We have recently looked at two potential business models you can adopt, namely Subject Matter Expert and Change Agent. The third option, which may be somewhat aspirational, is Trusted Advisor.
My good friend Cliff Ferguson of Rainmakers first brought this whole concept to my attention, when he showcased the thoughts of James A. Alexander on this topic in one of his newsletters. So, in brief, what were the key points?
Firstly, that trusted advisors are more valued than technical experts; their technical expertise is taken as a given. A trusted advisor can build deeper client relationships, provide more complete solutions, and accelerate business development.
Secondly, you can recognise them via a number of characteristics:
- Clients ask for them by name
- They are sought out for advice that goes beyond their described expertise
- They maintain relationships that go beyond the technical experts
- Importantly for today’s world, they have a well developed personal brand
Finally, in addition to their technical excellence – as we already covered, this is taken as a “given” – they are first-rate communicators, who are good at seizing the initiative. They always put their client first, and in their dealings display both confidence and courage. Their business acumen, and their ability to see the big picture, are also strong.
If this is a role to which you seriously aspire, then do not despair if you consider that you fall short of the “Trusted Advisor” standard today. These behaviours, and associated skills, can be worked on and developed over time, so a commitment to personal development makes achieving Trusted Advisor status a real possibility.