Many business professionals strive to be recognized as a “trusted advisor” by their customers, clients, business partners and associates. Much has been written about the trusted advisor – going beyond the relationship, with various definitions that interpret the meaning. And it’s easy to title or crown yourself “trusted advisor” without validation.
Clients, customers, and associates will seek your counsel before making decisions or taking action related to important matters if you are really a trusted advisor. As a technology solutions provider, our clients and business partners trust Revolution Group with some of their most valuable business assets. We meet periodically to discuss requirements, technology roadmaps, business plans, sales objectives, and sometimes just for fun. If we’ve done the job right, they accept our calls to hear new ideas or learn about products or services that may benefit them. It’s a relationship status that must be earned every day.
To understand how to earn, gain, or secure real trusted advisor status, one can draw from social influence theory postulated by American Sociologist, Edwin H. Sutherland in 1924. The principal of Differential Association outlines basic tenants that can be utilized today to understand how to become a trusted advisor. Differential Association describes four variables of Frequency, Duration, Priority, and Intensity that influences the behavior and attitudes of people and groups.
- Frequency refers to how often you may have contact with another.
- Duration refers to how long the relationship lasts, and the length of time when interacting.
- Priority refers to how important are you to the other party.
- Intensity refers to the emotional volume of the relationship.
So, are you a trusted advisor? With some honest self-examination you can begin by asking the following about the relationship you have with the people you believe you influence:
Do I have contact and interact frequently?
Is the interaction consistent and continuous over a significant period of time?
Do I make a difference – influence positive change? Am I an authority or subject matter expert with knowledge or information that is of value to the people I touch? Do I truly influence significant decisions?
Does the interaction result in a mutual experience of satisfaction and appreciation?
Revolution Group associates strive to be best practice professionals, so that we collectively are a best in class technology solutions provider. It is recognizing that being a trusted advisor is not a designation or state. But a continuous improvement process with frequency, duration, priority, and intensity within the relationship being just some of the tools that help us accomplish our goals.