- Is Authentic
“If you need to conceal your true nature to get in the door, understand that you’ll probably have to conceal your true nature to keep that job” – Seth Godin
Trusted Advisors are genuine, real, individual people. Not an expensive suit or a fancy logo.
If you approach the process of becoming your client’s Trusted Advisor by trying to be someone you aren’t, you will struggle to succeed. Transparency is a critical factor in building relationships with people. They will warm to you if you are true to yourself and are straight with them in expressing your views. If you want people to reveal their true feelings and their thoughts, you need to start the ball rolling by being yourself and saying what you really think.
Everything I refer to about being a Trusted Advisor has to be genuine, it has to be the real you. Remember, we are trying to differentiate ourselves from our competitors and our greatest single point of difference is ourselves, so don’t fake it. Yes, invest in yourself and keep learning and improving, but if you try to be someone you aren’t people will pick up on it and it will create a sense of insincerity.
This is another of the reasons why I am a firm believer that people should put their face and name at the forefront of their marketing, rather than sit behind a big company facade. The big company aspect has some value in showing people the resources you have at your disposal, but it should always be clear that the client is getting you, so you need push everything else behind you.
- Keeps their promises “You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.” – Henry Ford
The process to becoming a Trusted Advisor involves saying you are going to do something, then doing it. Then repeating that process over and over again. Everything you say you will do, no matter how small, is a promise that must be kept.
Small promises always kept will lead people over time to believe that you can be trusted to keep bigger promises. The alternative is that people will lose respect for you if you don’t keep to your word, no matter how minor the particular issue is. They will quickly see you as unreliable and not someone they can depend on.
If you say you are going to call them at a certain time, even if you have nothing new to tell them, do it. If you say you are going to post them a book about property investing, do it, then call up to make sure they received it. Deliver on what you promise. Set and meet deadlines and always follow up as promised.
People are generally quite sceptical about what companies say they will do and the great service they will offer. They expect to be let down, but therein lies the opportunity to separate yourself from the rest. In a world of broken promises, the business that always keeps them wins.
As well as the direct promises you make, person to person, you also need to be aware of and keep the promises you make in your marketing and sales materials. Always know what your marketing is saying that you will do for your clients and always fulfil it. If you can’t, then remove it from your marketing.
For example, if your website says ‘We do all the paperwork so you don’t have to’, then don’t go to the meeting and hand them over a form to fill in. Also, let them know when the loan documents arrive to call you and you will be there to go through it with them (or better yet, have the documents delivered to you so you can bring them with you) and do as much as you can for them. Explain to them there are some things they legally have to complete themselves, but fulfil your promise as much as possible.
If you make general statements like ‘We provide great service’ or ‘We make it easy for you’ then make sure to clearly define exactly what that is in practical terms for your client and make sure you are both on the same page. Specific statements of exactly what you do are always better. If you haven’t come to a mutual understanding of what ‘great service’ or ‘making it easy’ means, that is just a broken promise waiting to happen.