“If people like you, they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.”
– Zig Ziglar
The title of a “trusted advisor” is always considered to be a privilege, something that every accountant aspires to achieve. So, who is a trusted advisor?
A trusted advisor is someone who is empathetic, can be counted upon and keeps the client interests above all — one who is genuinely passionate, authentic and wants to develop a long-term relationship with the client.
Being a trusted advisor implies that you can analyse your customer’s business issues and difficulties and have the ability to make the correct proposals to enhance their profit.
How Important is Being a Trusted Advisor?
Being a trusted advisor is far more valuable than an accountant might think. Most clients, even if they get excellent service from advisors don’t renew the contract because the trust is not there.
They feel like the advisor is just there to make money off them, without caring about them.
It is a known fact that a trusted advisor has a higher rate of customer retention along with strong connections in the industry. Why is it so?
This is mainly because instead of being just another advisor, you become someone more valuable. The client trusts you with all his dealings, and a trusted advisor is usually the first person he goes to for advice.
What Are the Traits of a Trusted Advisor?
There are a few common traits that every trusted advisor carries. A trusted advisor is the one who:
1. Puts his client’s interests over his own
A trusted advisor does not focus on what he wants to get out of the professional relationship with his client. His focus is on solving the problem rather than expanding his business.
A trusted advisor listens to the underlying needs of his clients, and that helps to create an everlasting bond between the two.
2. Is sincere
Being sincere is a very crucial trait of being a trusted advisor. A real advisor is not only honest in all his dealings but also works hard to meet the targets and the deadlines.
A sincere advisor always does his homework, and that is how earns the trust of his clients.
3. A good listener
“The best listeners listen between the lines.”
– Nina Malkin
An accountant can become a trusted advisor only when he is a good listener. A good listener listens to unvoiced emotions, empathises well, keeps asking the client’s perspective to understand the problem better, tries to think from the client’s perspective and give an unbiased opinion to his client.
Being a good listener is a very rare trait, and that results in the clients trusting the advisor even more.
Recommended Reading: 5 Things You Can Do To Improve Customer Experience for Your Accounting Business
4. Delivers on what he promises
Whether it is meeting deadlines or budgets, a trusted advisor always fulfils what he promises to his client. It is essential to building an emotional bond with the client, and an accountant knows that. Achieving the targets given by the client is one of the sure-shot ways to gain the trust of the accountants.
5. Has brilliant business acumen
A trusted advisor can offer sound advice to his clients. However, giving sound advice which works requires an in-depth knowledge of the business, and in general how things work.
Clients don’t only need the ideas; they also need the reasons for doing something, and if you are not able to provide a genuine basis, then it affects your credibility.
6. Takes responsibility
A trusted advisor takes responsibility regardless of the outcome. The outcome may result because of a piece of advice they gave, or because of something else.
They always have the intention to help their client in whatever way they can. They don’t put limitations on their value by only offering solutions to what they are selling. They try to help the accountant in whatever way they can.
7. Is honest
A trusted advisor should be a client’s best friend. This requires him to be honest with his words. He knows his opinions might not match his client’s views but still gives his unbiased opinion on the problem in front of them so that the client benefits in the longer run.
8. Is open to new ideas
Being honest does not mean the advisor has to be rigid with his views. A trusted advisor should be able to keep an open mind and should always be able to consider his clients’ opinions.
Remember! Clients trust the advisor who listens to them. By discussing their ideas, an advisor increases the trust their clients have on him/her.
9. Meets regularly
A trusted advisor does not believe in doing business over the phone. He wants to meet his clients on a regular basis and keep them updated. He knows the power of personal connection and how much the clients trust after that.
10. Is himself
A trusted accountant does not believe in pretending to be someone he is not to impress. He is his real self all the time, and that helps him to provide his views in an unbiased manner to his clients.
It also helps him to stand up for himself and provide genuine reasons for his decisions.
To bring it all together!
It is difficult to gain people’s trust nowadays. People want someone who is reliable – someone they can trust with their finances, their details and their businesses.
A trusted advisor is not only someone who is sincere and honest, but he also puts his client’s needs over his own, takes responsibility for his actions, has the brilliant business acumen, and delivers what he promises. He is also open to new ideas, is a good listener and most importantly is himself.