Mind of Murph
The “Pro” Advisor
Developing your practice as a ProAdvisor means always putting the “Pro” ahead of the “Advisor” on behalf of your clients.
Being a “Pro” means you must Study and Certify
Webster defines “Pro” (Professional) as “relating to a job that requires special education, training or skill”. It has been my experience that almost anyone can join the ProAdvisor program, and many do so for a variety of reasons. For example, it is cheaper to join the ProAdvisor program than it is to purchase all the software you receive as a ProAdvisor.
While many ‘join’, a much smaller number ever study and take the certification examinations. Of those who do take the ProAdvisor certification, a much smaller number yet study and pass the ‘Advanced Certification’ for ProAdvisor. But putting the “Pro” ahead of the Advisor means earning those professional credentials through special education, training and skill development.
If you want to put your clients ahead of yourself, and put yourself ahead of the competition you need to Study and Certify at every level of the ProAdvisor Program.
Being a “Pro” means you must learn from others
While the training offered to ProAdvisors in order to prepare for certification provides a foundation upon which to build a profession, if you want to put the “Pro” ahead of the Advisor you must take every opportunity to learn from others in the Profession. With the advent of YouTube there has been an explosion of short video presentations produced by ProAdvisors covering everything from the ‘basics’ to highly specialized topics.
Some ProAdvisors have written highly detailed textbooks on using the products we ProAdvisors support; many of these textbooks provide tips of the trade and best practices learned through trial and error. Many times there is more than one way to accomplish a specific need, depending on the situation and circumstances. While the basic ‘certification course’ materials provide a foundation, they do not cover every foreseeable situation.
There are many Linked-in Groups that are geared toward ProAdvisors. Most of these groups serve as both discussion forums and sounding boards in which participants can not only pose questions seeking the input of their colleagues, but voice concerns over specific situations such as newly discovered software errors.
Obviously Intuitive Accountant is another resource that can provide you with information and resources ranging from the basics to some of the most complex issues facing ProAdvisors.
A great place to learn from your fellow ProAdvisors is at a formal conference, such as Scaling New Heights which will be held this year just outside San Antonio, Texas on June 15 – 18 (2014). Thousands of participants, instructors, vendors and related professionals will provide such a wealth of information that you cannot possibly absorb it all; nevertheless you should attend this type of advanced education and focus on your areas of need and interest if you truly want to put the “Pro” ahead of the Advisor for your clients.
Being a “Pro” means putting your Clients ahead of yourself.
While most of us make jokes about ‘lawyers’, I must say that they have a fairly straight forward code of ethics which begins by instructing that they must ‘always be an advocate for their client to the best of their ability.’ Similarly a Trustee who administers funds on behalf of another person has a ‘fiduciary’ responsibility in which they are to always place the interest of the beneficiary ahead of their own interests. The requirement, to always put ‘the other guy’ first, is in part what makes these people ‘professionals’.
As ProAdvisors we must also put our client first; this is one reason why I chose early on not to include ‘sales’ in my own practice; however, the inclusion of sales does not in and of itself preclude putting the client first, it just necessitates reminding yourself to do so more often, I think.
Every time we make a recommendation as a trusted advisor for one of our clients, we should ask ourselves if the recommendation truly is in the best interest of the client. If we can honestly conclude that ‘it is’, then we know we are doing the right thing even if the client decides not to follow our recommendation.
Eventually there will come sometime when the ‘best thing’ is to simply back-out of a relationship; to say to yourself, “what this client needs is someone different to work with.” While that can mean not only the loss of revenue and a long-term relationship, it may very well be the only thing that illustrates that we are indeed putting the “Pro” ahead of the Advisor on behalf of our client.
William “Bill” Murphy