There’s an old joke that goes like this: Two affluent ladies are meeting for lunch. One of them, who’s about to have her home remodeled with a professional decorator, asks the other, “What’s the difference between a bathroom with a motif and a bathroom with a theme? Her friend, who’s been there / done that before replies, “About $20,000”.
Being a Trusted Advisor vs. merely being an expert in your field — is kind of like that, too.
This term is so overused, it’s become a cliche. But there is serious financial benefit and value in being seen as one regardless of the professional field you happen to be in — law, accounting, financial services, consulting, etc.
Relationship vs. Transactions
Advisors who earn the professional regard and respect of their clients are truly different from other vendors offering the same problem-solving expertise but without a deeper relationship in place. Being in the right place at the right time with the right answer will probably suffice to generate a transaction with you.
Being a preferred provider — being someone whom a client would, all things being equal, prefer over others is probably the only sure way to operate profitably and productively over the long haul. Why? Because almost any thing a competitor in your field can offer a client creates a level playing field. That removes the competitive distinction between you and your alternatives. So what’s left? The unique relationship YOU offer a prospect or client.
In future posts, we’ll be exploring more about this opportunity to differentiate yourself in the eyes of your prospects and clients by becoming (or, more effectively communicating!) that you are a Trusted Advisor and . . . a Preferred Advisor, as well.
Experts who solve problems are going to get sales. Experts who solve problems and build relationships are going to get clients.