BEING THE TRUSTED ADVISOR IS NOT ENOUGH: BECOME THE MOST TRUSTED ADVISOR.

Confidence and self conviction is a key success factor for sales and BD professionals. But here’s where it often goes wrong and gets in the way of generating more revenue. TRUST. Or better, one’s self perception of the client’s trust.

John is a partner with a good legal firm. He was  successful in his business development, well on par with good competitors. He gets jobs and clients in and gets continuous business.

But it turns out he gets roughly the same share of projects and new clients as his competitors. With established clients, in many cases, his firm is one of a few on the panel. The clients distribute the projects on an almost equal basis. Clearly, John is highly trusted. But not ‘more trusted’ than his competitors – missing out on getting more projects.

Another example. Chris is the account manager for a digital media company. Some of his relationships have been built  over 15 years and clients are always happy to meet with him.

When asked how much his clients trust him and his company vs competitors, Chris feels that he would score a 9 out of 10 and his competitors about an 8 out of 10. Asking his clients we found they scored him and his organisation as well as his 3 key competitors on par at a very high 9 out of 10. The effect is obvious. Clients distribute their business among them with little preference.

Now, a 9 out of 10 is hard to beat. It is a very good number. But how could we help Chris be more trusted  and get a bigger share of his client’s business?

Resetting the client’s trust scale!

Trust is what you are trusted for. And in both cases our clients and their competitors were trusted for the same things – mostly functional and pervasive in the category. In analysing what customers want to trust for, these things came up and were important, but we found that there were other aspects clients would love to trust for, yet no competitor offered these.

Some of these key trust drivers were already inherent in our client’s companies and in John and Chris, but they were never brought to the fore. In implementing their trust building program they used these to build differentiated trust with their customers, delivering better on additional things the clients wanted to trust for.

The effect is a resetting of the trust scale. Subsequent measurement showed that our clients retained their 9 out of 10 ratings, but the competitors fell back into a 7 out of 10 territory – creating a significant trust advantage and leading to more projects being picked up.