Trusted Advisor

I just retuned from the Business Optimization Conference in New York. Other than the $150 ticket for making an illegal right turn it was a worthwhile investment of two days. As with most conferences you try glean a few new ideas that you can incorporate into your business and from that perspective, mission accomplished. The focus of most the speakers were to provide new ideas and suggestions on how resellers and Vars can deliver more value to their clients. The term that was used most often was “trusted advisor”. When I was kid growing up the “trusted advisor” for most families was their family doctor. They made house calls and got to know the families intimately. I had first hand experience since my uncle was physician and when he died many of his patient’s children came to his wake out of respect to that special relation ship he had with their families even thought in many instances their parents had died. Now the term trusted advisor is used by business that provide services to define the special status they feel they have with their clients. They believe their clients look to them for advice and council as the sole source in their field of expertise.  

 One of the panel discussions at the conference dealt with the issue of trusted advisors from the viewpoint of businesses. The consensus from them was that this “trusted partner” status is assumed by many of their vendors but in reality is not deserved. These panelists were defining their expectations from their technology providers. The trusted status has to be earned and has a short shelf life. A crisis or critical situation puts that relationship to the test that must be meet or it’s lost. They also want these key vendors to anticipate their needs by making them aware of new technologies and solutions to improve their business processes. If you don’t have that expertise in house then partner with someone who does have it. In the end if you’re not there when they need you most and aren’t anticipating their needs they’ll find someone who meets those requirements. You’re a trusted advisor for a long as you meet the standards. Their standard in the words of Ronald Reagan is “trust but verify”.