It’s unfortunate when words that once meant something are now being used by anyone and everyone. Words have real power and meaning but only when backed up by real action.
Although words aren’t anyone's monopoly, we do expect that those who use them do so carefully.
And although I’m not advocating that we copyright words, as individuals we all have the unique ability to make conscious decisions on what words we do use.
Possibly the two most overused (and over-abused) words in business today are trusted advisor. I’m sure we’ve all worked for (or currently work for) companies that have told the world how they endeavor to be the customer’s trusted advisor.
In addition to sounding like a term from the 90’s, “trusted advisor” makes you sound like a me-too sales person. Why would you want to compete to get mindshare if virtually everyone else is using that same term?
What Is an Advisor?
As the word implies, an advisor (or adviser if you’d like to be less formal) is one that doles out advice. Presumably this is good advice you’ve asked for. But in the world of sales, when no one is asking a sales person for their advice can you really use this term?
Are you uniquely qualified to be an advisor if no one wants your advice?
Be very careful when using terms like this. Your company may want you to use this term in your e-mail signature, or it may be a part of cold calling scripts you have. Just be careful and don’t abuse the term; make sure your company is actually one that gets asked for advice.
Trust: Do You Have It?
And trust is one of those terms I don’t need to tell you about (I hope). Trust me, when someone says “trust me” you better have your guard up. Oops!
Trust is something that takes time to establish. You’ve got to be willing to put everything on the line and help your client succeed. If you’re not willing to stick your neck out, you shouldn’t be throwing around words like this.
Customers Are Guarded
Do you feel that customers and prospects question your motives? They’re now very cautious and guarded. Years of over-abuse by smooth-talking sales reps has left them feeling unloved and frustrated.
They’ve seen, heard and bought from so many trusted advisors that they’ve given up. But as an astute sales professional, you realize the potential here: by being genuine, you are able to differentiate yourself.
This begs the question:
How Can You Be a Trusted Advisor?
Today, being a trusted advisor in B2B sales is a really difficult thing to achieve. You may have the best intentions but how will you convince your potential buyers and future advocates of this? No one will believe you if you say “I’m a trusted advisor”. Why? Because you’ve got to prove it first. And this takes time.
One of the best ways today is to use social selling to your advantage. Social selling allows you to share ideas in words or video that are uniquely your own. If you know about a particular industry, it’s now easier than ever to express your thoughts.
Because buyers are guarded, use the power of social to help paint the picture that you are what you say you are. Use the power of your past clients to help tell this story as well.
Seems simple, right? Yet 99% of sales people aren’t doing this today. Here’s your opportunity: be in the top 1% to start taking extreme advantage.
The Bottom Line
Be mindful, aware and careful when using terms like trusted advisor. These are words that some have taken years to use. I’m not suggesting you don’t use them. Just back them up with tangible actions that can be validated.
Use social selling to your distinct advantage. It’ll help you make your case faster.
Got questions on how to start becoming a trusted advisor with social selling? Allow me to prove myself to you and your business. Schedule a time in my calendar below to get started.