Vendor to Trusted Advisor in your First Meeting

Is having your client see you as a trusted advisor a critical advantage? Most people agree that earning the status of Trusted Advisor in the eyes of your client takes time, but you can lose it almost instantly with the wrong behavior!

The reality is that the underlying dynamics of quickly losing trusted advisor status are the same as those that create it, and if you truly understand them, you can achieve Trusted Advisor status in your very first meeting.

That’s what the top 1% of rainmakers know how to do, and they enjoy 5 to 10 times the average performance of their peers.

Most people think that the way you earn the status of trusted advisor in the eyes of your client is to prove it by delivering the result that you promised. Although this is one way to do it, it’s by far the longest and riskiest path. It takes too much time, and there are a ton of things that can happen to make the delivery experience less than what the client hoped for. More importantly, if reflects a misunderstanding of the ways Trust can be earned.

The reason we want to be seen as a Trusted Advisor is that it puts us in a position of great Influence. If you have competitors, your first challenge is to influence your prospects to pick you over the others, but how can you do that if you believe you have to prove yourself before you can have trusted advisor influence?

If you could attain Trusted Advisor status in your first meeting, you’d have the influence to have them pick you, and that’s one of the key skills of the top rainmakers.

Countless books and articles have been written on the subject of trust, but it can all be distilled down to a simple principle. As soon as I feel you are holding my interest above your own self-interest, I can trust you. The principle is simple, but demonstrating that to a new prospective client is not. In fact, it’s unnatural.

The prime directive of the human species is the survival instinct that drives us to hold our own self-interest above all things, and this self-interested agenda is clearly seen in almost all human behavior, especially the natural behavior pattern of persuasion that all humans use in their attempt to influence another. Adding business rewards and incentives on top of that only further reinforces that self-interested agenda.

Further compounding the problem, all sales methodologies are also based on this natural human pattern of persuasion, which systematically broadcasts your self-interested agenda, and unknowingly, promotes distrust. All sales strategies are based on:

* Asking probing questions to gain insights that clearly serve your agenda;

* Presenting features and benefits to convince another why you, your company, and your offerings are the best choice; and

* Deploying strategies to overcome any objections or resistance emphasizes your self-interested motivation.

These approaches can’t get around the fact that it’s ALL ABOUT YOU and promoting YOUR agenda. How can you send the message that you will hold another’s interest above your own, when no words can overcome how your behavior screams how self-interested you really are? Although we’ve come to accept this with salespeople, it doesn’t change its negative psychological impact of creating distrust, which is exactly what we don’t want.

Your Prospects have probably been in more sales meetings than you, and they are very familiar with sales behaviors. In fact, they all know the Anti-Sales Defense System that manages and controls the sales process. (Learn more in the article Your Prospects’ Anti-Sales Defense System.)

The good news is that all your competitors naturally engage in this natural form of sales behavior, and that offers you the greatest opportunity to differentiate yourself in a very positive and compelling way. Even worse, they’ve been given goals and rewards for finding new business that makes their behavior that much more self-serving and distrusting. If you can break this pattern of behavior, it’s shocking how quickly you can gain the influence and credibility of a trusted advisor. Although it’s extremely powerful, the pattern you need to replace it with is the opposite of the natural pattern of persuasion. This is what the top 1% are able to do, and it’s the basis of the NonSelling methodology.

The first step in breaking the sales pattern is to understand the specific behaviors that are triggering the psychological response of distrust that we’re all trying to avoid. That’s a subject much larger than this article, but you can learn more in the article Three Common Sales Behaviors that Promote DIStrust.

There are dozens of powerful psychological dynamics taking place in all your client and prospect meetings, whether you’re aware of them or not. If you aren’t making them work for you, they’re probably working against you. Are you ready to begin operating at another level?

Related Articles
* How to Build a Referral Machine
* Three Common Sales Behaviors that Promote Distrust
* Your Prospects’ Anti-Sales Defense System
* Why You Don’t get the Customer Referrals You Should
* All Sales Training is Bad

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