Sitting in a meeting with a client’s directors earlier today, I said something I frequently say to my clients. However, after I said it, I realized just how powerful of a statement it was.
“Not only do I oversee what my company does for you, I also want to help you do your job better. I want to be a resource for you.”
Are you a resource to your clients? How about the primary resource? What about to your friends or family?
Sure, my clients can scour the internet for answers to questions. They can ask their contemporaries at other companies. There are numerous resources they can use.
My clients, however, use me as their primary resource. Anyway, that is my goal.
What can you do to be viewed as the primary resource for your clients? Here are seven steps you can take to become the primary resource for your clients:
1. Offer it – The most important action you can take to be seen as the primary resource for your clients, family or friends, is to offer to be a resource.
How often do you want to ask someone for assistance but you feel like you’d be bothering him? You don’t want to annoy that person with your troubles. You feel like you should know the answer so you don’t even ask.
If you offer to be a resource, you’re inviting questions. You’re indicating it is not a bother to ask you for help. You want to be asked. You want to be the primary resource.
2. Build camaraderie – The immediate past president of my alma mater, Harding University, had a “thing” for camaraderie. It was Dr. Burks’ goal to make sure everyone knew how to spell camaraderie. [I admit Dr. Burks, I just had to search for the correct spelling.]
More importantly, though, he believed in the benefits of camaraderie. He knew that camaraderie meant more than just being acquaintances. It meant forging bonds with others.
You can and need to build a strong bond of camaraderie with your clients. You can build it fast in the right circumstances. Other times, it will take a long time to build that camaraderie. Regardless, you must have it to be seen as their primary resource.
3. Be trusting – To be trusted, you have to be trustworthy. The easiest way to be trustworthy is to do what you say. As I told my clients in the meeting earlier today, “I don’t believe in business ethics. I believe in ethics. There is ethical and there is unethical.” That statement helped show I was worthy of their trust.
4. Be recommended – Nothing helps you be seen as a key resource more than being referred or recommended by someone the other person trusts. My good relationship with another member of the management team helped served as that recommendation.
Build a great relationship with an influential person within an organization and you’ll then branch out to other key members of the organization. The relationship, however, MUST be genuine. You can’t fake your interest. If you do, it will come out eventually and you will no longer be a trusted resource.
5. Share knowledge – You need to be knowledgeable about your subject matter. You can offer to be the primary resource for one thing but if you know nothing about it, it will do no good.
Experience helps. The longer you’ve worked in an area, the more knowledgeable you should be. Don’t just know facts though. Be proficient with that knowledge.
6. Demonstrate wisdom – Knowledge is the baseline. Applying that knowledge in the proper way is wisdom. Your clients expect you to know the facts. More importantly, though, they want you to be able to apply those facts to their circumstances.
When you, as the primary resource for a client, are asked to provide advice based on a certain set of facts and circumstances, and you can provide solutions using your knowledge base, you will be imparting wisdom to your client.
7. Admit when you don’t know – During this same meeting earlier today, I was asked a question and did not remember the answer. Instead of trying to fumble my way through, I asked for help from others at the table.
Once members of management told their side of the story, my mind was refreshed and I could talk intelligently.
Never say you know the answer when you don’t. It is acceptable, however, to say you don’t know but you’ll find out.
Be the primary resource
Regardless of whether you want to reach the top of the corporate ladder or continue to serve in your current role, being the primary resource for others can only help you.
Not only will being the primary resource be good for your career, it will increase your happiness. Everyone wants to be wanted and needed. Being a resource will help you fulfill that need in your life.
Take a look at the seven steps above and determine your level of proficiency. Which one or two steps do you want to focus on to become an even better, more valuable resource. Please let me know in the comments below.