As a salesperson, you significantly influence what, when, and why your prospects and customers buy. With this type of power, you might wonder why it’s necessary to become a trusted advisor. Here are several good reasons.
- Trust builds confidence and allows you to solidify your long-term relationships.
- You will bring reassurance to buyers who are reluctant to change.
- You will set yourself apart from your competition because few salespeople ever operate at the level of trusted advisor.
Becoming a trusted advisor doesn’t happen instantly. You must devote time and effort and practice the skills that follow.
Use Active Listening
Actively listening sends the message that you understand your prospect’s situation, problems and concerns so that you may develop a solution. As your prospects and customers share their problems and concerns with you, repeat what you hear them say. Do this by summarizing what you believe you heard to show them that you understand their business problem correctly. Then, follow up with open-ended questions about their needs, challenges, and pain points. Open-ended questions begin with: who, what where, when, why, and how. Using open-eded questions will help you propel the conversation forward.
Be a Subject Matter Expert
Providing subject matter expertise and insight about your customer’s industry and market adds value. Being viewed as a subject matter expert gives you credibility and authority. Your customers will reach out to you as a resource for best practices. To become a subject matter expert look for opportunities to increase your knowledge, such as attending industry conferences and events, reading blogs, and following the work of leaders in the field. Consider finding a mentor who can help you become a subject matter expert.
Prospects look for trusted advisors who understand their challenges and offer solutions for overcoming them. Rely on and use your subject matter expertise to offer new ways to handle old problems. Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo of your prospects and customers. Those who engage and challenge their prospects and customers will make the sale.
Focus on Helping Instead of Selling
Building trust is the key to becoming a trusted advisor. One of the most efficient ways to do that is to focus on helping your customer rather than selling them. Understand that prospects without issues and concerns normally don’t approach salespeople. It’s your responsibility to become a problem solver. If you are focused on selling instead of helping you run the risk of selling a solution that doesn’t solve the customer’s problems. This will reflect poorly on you and your company and interfere with your attempt at being a trusted advisor. If you consistently help your customer solve problems, they will reach out to you for advice which ultimately leads to future sales.
Get to Know Your Customer
Before approaching a customer or prospect, take the time to find out more about them and how your product can add value. Ask yourself these questions: Who are their target customers? What are their demographics? What are their challenges? Once you’ve answered those questions, tailor a product recommendation that fits their unique situation.
These skills will help you strengthen relationships with your prospects and customers. As you strengthen those relationships, you will become a trusted advisor with a reputation for taking care of people and solving critical business issues.
Founder of RedRock Leadership