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Accelerate into a Trusted Advisor Relationship with Clients

We all have built relationships in our lives. From experience, we know that some relationships take time to nurture. While this may be dependent on the person you are pursuing or getting to know, at the end of the day, trust is strategic and there are ways to accelerate earning it from your clients.

On the other hand, it is crucial to understand what you can bring to the table to earn this level of trust from clients. A trusted advisor will have a great relationship with their client, and their client will be loyal to their company. This means that your client will trust your company to do a great job, ultimately leading to more revenue and the possibility of more business through referrals.

However, you cannot rely on your company’s work alone to become a trusted advisor— many companies do great work. The bigger question is, what can you do to deliver this standard of great work that embodies your company values?

An odometer symbolizing accelerating from transactional to a trusted advisor relationship with clients

5 Characteristics of a Trusted Advisor

Being a trusted advisor is what you, as a person, can bring to the table; the qualities you possess can make or break your B2B relationships. Here are 5 traits you should possess to grow your client relationships from an average salesperson to a Trusted Advisor.

  1. A Trusted Advisor is Committed Like any relationship, you need to commit to your client. They trust you to achieve their goals, so you must help them to the best of your abilities. Demonstrate your willingness to help by scheduling frequent appointments and check-ins, and be available during the workday to answer any questions or concerns your client may have. Be genuinely interested or passionate about their work and be able to keep up with industry trends. Furthermore, show commitment by collecting client relationship assessments. This shows your clients you want to do better in your job and create actionable steps to serve them better.

  2. A Trusted Advisor is Intentional Here's the caveat, be committed, not attached. Your business is not a “one-size-fits-all," so practice being selective in your clients. Be clear in expressing your intent to help your client. If you are not positive that you can help a potential client, tell them. Moreover, when you do acquire a client, do not stick to some imaginary plan to become their trusted advisor. Set timelines with your actionable insights and ask for client recommendations and approval.

  3. A Trusted Advisor is Realistic Be genuine with your client— you do not want your client to feel used or taken advantage of; let your relationship naturally flow and stay committed to this process. Create realistic goals and timelines for yourself and your client, and do your best to hit deadlines. However, in a business, delays will happen and how you handle these situations will let clients know if they are with a trusted advisor. Learn how to communicate issues and show you are ahead of the problem.

  1. A Trusted Advisor is Honest There is honesty and there is also arrogance. Beware of the second one! That is an assured way to turn off clients from you. Follow through on your promises. Manage expectations and be true to what you can deliver. It would be much better to underpromise and overdeliver. You have to be honest with your abilities and your client’s goals for your relationship to be successful. Be accountable for your words and your work.

  1. A Trusted Advisor is Open to Feedback Remember that it is also okay to make mistakes— we all do. It is bound to happen in business. However, try not to get defensive and instead listen to your client’s concerns and frustrations when you make mistakes. Additionally, if you have a suggestion that your client is against, listen to their reasoning. The last thing you want to do is get angry at your clients, leaving them feeling disrespected and unhappy with your service. Part of being a trusted advisor is seeing eye-to-eye on your client’s business goals, and if you cannot agree on any decisions, you will struggle with becoming a trusted advisor.

We would all love our clients to trust in us, wholeheartedly. Someone they can always rely on to do a perfect job, someone they can come to with any issue they might experience, and someone they can refer to their colleagues and business partners.

However, this takes time. Client relationships have to be nurtured. You cannot expect an instant life-long relationship when starting with a client. But, through working on the principles of trust, being a resource, advocating for your client, and being both positive and professional, your trustworthiness can blossom.

A client and a trusted advisor

3 Ways to Lead with Trust in a Client Relationship

Knowing the 5 traits of a Trusted Advisor, how can you apply each when building client relationships? Here are 3 ways to accelerate getting into a Trusted Advisor relationship with your clients:

  1. Remember the trust equation. Trust = (credibility, reliability, and intimacy) - selfishness When a relationship has credibility, reliability, and intimacy, it has the capacity to reach the level of a Trusted Advisor relationship. However, if you act selfishly, your trustworthiness will decrease. Credibility refers to how knowledgeable you are in your client’s business and industry. You are their expert. Reliability depends on your actions. Are you there for your client? Are you dependable and predictable? If you are, then you are reliable. Intimacy is how secure your client feels with you. If they can trust you with their business secrets and know you will not tell anyone else, your intimacy “score” will increase. In addition to practicing these basic principles of trust, focus on being humble, approachable, and genuine. Be there for your client. Send them a birthday card or congratulate them on hitting a certain milestone. Additionally, try not to let stress interfere with your relationship with a client. These small actions will create a world of difference between you and your competition

  2. Do not start on the wrong foot. This relationship is not about you, it is about your client. Therefore, you need to focus on them. Ask them questions about their business, goals, and interests. It is important for you to be engaged and actively listen to whatever your client has to say. When it is appropriate to share, go ahead, but do not try to detract from what they are saying for the sake of yourself. This is when valuable and meaningful conversations occur, making trust the foundation of your relationship.

  3. Connect with your client. Lastly, you must be friendly and personable with your client. While the relationship needs professionalism, you should also show interest in them outside of work. Your genuine interest will make your client feel valued and they will want to continue their relationship with you. One way to build a connection with your clients is to understand how they truly see you and the work that you do. This is why being open to feedback is an important trait of a trusted advisor. Understanding and bridging the gap between expectations vs the actual work you deliver will enhance your relationship with clients. Your client is more than a number, so treat them as such!

Trustworthiness is the culmination of these qualities. Continuously work on these qualities to accelerate your client's trust in you. If you act disinterested, arrogant, or unprofessional, the trust between you and your client will be broken and will be difficult or even impossible to repair.

Lead with these tips in your and you might be surprised at how well your clients will respond.

Encompass-CX for Nurturing Trusted Advisor Relationships

It takes a lot of work to develop these skills, but all of them are necessary to have strong client relationships. However, with the right CX tool, this can be easier to achieve. Strategically connect with clients, measure customer insights that matter, and monitor client relationships with Encompass-CX.

With Encompass-CX, you can see which clients are poised for churn so you can repair those relationships and deliver a better B2B customer experience for them. Understand what skills you and your team need to develop for better customer satisfaction. Pinpoint loyal clients and recognize these connections to reward their continuous support of your business. Encompass-CX is your CX solution to become your customer's Trusted Advisor.

So are you ready to get started? Sign up for the free trial here!

Encompass-CX to nurture trusted advisor relationships

Co-written by Alexis Audeh and Kristel Pineda

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