Earning and Keeping the ‘Trust’ in ‘Trusted Advisor’

CompTIA TrustmarkWhat’s the first word in Trusted Advisor?

We throw that term around a lot in the industry, to the point where it’s become just another synonym for a solution provider. But it isn’t. Or it shouldn’t be. A trusted advisor survives and thrives because of the aura of confidence they’ve developed one successful engagement at a time. Can you walk into a client’s office to offer them a new service fully confident that your past actions will influence the perception of your future in a favorable way?

If you can, then you recognize the vital nature of trust in the channel. Trust is hard to win, but dangerously easy to lose.

So what does it take to be considered trustworthy in our business? There’s a few core elements that serve as the foundation for trust in today’s business

  • Fairness. Are you selling your services responsibly? Are your prices fair and competitive and based on real market factors?
  • Honesty. You must be perceived as dealing above board in all matters. One slip, one perceived falsehood or fudging of the facts can undo years of straight shooting.
  • Reliability. You clients rely on your services to handle the most critically important, the stuff their businesses depend on for their very survival. You must be perceived as – and indeed be – lead pipe lock reliable.
  • Skill. What we do isn’t easy. IT is increasingly complicated stuff. That’s why customers turn to experts to handle such tasks. Are your skills current and up to the challenge?

The crossover between trust and the way the market approaches IT services is quantifiable.  the IT standards organization ISACA recently polled SMBs to gauge their trust of IT service providers and found that many of their key concerns go right to the heart of trust in the relationship. Things like quality standards, regulatory compliance, systems and service reliability and work ethics and culture topped the list.

Solution providers are in a unique position to counsel their customers on how they should run, secure, maintain, plan and grow their businesses. But that counsel often goes for naught when the client discovers that the so-called trusted advisor doesn’t practice what they preach. You can’t sell business services if you don’t run a tidy business. You can’t sell security if your own business isn’t secure. You can’t evangelize on innovative technology if your own operations are dated and lacking.

One of the ways solution providers establish trust is by adhering to recognized standards of trust like the CompTIA Trustmark. It’s a good way to convey their commitment to high levels of sustained data integrity, security and performance. CompTIA’s Trustmark program shows a proven ability to demonstrate value, open market opportunities and win new business.

It’s all a matter of trust.

Join us today at 2 p.m. EST for a CompTIA Webinar in partnership with The 2112 Group titled “Enhancing Value to Customers Through TrustMark.” I’ll be talking to industry experts Len DiConstanzo, SVP Community & Business Development at Autotask; John Tippett, COO of solution provider EDTS; and Miles Jobgen, Senior Product Manager for the Trustmark program at CompTIA. We’ll discuss ways to establish and maintain trust, why trust is important in the channel, what kinds of troubles befall us when trust fails, and how to fix it when it breaks.

You can register for the webinar here. We hope you’ll join us and we look forward to seeing you there!