Updated: Oct 2
Three Essential Skills for Becoming a Trusted Advisor
There is nothing much sadder for a company or a sales person than to get an order. Just the order and it ends there. Well, one sadder thing is that they don’t even realize that it’s sad.
We see it all the time and the excuses (or flat-out denial) abound. “We got the order and they just don’t have any additional needs.” “We didn’t lose the customer, they just don’t require this product or our service offering anymore now that we filled their need. It’s all good.”
Smart sales organizations focus on winning the relationship, not the order. These companies expect their sales team to become trusted advisors and solve their customers problems for that is where the magic happens.
Selling is so much easier when you apply these essential skills for becoming a trusted advisor. Charlotte McCourt, an 11-year girl scout who sold over 15,000 boxes of cookies last year is the perfect example of using these 3 skills:
Here is how she applied these skills and her very funny letter in a video!
If you want to quickly become a trusted advisor, then figure out a way to gain a referral into your prospect. The trust factor is significantly higher when you come recommended; why wouldn’t you want that advantage?
LinkedIn statistics show that over 80% of B2B deals begin with a referral. Referrals are everywhere; the key is that you must actively seek them out. Think about it, did you wake up this morning and think – “Who can I make a referral for today?” Not likely. But you probably have a few people that you would be willing to make a referral for if you were approached. Gaining referrals is an active process.
Charlotte’s dad had a rich friend, Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs and the Podcast “The Way I Heard It”. I am sure that girl scouts all over the land have tapped into their family’s connections and rich friends and I am sure they have gotten orders. What Charlotte did, however was to use that referral as a chance to become a trusted advisor, by focusing not on the order, but on sharing expertise.
2. Share Expertise
Becoming a trusted advisor rests on your ability to understand the operating reality of each of your prospects and to create value for them. Understanding their operating reality and creating value comes through your ability to provide insight and expertise that would take them time to find on their own. Time is the most valuable thing that most people have and helping people save time and improve their ability to make sound decisions is a combination that really builds trust.
Charlotte decided to help Mike make the best decision on which cookies to purchase by rating each one of them on a scale of 1 – 10, along with her reasoning. And she was brutally honest with each rating.
For example, she rated the thin mint a 9 for “its inspiring combination of chocolate and mint” and rated Savanah Smiles a 7 for “it’s divine taste.” Here’s what she said about toffeetastics:
"Last and yes, least is toffeetastic. It is a bleak, flavorless gluten-free wasteland. It is as flavorless as dirt. I give it a 1."
Charlotte could have provided the girl scout brochure that lists all the cookies and their description, but she didn’t. She took the time to share expertise, the honest good and bad, about all of her offerings.
3. Communicate the Why (aka WIIFM)
Simon Sinek, author of “Start With Why”, says that the way to inspire others is to start with “the Why”. Why is the purpose, cause or belief that motivates someone to take action. Everyone wants to know the WIIFM, the “what’s in it for me” and in this case the “why” wasn’t about helping the girl scouts, or even helping his friend’s daughter. (which I am sure would have been enough to get the order). But Charlotte took it a step further because she was raising money for our troops:
"Notice how none of the cookie boxes are a 10? There is a reason for it. The real 10 is donating a box. It helps strike a spark in the treacherous live of those making America safe. Please honor them by donating a box."
And this is where the magic happened for Charlotte. Because Mike was so impressed with her approach, he shared it on his podcast. He referred the nation to her! Within 48 hours, she had over 15,000 boxes sold through her website. Charlotte wasn’t trying for 15,000 boxes, she was trying for 300. But she also didn’t just try for an order, she wanted to have a relationship as a trusted advisor. Here is Mike’s podcast where he reads the letter from Charlotte:
All of the concepts in our Become the Only Choice - Sales Effectiveness courses come back to relationships, and the essential skills you need to build strong ones. The competition is fierce and it’s hard to cut through the clutter. There are dozens of options around every corner for your prospects. We can help your sales team win the relationships! Contact us…