitter @drloisfrankel or visit her website drloisfrankel.com.
The views & opinions expressed in any guest post featured on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions & views of Grandpoint Bank.
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