You cannot be a trusted advisor without the ability to advise. The “trust” by itself isn’t enough. You cannot be a peer if you don’t have the business acumen, the situational knowledge, and a strong bias for what the right things to do might be. You don’t need to be unbiased; you need strong opinions.
Peering Into the Future
If you are going to be an adviser and integrated part of your client’s team, you have to have ideas about what the future holds. You need to know what challenges your client is likely to face, and you need ideas about the opportunities that the future will provide them. You need to be future-oriented.
The bigger and more strategic your thinking, the deeper your knowledge, the more valuable you are to high-level stakeholders. They want to know how to guide their business into the future, and they need to see around corners. You need to have ideas about what lies around those corners.
Unbiased Means Limited Value
You create less value when you don’t have ideas, opinions, and biases. If you don’t have ideas about where things are going and what your clients need to do now, then you can only react to the problems and challenges they are facing now. And the problems and challenges they are facing now are the result of the decisions they made in the past. Solving those problems provides value, but solutions provide more value when you solve problems with an eye towards the future.
Some segment of your competitors will have competing ideas and opinions. They’ll have their personal biases about what the future holds and what that means your dream client should be doing now. You are in a battle for mind share.
Leadership teams make decisions about the future. They want to work with salespeople and sales organizations that have strong opinions and ideas about their future. If you don’t now have these ideas and opinions, you are of limited value.
- What are the big trends that are going to shape the environment in which your dream client operates?
- Which of these trends is going to have the biggest impact on what and how they do business? What should they be doing now to prepare?
- How can you help them capitalize on these trends and develop a competitive advantage?