Many business advisors and sales consultants talk about how they want to be a trusted advisor to their client. Becoming a trusted advisor is a process that is built on credibility, trust and respect. Now more than ever we must put being a trusted advisor first.
Dan Pink has written a particularly good book on the topic titled, “To Sell is Human”. In my opinion this goes to the heart of being a trusted advisor. Those who remember sales from years ago remember ABC which means Always Be Closing. This is a tactic that no longer works in today’s information rich environment. Using gimmicks to get sales in the past occurred because the buyer did not know what the seller knew. A person coming into a used car sales showroom never knew if the car was a “cream puff” or a “lemon.” Today we buy things from the Internet. In fact, anything a buyer wants to know is on the Internet. The buyer can also easily obtain information on the seller.
In today’s environment we need to understand that we are all in sales because we are all influencing people in one way or another. The value of our advice and is what matters now. For example, home buyers can educate themselves on neighborhoods, schools, homes, asking prices, and anything else. Today’s smart realtor knows that by being a source of information she can create value for her clients. People can do the same Internet research when they buy a car. Therefore, when the realtor, the car salesperson, or the business consultant uses the shared information, they can place themselves in the position of assistant buyer and of trusted advisor to the customer’s interests.
Since knowledge is readily available to buyer the seller should acknowledge that fact and spend the necessary time to develop a relationship with the customer which will gain the customer’s trust.
Spend enough time learning about your customers’ needs and desires. Many in sales make a serious mistake by rushing this phase of the process. Researchers have found that the more successful salespeople are those who can uncover problems rather than listening for needs and providing solutions. Uncovering needs, problems and issues will take time and careful listening. Continue to peel back the onion by listening to understand. Ask follow up questions. Developing this skill will uncover the real issues and this will position you to provide the solution which will exceed your customer’s expectations.
The ultimate source of your credibility will be your ability to deliver, to solve problems, to take on the hassles that the customer would rather not think about nor bother with. When you do that and more you will exceed your customer’s expectations. You will also position yourself to become their trusted advisor.
Do what it takes to become a trusted advisor. Trusted advisors earn more money, they receive many more referrals and repeat business, and they establish a long term relationship with their customers.
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