About That "Trusted Advisor" Goal...

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By Michelle Golden -
I'm thrilled with Charlie Green's post, "Bad Marketing 101: Trust Me!" in which he writes:

    ...“trusted advisor” is something you want others to say about you, not say it yourself. You can talk about it amongst yourselves, hope for it—but not proclaim it.

    Saying you are, or want to be, someone’s trusted advisor, is like saying you are, or want to be, really humble.

His post is SO right on. "We are qualified to be your trusted advisor" (or similar) is one of the most annoying promises that I see on professional firm websites and in collateral materials. Besides being quite presumptuous (who says you know what I want in an advisor, and what I deem worthy of trust?) it is so commonly stated that it's now cliche.

Charlie, by the way, co-authored with David Maister, THE book on the subject, The Trusted Advisor, agrees it is an inappropriate claim in one's marketing materials. Thank you Charlie!

In his post, he says he googled "to be your trusted advisor" and it generated over 31,000 results. He opines:

    Trust is personal—an outcome, not a come-on. On a first date, asking for either sex or for a very long-term relationship is likely to get you neither. “Trust me” is the business version—socially inappropriate, especially on the “first date” equivalent of the internet.

It's very similar to what I wrote in "Please Don't Put This on Your Website" when I recommended against staking a claim to be a future client's "partner" in their business. I wrote not to say:

    "We partner with you…"

    ...This is a status you earn with a long-term client or it may be a role you are invited to act within for a new client. Either way, It's not something you promise to the general public.

The same with the trusted advisor thing. (My original post lists more things to avoid...)

I couldn't agree more with Charlie's post. Be sure to read his blog post comments, too.

(Originally posted on Golden Practices.)

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