Every professional needs a north star. A principle to believe in that, if they focused on it, would make everything else fall into place.
For many, it’s customer-centricity. This is probably one of the better places to end up. You won’t be in business long if you’re not the best at solving your clients’ problems.
My north star is related but a little bit more nuanced. Mine is being an advocate for my clients.
When I consult with my typical small business clients, I see myself as being their protection against the rampant volume of poor quality marketing out there.
My goal is to bring transparency to the table, to explain things as a neutral and trusted guide, and to help advocate for my clients’ needs and interests.
That means leaving money on the table. During an advisory relationship, I don’t mark up the time of the people I recommend to do the marketing execution work.
I also don’t take finders fees, affiliate commissions, or any other such kick-backs—even when it would cost my clients nothing for me to do so.
I referred over $100k in business just last year for the second year straight. These could be meaningful contributions to my profit if I took a percentage.
But then I wouldn’t be as neutral in my engagements as I am. There are no conflicts of incentives, meaning I get to focus on giving the best advice possible, without worrying about how much I’ll be compensated for it (or not).
The result of this approach is subtle but tangible. My clients don’t know they would even value it until they experience it.
And because of this choice, my clients trust me. They know I’m leaving money on the table to remain neutral about how work gets done and who does it.
The best marketing consultants are advocates. They aren’t all fiduciaries, but it’s the better way, if you ask me.
Be the advocate for your clients.