My colleague Reg Nordman emailed me with a query today. One of his clients posed the following question: ” How do I market that our firm is committed to be a trusted advisor? “
There is so much marketing going on – so so much noise – that buyers have no way of knowing who to respond to, who to believe, or what to read. Frankly, when your sales effort focuses on placing a solution, it all seems to be the same to a buyer.
The problem is not a marketing problem: it’s a BEing problem. All the marketing in the world will not convince a prospect that you can take care of them better than another vendor. They have to experience it.
And, what does it mean anyway? What would a firm need to BE in order to be recognized as a true Trusted Advisor? Placing a solution, having a good solution, or understanding need is not good enough – all good sales people do that…it’s their job.
Here are some of my criteria:
- show clients and prospects that you are there for them – not just to place a solution, but help them (I mean HELP THEM) manage all of their internal variables that need to be addressed so they can get the buy-in they need to resolve their problems collaboratively;
- get onto their Buying Decision Team so that they can have another voice. Careful here: your voice must be unbiased. You must not be ‘placing solution’ or ‘understanding need’ to do this. You must just be leading the buyer through their off-line decision variables so they will figure out how to resolve problems (not necessarily need-related) from the inside out;
- help them figure out how to use known providers, such as their own internal resources or familiar vendors. They are going to do this anyway – with you or without you – so it might as well be with you. Then you’ll have a bit of control. Note: if their known providers could have resolved the problem they would have done so already.
Being a Trusted Advisor does not mean having a good solution…anyone can do that, frankly. Use your skills as a professional to lead buyers through all of the internal issues they need to manage and actually teach them how to bring all of the people and policies, rules and relationships, into line. They need to do this, and the time it takes them is the length of the sales cycle.
BE a Trusted Advisor by helping them manage their buying decision. They will fold your solution in with their decisions. Have a look at Buying Facilitation™ as it offers the tools to help.