May 11, 2023 4 Min Read
Becoming a Trusted Advisor to Your Customer
In modern account management, becoming a trusted advisor to your customer is critical to success. Trusted relationships drive revenue velocity, while a lack of trust slows progress and represents a drag on price and margins. This presents a huge opportunity for profitability if you can become a trusted partner to your customers. So, how do account managers become trusted advisors?
Building An Obsession
As an account manager, you need to know your products and solutions, and you need to understand the industry. But customers think it is even more important to know about them. Jack Ma at Alibaba and Jeff Bezos at Amazon often characterized their focus on understanding the customer as an obsession. Two important behaviors that can help you demonstrate your obsession with your customer are curiosity and empathy. Curiosity about their business and their customers, curiosity about their business challenges and constantly looking for new ways to solve them. Empathy is demonstrating the ability to see you, your product, and engaging with your company from their perspective. Understanding their buying process, not just trying to push your selling process.
If you would like to explore this idea more deeply, consider these questions:
- How do you balance asking questions and seeking information with actively listening to your customers’ responses and insights?
- How do you handle situations where you disagree with a customer’s approach or decision, while still maintaining your commitment to their success and satisfaction?
Aligning Your Video With Your Audio
As the saying goes, “Trust is a fragile thing. Easy to break, easy to lose and one of the hardest things to ever get back.” Customers want to work with someone who is believable and who is worthy of being believed. So it is imperative that you always DWYSYWD – Do What You Say You Will Do.
It is easy to say, and nearly everyone thinks they do it already, but there are simple ways to increase this reputation of credibility and trust with your customer:
Firstly, it is about Believability. Buyers want to work with who is believable and who is worthy of being believed. Don’t say things unless you are certain or make assertions you have not researched. Once a customer determines that something that you claimed is ultimately not true, they will doubt everything you share from then on. This will slow down the velocity in the relationship, and as we all know, time is money.
Secondly, it is about Reliability. Document every promise you make to a customer – write an email after every call and detail out what was promised and by when. And then do it. That sounds straightforward, but it is the little details – how you speak, how you confirm, how you follow up, that can make the difference in a customer’s perception of your reliability. And make no mistake about it, their perception is your reality, regardless of whether you think it is a fair characterization, or not.
Lastly, it is about Availability. Being available and responsive go a long way to building trust. Challenge yourself to respond to emails within a tight timeframe – even if it is just to say, “I received your question. I don’t have the answer right now, but I am researching it, and I will get back to you by this time or date.” If you are going to be out of communication reach for a period of time, let your key customers know just like you let your company know.
Becoming a trusted advisor to your customers is not an overnight process. It takes time, effort, and a genuine desire to understand and help your customers. Building an obsession about your customers and aligning your actions with your words are two critical components of building trust. Remember, your customers are looking for someone they can believe in and trust. By demonstrating your curiosity, empathy, and dependability, you can become the trusted partner your customers are looking for. With trust comes long-term relationships, repeat business, and a reputation as a trusted advisor in your industry.