The Biggest Advisory Secret

It's a trust-intensive business.

Want to be as rich as Bill Gates? Then care more about writing code and creating products that are useful to people than about being rich.

I heard a friend saying this (I believe he was quoting David Maister), and couldn't avoid thinking about how this is also true in consulting. But specifically, for those of you who offer advisory services.

To be a great advisor you must care about your client. As Maister puts it:

A common trait of all these trusted advisor relationships is that the advisor places a higher value on maintaining and preserving the relationship itself than on the outcomes of the current transaction, financial or otherwise. Often, the advisor will make a substantial investment in the client (without a guarantee of return) before the relationship does, in fact, generate any income, let alone any profit.

Of course, we all have limited time and resources so there's a limit to how much you can give. But being helpful doesn't mean working for free. As long as you're clear about who are the people you want to serve and how best you can support them, this mindset will always lead to a healthy and strong network.

The secret to becoming a successful advisor? Put the value of the relationship above any transaction, financial or otherwise. Trust and money will follow.

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