While we throw around the term “Trusted Advisor” in our industry and want our clients to see us in that role, do you know what ACTUALLY makes business owners turn to you in that role and refer you to everyone they know?
In The Seller’s Journey, the business owner protagonist Marty plans a trip across Glacier National Park with his banker, his lawyer, his wealth advisor, his accountant, and the private equity buyer of his company one year after the sale of his business.
Often people jokingly ask me, “Which one of them gets shoved down a crevasse on the trip?”
Not to spoil the ending, but everyone comes back alive AND even closer than they were before the journey. As they cross the glacier, the characters relate the physical challenges they’re facing to the emotional obstacles they faced in selling Marty’s business.
Can your clients imagine going on a trip into the wilderness with you? What would it mean to your business to have clients who would?
Read on to discover 5 tips for how you can become the Trusted Advisor every client wants to work with:
1. A Trusted Advisor invests in a relationship, not just a transaction. Relationships develop over time and the Trusted Advisor is in it for the long run – right from the very beginning – investing time and resources into developing a relationship with the business owner, not just solving the immediate problem, or closing a deal. The Trusted Advisor knows the impact of what they are providing for this client will live long beyond this momentary interaction.
2. A Trusted Advisor connects emotionally with their client, listens well, and seeks opportunities to understand them, their business, and what makes them tick. Yes, getting up close and personal with your client, being authentic and vulnerable allows your client to trust you with their most important issues before they become problems. The Trusted Advisor knows that this is the single largest transition in their client’s professional career and that attending to those unspoken worries makes all the difference.
3. A Trusted Advisor is trust worthy. How do you become worthy of your client’s trust? By being reliable, available and always putting the client’s interests above those of the advisor. It seems simple, but are your engagements structured in such a way that your client doesn’t have to wonder where your interests lie? Will you always tell the client and the others in the process the truth, even when it isn’t necessarily what they want to hear? Can they trust you to not be the yes man in the room? Not to play hide the ball or take advantage just because others think it’s ok to do so in their practices? Would your favorite uncle or your mother be proud of how you show up in your deals and with your clients?
4. A Trusted Advisor anticipates needs not just wants and is generous with information and quality introductions thinking “Who or what might my client need to know?” The Trusted Advisor is more than just a vendor or a technician. He or she is a channel to other trustworthy people for their client. The Trusted Advisor knows that understanding what their client is faced with helps them get the client and the deal across the finish line with ease and, most importantly, without regrets. The client of a Trusted Advisor will know he or she can come to them time and again to connect to other resources.
5. A Trusted Advisor creates peace of mind for their client and becomes someone a client looks forward to sharing with others. Far too many business owners have been made wary of the process from the horror stories of how nefarious characters in our industry have taken advantage of others. The Trusted Advisor knows that helping their client feel at ease through one of the most challenging chapters in the life of their business – the exit – serves others well and leads to the kind of referrals that makes their own work feel satisfying. That sense of ease and peace of mind is priceless, for the Advisor, the client and their referral partners
I wrote The Seller’s Journey from experiences with my own clients and other Trusted Advisors so owners could see and feel what it’s like, to know it’s possible to sell their company with integrity, humanity and feeling understood by their advisors.