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Achieving the Status of Trusted Advisor

By: Joyce Hayne

The highest goal for a salesperson to achieve is the status of a trusted advisor to his clients. In order to reach this level, the sales rep has to move from the starting position of someone just selling a product or service to someone the client starts trusting, and finally is so respected that the rep is considered a partner. This partner is sought out to give industry outlooks, advice, and to help clients develop business strategies.

This is not an easy or fast journey. To start, the rep must provide reasonable expectations that the company can meet, rather than promising the moon and falling short. There is no point promising quick delivery if your company can’t provide it. A salesperson just out to make a quick sale will be discovered for what he truly cares about – money – not his customers.

Reps need to demonstrate a sincere desire to help their clients, even if this means losing a short-term sale in order to gain long-term trust. If your company is unable to meet the customer’s deadline, it’s better to refer that particular piece of business to a competitor rather than disappoint your client.

A trusted salesperson will help a customer buy rather than selling a pre-determined product. To facilitate the buying process, the salesperson needs to define the problem that needs to be solved, and help the buyer filter through the wealth of data available so that he can find the best solution. When you’re considered a partner in your client’s company, you can also help him gather support within his organization for the solution he wants to pursue.

Continually solving problems, sharing industry insights, and providing sage advice will demonstrate the rep’s expertise and competence, and ultimately lead to trust. Upon having achieved this coveted status, a stronger, long-term business relationship is developed.