Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is - Becoming a "Trusted" Advisor

A little over a year ago, I attended a Customer Advisory Board meeting in another country.  It was the inaugural meeting of this board, which required an added focus on developing relationships and trust.

At the end of the day-and-a-half long meeting, each member was asked to speak for a few minutes on what they got out of the meeting, where they would like to see improvements, and what was the single most important thing that our client needed to keep in mind moving forward.  Without exception, the members said that our client needed to follow through.  For this group, history has proven that organizations in the same industry as our client have come in, done a dog-and-pony show, promised the moon and the stars and then disappeared, never to be heard from again.  Although the members were not implying that this advisory board meeting was anything of that ilk, they were understandably skeptical.  The meeting had gone extremely well, bonds were formed and they were very excited to keep the dialogue going.  They just wanted to be sure that a letdown was not in their future.

So fast forward to this week.  Twenty-three members of this board from six different Latin American countries are converging in New York City for the second meeting of the board.  At the beginning of the meeting, they will hear of all the actions our client has completed as a result of the meeting last year.  Members will see first-hand how much our client listened, acted upon and valued their feedback.  They will see that the previous meeting was not a one-off and that they are committed to a long-term relationship with each of the attending members as well as the region as a whole.

I am very much looking forward to boarding the plane this week for New York and seeing the further development of these relationships and the strategic insight that will help our client further penetrate this market.

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