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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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