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The 6 Dimensions of a Trusted Advisor

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

The Journey to Being Seen, Being Trusted, and Being Indispensable


The 6 dimensions of a trusted advisor

Is it Worth it to be a Trusted Advisor?


The business realm is much like a bustling market square. The clamor is deafening, with everyone claiming to have the magic elixir. Amidst this cacophony, there's a quiet corner everyone seeks but few occupy - the Trusted Advisor spot.

The metrics have never been clearer. Earn the role of a trusted advisor, and the numbers speak for themselves. 3.5 times the share of spending. 14% higher client profitability. Double your client retention.


But the heart-sinking truth? Barely a quarter of all business relationships ever earn this status. That's a whole lot of missed opportunities.



The Paradox of Competence and Missteps

How clients choose their Trusted Advisor


Take a step back. Slip into the shoes of your client. The business landscape is a maze they are trying to navigate, looking for their North Star. Who to believe? Who's got their back? Who can lead them to the promised land? Who can help them win – however they define winning?


They're not looking for a transaction. They're searching for a guide with the skills, stories, and narratives that resonate. Are you this guide?


In deciding, they'll review your past behavior: the timeliness of your responses, the caliber of your past work, and the process of getting there. Each interaction, whether minor or significant, weaves a story in their minds about your commitment and capability. Every encounter is an opportunity to prove your worth – or falter.


For instance, imagine scheduling a pivotal presentation, only to realize you misread the time zone difference and arrived an hour late. To you, it's an innocent oversight; to your client, it's a narrative-defining moment. Or perhaps in your eagerness to move a project forward, you bypass your primary contact, approaching their superior. It seemed strategic at the time, yet it's perceived as a breach of trust.


In the end, they'll recall, not just your product and service, but the way you made them feel. Will you emerge as that guide that helped them become the hero of their own story? Or were you just another faceless vendor in the crowd?


Client consulting with their Trusted Advisor. Two women facing a laptop.

The Six Dimensions of a Trusted Advisor


The pathway to becoming a Trusted Advisor transcends excellent service or product offerings. It's a deep dive into recognizing, valuing, and addressing the continuously evolving needs and narratives of your client.


These are based on 6 Trusted Advisor dimensions:

Consider these six dimensions as the chapters of your own story.


Integrity

More than just being honest, it's about being the rock, the reliable anchor your client can always depend on; aim for being the guiding star they can always navigate by.


Competency

You're not selling a product or service; you're selling peace of mind. When your client thinks of you, they relax, they feel assured. Every time. Deliver that, and you've just penned a memorable chapter.


Recognition

A trusted relationship isn't about awards or accolades; it's about perceiving and acknowledging each client's unique journey. It's the nod, the smile, the understanding that you see them, not just as a business deal, but as a unique partner. Everyone's got a story. Listen to your client's, weave it into your narrative, and you've just gained a lifelong reader.


Proactivity

Anticipate, don't just react; show them that you're two steps ahead. Have a plan, highlight the opportunities, foresee the pitfalls, and illuminate the path forward.


Savvy

Recognize and understand the professional and personal issues your client cares about. Be in sync with the times and trends; know what keeps them up at night – externally and internally. Consider every decision and action in light of these realities.


Chemistry

Cultivate that intangible click that makes collaboration possible. Sometimes it's the unspoken word or the intuitive sync that turns a mundane task into a mutual partnership.


These aren't checkboxes to mark off. They're foundational pillars that shape client perceptions. However, in our research, a staggering 86% of salespeople and account managers have significant blind spots in understanding their clients’ perceptions of them across these six dimensions.


Let’s face it, we’re not all above average, and this lack of insight can quickly derail even the most promising business relationships. If there's a mismatch between your self-perception and that of your client, it's time for introspection and course correction.



The Path Forward: Begin, Reflect, Adapt

Where to begin the change to being a Trusted Advisor?


Embracing the Trusted Advisor mantle is an unending voyage of growth and evolution. Feel the weight? The anticipation? That's alright. Embrace the challenge and the rewards it brings.


Start by assessing your true standing with each client. Set aspirational goals. Be a student of your craft. More than anything, tune into each client’s perceptions.


At the crossroads of you, your offerings, and your client’s perceptions lie the magic formula.


The path is clear: Are you ready to become indispensable?


Want to measure the ROI of a Trusted Advisor strategy for your business - check out our Impact Calculator




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