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Businesses don’t just become trusted advisors overnight. It has to be earned. This is because trusted advisors have to demonstrate over a period of time they are knowledgeable and invaluable in their field of play.

So, what are the main traits of a trusted advisor? Let’s take a look:

  1. They actively listen and focus on developing their client relationships
  2. Developed a strong track record of client success
  3. They’re credible in your field and knowledgeable about the best solutions
  4. They can communicate effectively and provide relatability
  5. Put their customers’ interests in front of their own

1. They actively listen and focus on developing their client relationships

Trusted advisors will express genuine emotion towards their customers and their challenges. They will actively listen to your key problem areas and show empathy towards them, instead of brushing them under the rug.

A trusted advisor will do the following when you’re engaging with them about your transformation project:

  • Send the right message with their body language – they look keen to take on your challenges and take the pressure off your firm. This implies they have a genuine interest in what you’re saying
  • Let you explain your issues and problem areas – they’re interested in helping you meet your business goals specifically, and acknowledge your opinions with the work they do
  • Ask relevant questions – they ask questions such as “what challenges are you trying to solve?”, or “what would you want to achieve in the next year by making this change?”, displaying their interest in trying to solve your issues

trusted advisor

2. Developed a strong track record of client success

Due to the complexity of business processes, especially when looking to introduce new systems or software, you’ll want to receive guidance from an advisor with a wealth of experience. You should look out for:

  • The industries their clients are in – let’s say you’re a software development firm but they only have clients in food production. Despite their positive feedback, their experience may not be the right fit for your business due to the lack of knowledge within your sector
  • The work they’ve delivered on past projects – what frameworks can the advisor bring to enhance your operational efficiency, and how have they helped businesses achieve individual goals in the past?
  • How competent they are at providing strategic recommendations – the more experience an advisor has behind their belt, the more competent they’ll be at problem solving in a variety of different areas of your firm

3. They are credible in your field and knowledgeable about the best solutions

Having an advisor who can demonstrate credibility in your industry inspires confidence they can make well informed, strategic decisions based on your current situation. For example, if they impress you with their knowledge of the latest trends in your industry, valuable insights like these can assist you in retaining your competitive edge.

trusted advisor

Additionally, trusted advisors will be aware of the most appropriate solutions within your field. With a PSA (professional services automation) tool, for example, they should look at your current processes and explore the features of the tool that integrate best to maximise your efficiency.

You can increase the confidence that you're choosing the right project for your business to take on board with this knowledge, allowing you to gain clarity on the options that provide the best return on investment.

4. They can communicate effectively and provide relatability

The closer trusted advisors dial into your needs and wants from future business projects, the better constructive feedback you’ll receive. Before diving into a project, they will establish a relationship with you, bridging the gap between having a transactional connection to a personal one instead.

Additionally, trusted advisors communicate effectively on a range of topics to establish a rapport with you right from the get-go, and you’ll notice the relationship feels like a ladder you’re climbing together step-by-step.

5. Put their customers’ interests in front of their own

Pressures to record chargeable hours and hit billing targets are just a couple of the main challenges facing professional services firms today. Trusted advisors will recognise it’s ultimately down to you to decide which direction to take your project, however, with their expertise, this can enhance your decision-making process. With vast industry knowledge and understanding of how these challenges will affect you, trusted advisors can provide strategic direction to your own plans, which will improve your chances of project success.

Their role is to help you understand the pros, cons and everything in-between of your project's direction. They will present the options available to you (and possibly suggest their recommendations) but they won’t make the decision for you.

trusted advisor

Improve your business agility with our interactive infographic

At Columbus, we believe that successful projects are built on the back of great relationships, where your project teams are seen as trusted advisors. We understand that the professional services landscape changes constantly, which is why we spend time developing a deep understanding of our customers, to ensure they can be as agile as possible in their field.

Agility helps you gain better control over your key resources to deal with even the most unexpected situations, so how can you further support your agility to serve the needs of your business and your customers? Download our interactive infographic today and discover how you can:

  • Improve operational efficiency
  • Maximise your data quality
  • Boost customer experience and engagement

And more! Get your copy below.

The future of the professional services industry

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