Ever since David Maister came out with “Trusted Advisor“, professional services companies have integrated the term trusted advisor into their repertoire of service delivery and business development lingo. The really good firms have embraced it as a long-term approach to building relationships and perhaps clients that will last a lifetime. Other firms have viewed it as a marketing ploy; words to use in your corporate literature, but not words you live by.
Intimacy and motive are two key components to building a trusted relationship with a client. To develop intimacy you need to really understand your client’s wants and needs. You have to work closely with them. You have to be available when they need you.
You and the client have to be crystal clear on your motives. Are you there to extract all you can from their wallet or do you have their best interest in mind?
Intimacy and motive in an online world are challenges. Are your marketing and service delivery methods one to many or one to one? Are you building an online community and becoming a trusted advisor to that community or blasting emails and direct mail at your ‘market segment’?
Maister gave us “Trusted Advisor”, Seth Godin has given us ‘Tribes‘. It’s time now to integrate the two.