I have just read TAS Group’s white paper “Moving from Vendor to Trusted Advisor.”
It’s well written. It is a typical piece of Marketing ‘Content’ designed to excite and to promote their “Product” TAS Deal Maker. However, it falls between two stools.
It neither excites, nor was I left gagging for a demo of the Product!
What struck me was The Story of “Salesman Matt”, published by the CEO of The TAS Group
Donal Daly’s “Select Selling Sales Field book” - about a man called Matt.
Daly describes Matt as: “the ‘personification’ of the Trusted Advisor.”
And, it is Daly’s detail of
what a Trusted Advisor actually DOES that disturbs me!
“Over the 15 or so years we’ve known Matt,
he has had three different employers,
but he has always retained the same four major customers.”
They don’t say that Matt left Employers to join Competitors taking the “HIS” customer with him or not.
But, it is clear that Matt as a “Trusted Advisor” to ‘his’ Customer
should not be treated as a “Trusted Employee”.
The flaw in this ‘Trusted Advisor’ thinking is that Matt “OWNS” his Customers.
HE DOES NOT!
“HIS” personal ‘relationship’ is bought, and paid for, by his Employer.
Those ‘Customers’ are Customers of Matt’s Employer;
Matt simply has stewardship of the Account.
I have had the pain of Managing Salespeople like Matt;
they withhold Key Data about “their” Customers,
while spending Company money on developing “their” relationship “Trusted Advisor”.
Trusted Advisors accept both a Salary and a Bonus,
but reserve ‘their rights’ to act in their own “best interest”.
They are really ‘self-employed’ Agents,
earning their living from exploiting an Employer to fund ‘their’ Business and
their Employer’s Customer to pay a second time for ‘their’ results.
Trusted Advisors should not be trusted.
Not trusted by their Customers as their income depends upon their “Sales”, not their advice.
Not trusted by their Employers in whose interest they are paid to act, to sell,
not to give ‘Trusted Advice’ to a Customer.
Thankfully, we have some Evidence to base our Sales Decision on.
The evidence based models of The Challenger Sale,
would show that the “Trusted Advisor” is in fact part ‘lone wolf’ in ‘relationship’ clothing.