In a session with the management students on the “Role of a sales person” one of the students stated that an advisor can NOTbe considered as a front line salesman, that he is the one who will not do the hard core selling, he/she will always make a presence at a later stage of the sales process. I wanted him to be more specific and the answer was that an advisor will only come in, after the first sales pitch has been made. (Either by a Tele caller or by a sales promotions executive)

The reason given was that an advisor should be Impartial and then only they can be trusted, whereas how will a sales person achieve his targets if he starts being Impartial, the competition will take over the market share in such scenario.

It seemed as if majority of the class was in agreement with their friend, leaving enough room for discussion.

While thinking on how to take this discussion forward and make this new bunch of to be managers understand the point, I had a flash back and recalled that few years back it was a word, which if, used for someone, instantly gave a sense of respect for the individual. “Advisor” a word that always fascinated me, but today it’s the same word that I balked when I heard, because it’s being used for someone who is expected NOT to be a sales person.

So what does the word Advisor means?

The class came on a mutual consent that the word means, the one (an advisor) will have business acumen, experience, skill, knowledge, and the functional expertise to be trusted to advise people or the organisations.

Together they came up with certain behaviours, attributes and ideals for an Advisor.

  • Disciplined
  • Skilled
  • Analytical
  • Negotiator
  • Revenue /goal focussed

The next point of discussion was “should an advisor prospect”?

I could feel that almost all of them in their head were like NOooooo.

But to my surprise there was one who stood up and said YES!

His point was that anyone with the above mentioned behaviours will always be able to close more prospects than any regular sales executive.

In fact, it is the knowledge, the training, the experience, and the subject matter expertise that equips him to successfully prospect, he/she will always have ideas worth listening to.

So with a smirk the next point was “should they do cold calling”?

An instant answer was YES!

An advisor, just because of his strengths is confident enough in the value that he/she will create, to open relationships with prospects.

Most importantly, being a trusted advisor doesn’t mean that you don’t sell or that you don’t ask for and obtain commitments.

So now…. What about the Impartiality?

Now to tackle the point I tried to make a case.

If the product that we are selling is not going to creating any value to the client, and we are not going to be able to help the client achieving the results, shouldn’t we walk away from that deal. If you know that you are not the best and that your competitor is fit for them, one may certainly build trust by giving a reference/ recommend to go ahead and do business with someone else.

But let’s look at another situation. You are an advisor with a product (or can customise) that will definitely help your client in achieving his desired result. At the same time your competitor also has a solution (although different in some ways from yours) that will also be as useful as yours for your client.

Will you still be impartial?

In everyone head the answer was NO….. I’ll be not . . . I will be damn partial and as biased as I can be!

An advisor is not built on being impartial. This impartiality is really about not selling outcomes that you cannot achieve for your client and instead walking away. Being an advisor isn’t built on the idea that you are not doing hard sales and that you should never behave like a professional sales personal.

Every Advisor is a Salesperson, but every Salesperson May Not Be an Advisor

The idea of being an advisor isn’t something separate from being a salesperson. It is a set of behaviours and attributes that great salespeople possess. An advisor is a salesperson.

The contrary isn’t necessarily true. One may possess the title of salesperson and still not be an advisor. Though being a successful salesperson requires that you build the skills, the knowledge, the experience, and business acumen but at the core one will always be a Sales person.

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