You don’t determine whether or not you are a trusted advisor. That is only something your clients decide for themselves. All you can do is behave in such a way that you influence how your clients view their relationship with you.
- A trusted advisor brings their client new ideas. A salesperson calls on their client when they have the need to sell something. A trusted advisor calls on their client to bring them new ideas, regardless of whether or not they have something to sell.
- A trusted advisor has subject matter expertise. They know their business, they know their client’s business, and they have a enough general knowledge about how things work to offer advice worth taking.
- A trusted advisor values the relationship more than the transaction. A trusted advisor never puts a deal before the relationship. They would prefer not to make a sale if the relationship would be damaged by having made it.
- A trusted advisor is accountable for outcomes outside of what they sell. A trusted advisor finds a way to own outcomes that have nothing to do with their product or service. It might be general business advice. It might be advice on strategy, marketing, or how to sell. They help their clients wherever and however they can. They don’t limit the value they create to what they sell.
- A trusted advisor has a personal relationship with their client. This doesn’t mean they have a friendship, even though that is possible, and maybe even likely. There relationships is built on value.
Your client will never call you their trusted advisor. Normal people don’t talk that way. You will know you are their trusted advisor when your client calls you before they make decisions. You will know you are playing this role when your client calls you for help in areas where you have no offering, where you have nothing to sell. These things are what makes you a trusted advisor.