How to be­come a trusted ad­viser (and stay trusted)

As an ex­pert in the field of re­cruit­ment, I un­der­stand that re­la­tion­ships with clients can change over time, and for a va­ri­ety of un­ex­pected rea­sons: a change in man­age­ment, strat­egy or cul­ture, or an ad­just­ment in the need for as­sis­tance. In my years run

Business First - - CONTENTS - by Jonathan We­in­stock

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arn­ing the ti­tle of a ‘trusted ad­viser’ is a priv­i­lege and should never be jeop­ar­dised. It takes a long time to achieve and mere min­utes to lose. Par­tic­u­larly in des­per­ate times, con­sul­tants can risk the lot by sell­ing their soul for a short-term gain. The sun does rise again, so a se­ri­ous player will al­ways value their proven in­tegrity. So how do you achieve this trusted ad­vi­sor sta­tus? Here are some tips I’ve come across that re­in­force a back-to­ba­sics ap­proach: Have the client’s best in­ter­ests in mind— not yours. This shows you care and are will­ing to sac­ri­fice per­sonal gain to en­sure the client achieves the best pos­si­ble out­come. Take time to help your clients in other ways. Ad­mit if you don’t know some­thing or can’t help, and re­fer them to some­one bet­ter who does or can. And be a good loser if you miss out on a deal this time around; there’s al­ways to­mor­row. Do a good job! This may sound ob­vi­ous, but there are plenty of poor ser­vice providers out there; you can stand out by be­ing great at what you do and en­sur­ing that your staff is on top of their game. This can be a chal­lenge, but ‘A-grade’ talent is worth fight­ing for. Al­ways pro­vide qual­ity ser­vice. Poor ser­vice burns clients. They will come and go, but a con­sis­tently high level of ser­vice en­sures you give 100%, 100% of the time.

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Deliver on what you prom­ise. Meet dead­lines and bud­gets, and al­ways fol­low up as promised. Re­mem­ber how dis­ap­pointed you were as a kid when the lo­cal shop promised they would have more of your favourite foot­ball cards on Mon­day, but then they never had them? You never for­get.

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Show real life ex­am­ples of prior suc­cess by pro­vid­ing so­cial proof. Demon­strate who you’ve helped in the past and how, ex­actly, you helped them. While you’re at it, en­cour­age new clients to talk to your happy clients. The more people speak to your suc­cess, the greater your rep­u­ta­tion as a re­cruiter will be­come.

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Be seen and heard in your in­dus­try. If you’re a specialist, make sure you’re seen and heard at events and in pub­li­ca­tions, and share your ex­po­sure with your clients so they can see that you’re pas­sion­ate about your in­dus­try and stand out from com­peti­tors.

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Give back. Re­in­force the re­la­tion­ship by in­vest­ing more in your clients than your com­peti­tors do. Don’t ever take your sta­tus for granted. Many busi­ness- es ig­nore their top clients and end up spend­ing more on cor­po­rate hos­pi­tal­ity for their poor­est clients. In­vest­ing in your clients and giv­ing back is a sure way to re­in­force your re­la­tion­ship.

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Never for­get the clients. Main­tain the re­la­tion­ship equally, even when your client may not be pay­ing for your ser­vices. When times are good again, qual­ity clients will re­mem­ber who re­mem­bered them.

The best mea­sure­ment of your rep­u­ta­tion is to ask your clients to two ques­tions: Would you come back to me with­out hes­i­ta­tion? Would you rec­om­mend my ser­vices to oth­ers with­out hes­i­ta­tion? If the an­swer to these ques­tions is “yes,” then you’re do­ing a great job, and it serves as a re­flec­tion on the leader for build­ing a com­pany cul­ture with strong val­ues. I’d in­vest in this type of com­pany. Even just ask­ing these two ques­tions helps cre­ate trust and shows you care. And that’s a sign of a trusted ad­viser. Jonathan We­in­stock is ‘The Start-Up Guy’ who turns ideas into prof­itable busi­ness or quick fail­ures at light­ning speed and low cost. Jonathan is the cur­rent founder of Launchtwo People, Sports Grab, MVP Ge­nius and cur­rent Board Mem­ber for the En­tre­pre­neur’s Or­gan­i­sa­tion, Mel­bourne Chap­ter. Linkedin Pro­file: www.au.linkedin.com/ in/jonathanwe­in­stock/

Jonathan We­in­stock is the founder of Launchtwo People

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