“A trusted advisor is a company or individual that’s given a seat at the customer’s table. Instead of being just another vendor or potential vendor, you’re considered a strategic partner that the customer sees as an asset to reach their goals.” -Kapta.com
Most businesses have a variety of B2B relationships. Whether it involves products or services, business partnerships are essential in the functioning of an efficient and successful company. Within these relationships certain suppliers might stand out - and those are the “Trusted Advisors”.
Let’s take our industry – Business Supplies - for example: At 1st Source we provide supplies that are necessary to keep a business running, including Coronavirus/COVID-19-related supplies, as well as many “traditional” products, such as toner & ink, copy paper, office furniture, printing, break-room supplies, etc.
Our industry is often looked at as a purely “transactional” business (i.e. you find what you need on your own, place your order and receive your product, with little or no discussion or active support from the provider.
While this works just fine in some circumstances, there are many opportunities to make better, more successful buying decisions when working with a Trusted Advisor.
Let’s break it down. A Trusted Advisor:
Communicates the Invisible Well
Active listening and understanding the customer allows the Trusted Advisor to think critically, create a solution, while communicating all options and the pros & cons to their proposed solution.
Offers Advice Other Than Just Doing What They Are Told To Do
They take ownership of their role with the customer, looking past the immediate needs and quick fixes to create sustainable long-term solutions.
Puts the Client First
This means doing the right thing even if it means they don’t get the business. Fairness & transparency matched with expertise build the relationship that benefits both parties in the long run.
Has Business Acumen
Having a deep understanding of the customers business and the overall needs of the customer, being constantly inquisitive to learn more, and taking current industry knowledge and applying to the customer’s environment.
Thinks Big Picture
A trusted Advisor uses her/his own talents and expertise and pairs it with the resources and talents of their organization to provide the most productive solution for the customer. The view is not the immediate sale or solution, but a sustained one.
All these things can be applied from our industry and how we service our customers. This entails helping clients with accounting, forecasting & budgeting, solving storage and shipping problems, creating efficiencies in the buying process, designing a productive workspace, and many more things. We understand we are much more than a "transactional" business we add value in many other ways.
Have you thought how you might be a trusted advisor to your customers?