The depth of our collective business relationships is dependent on two different types of trust: professional and personal. Becoming a trusted advisor is about balancing the two. If you stop and think about it, we are all a trusted advisor to someone. We give advice to our friends, family, and colleagues daily, challenging them to make better informed decisions and expanding their perspectives. While most individuals have a propensity to build one type of trust over the other, it is crucial to watch, listen, and adapt based on what kind of trust people prioritize. It is important to understand the value you bring to the table and listen to their underlying interests – not just their immediate needs.

When it comes to clients, professional trust usually comes first, as it is built from a foundation of doing your job and doing it extremely well. But, if you want to be the person your clients come to for advice and direction before the decisions are made, you need to develop a strong personal relationship. Over the years I have learned several important strategies for making both professional and personal connections – the ones that take you from “salesperson” to “confidant”.

  1. Find your own style – be authentic and be real.
  2. Truly get to know your clients. What are their hobbies? Ask about their family. While it might take years to develop or find a connection, keep at it and do not give up. This is a long-term commitment after all, not a short-term gain.
  3. Clients will hire people they personally like to work with, and once the relationship is established the projects will follow. Do not ask for a job or project – develop a relationship first.
  4. Connect the dots! Leverage your relationships.
  5. Think about how you can further add value to your clients. Help them solve a problem and assist them without asking for anything in return. Help them find capital for a potential project or refer them to a broker who can find the next deal.
  6. Help someone find a job. Give referrals, stay in constant contact, and network!