3 Keys to Becoming a Trusted Advisor

Do you have any trusted advisors? People you know you can go to when you need some help or have found yourself in unfamiliar territory?

When you have need clarity about your investments, the direction of your business — or even about your relationships — there’s no peace of mind like speaking with someone you trust. Do your clients and business partners feel that way about you? If so, you should feel humbled that they are willing to put such faith in you. If not, it’s possible to build that trust, one step at a time.

Here is how I recommend positioning yourself as a trusted advisor to your clients and business partners:

1. Operate your business with your clients’ best interests in mind

A good business partnership should be just that — a partnership! Your ultimate goal should be to help your clients grow their own businesses. If you do that, your own business will see growth. But if you’re focusing solely on what your client is doing for you, your business relationships will seem one­sided.

2. Give generously of your knowledge

We’ve all heard the saying, “Why buy the cow when you can have the milk for free?” Some consultants run their businesses this way, hiding their advice behind pay walls and barriers. But the kind of trust you need to have with your clients is built on demonstrating your expertise, whether through blogging, an initial consultation, or a quick phone call to check in. One way this can benefit you is that by sharing your expertise, you’ll be considered an expert in your field — which will attract more business. Give generously of your knowledge, and people will look for more ways to do business with you. Be stingy, and they will look elsewhere.

3. Operate your business with integrity, and always deliver on your promises

Trust is very hard to build, and incredibly easy to destroy. All it takes is one slip­up, one white lie, one moment of bad faith for years of work to come crashing back down. In that same vein, even a single missed deadline or blown budget can keep you from becoming a trusted advisor in the eyes of your clients. But if you do your job faithfully and to do it well, you’ll develop a reputation as someone people can trust.

Reaching the status of trusted advisor

How do you know when you become a trusted advisor? Clients will implement your advice and come back for more. They’ll refer you to their colleagues, and give you shout outs on social media.

If you want to gauge how you are doing, ask the very vulnerable question, “Would you work with me again without hesitation?” If the answer is yes, you can be sure that person considers you a trusted advisor.

Do you consider yourself a trusted advisor to your clients? What advice do you have for others hoping to create this kind of relationship? Leave your answers in the comments.