Are you building out a part of your referral network to include subject matter experts or real trusted advisers/trusted authorities?
The distinction is critical. One you’ll rarely ever see referrals from, and one you’ll see an abundance of referrals.
I was reminded of this distinction in reading a blog post from Patti Stafford on the Blogging Tips blog.
First, you have to have competence in what you do. Experts don’t always have the competence or the confidence in the beginning to claim the title of “authority” but they work towards it.
The second thing you need to be the authority figure is to be committed to helping others, have a passion for helping those people. Often times, the expert wants to help others, but it’s not their driving force. Their driving force is to be the expert. The trusted authority moves past that and their goals focus on helping others.
The trusted advisers/trusted influencers/trusted authority figures have a level of respect with their clients and network that moves far beyond the influence of an expert. Remember the old EF Hutton commercials when the broker from EF Hutton spoke, a hushed silence occurred and everyone leaned in to hear what was being said. If your an expert, you’re contacts, connections, and relationships will view you simply as a subject matter expert – that’s the narrow light they see you in. When you’re a trusted adviser or authority, your network seeks your advice and takes action based on your advice.
Allow me to share an example. I have an extensive network of subject matter experts. I hope that these folks hear about executive search opportunities with their clients when they are working on projects in their area of expertise – benefit plan changes, legal issues, strategic planning, marketing programs, etc. Unfortunately, it’s usually wishful thinking. These subject matter experts are not “privy” to anything going on at their clients beyond the narrow scope of their expert-related project.
Now let’s look at the trusted adviser or trusted authority. This person is involved in counseling their CEOs on a wide range of subjects, including who to choose as a consultant for work that has nothing to do with their subject matter expertise. They are invited into their client’s confidence, brought to the table for advice, and trusted for their recommendations. My clients know that when i make a recommendation, it’s from my heart as a well-meaning attempt to give them value and help them succeed. My clients have to be guarded – fearing some hidden agenda or ulterior motive.
A few days ago, I was on a phone call discussing a project with a potential client, who had been referred to me by one of her trusted advisers. At the end of our conversation, the client said, “If Julie trusts and believes in you –that’s good enough for me. Send me over your contract and I’ll sign it.” How many of the subject matter experts in your network have that level of influence and authority with their clients?
How does this work for a Chair seeking CEO members. When a trusted adviser makes a referral, you can be assured it’s set-up, ready for you to take to the signing level. If that trusted adviser said you’re a good person and TEC/Vistage is the route to go, you don’t have to worry about closing. Are you working too hard on trying to close referrals from subject matter experts that just don’t have enough “juice” or influence to steer their CEO clients toward TEC/Vistage membership.
Who’s in your network – experts or trusted advisers?
One of the key elements we’re focusing on in the Chair Coaching Program for Leveraging Social Media is how to find and engage with true trusted advisers – real authority figures – who are willing to go above and beyond the call of duty in providing referrals of their CEOs to you. Have you signed up for this FREE program yet? I’ll bet you get few to none referrals from your network of subject matter experts.
Ask me to show you how in just a short 15 minute conversation how to determine if a network contact is worth nurturing based on being a trusted adviser vs. a subject matter expert.
If you would like to read the complete article by Patti Stafford, click the link below:
Expert or Trusted Authority: Which is Better?