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Further reading - Client relationships

 
#1 Further reading - Client relationships
13/10/2012 08:52

cidr

I'm trying to find material/books (mainly books) that focuses primarily on Client relationships.

There is a wealth of books out there that deal mainly with marketing, building up a consultancy business, strategy on delivery etc. I'd like to find books that deal with the communication side (e.g., how to effectively so NO to a client)

Even if there are books or other good material out there that have all of the above plus invaluable communication / client relationship info, I'd be glad to hear what it is.

Many thanks and enjoy the weekend

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#2 RE: Further reading - Client relationships
13/10/2012 18:07

mintrubber to cidr (#1)

I have only ever read one such book - The Trusted Advisor by David Master. I found it to be a bit fluffy though.

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#3 RE: Further reading - Client relationships
15/10/2012 12:31

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to mintrubber (#2)

David Maister? Isn't he that guy that used to write about "professionalism" - i.e. become a slave to the client?

Listen, forget all this fluff about building relationships and the like. Just be yourself. Remember you're there to do a job, and that's that. No need to get all policitical and psychological about it. Just deal with situations as they arise. Imagine you're talking to your brother or somebody, except just be a bit more polite and don't swear.

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#4 RE: Further reading - Client relationships
18/10/2012 12:22

Bob to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#3)

Mahan Khalsa: Let's Get Real or Let's Not Play.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lets-Get-Real-Not-Play/dp/1883219507

In my bookshelf but I don't think I got very far with it. Was part of curriculum at Accenture back in thay day, I think the chap even turned up to talk to us in St. Charles.

Says its about selling but my recollection was that the fundamental principle is about building a client relationship of trusts etc. etc. etc., where sales will simply folllow.

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#5 RE: Further reading - Client relationships
18/10/2012 12:57

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Bob (#4)

Hmm, I just looked that book up and it says in the narrative:

"Salespeople, they argue, do best when they focus 100 percent on helping clients succeed. When customers are successful, both buyer and seller win."

Well no $h1T, sherlock!

Does the book actually provide any information that isn't a statement of the obvious?

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#6 RE: Further reading - Client relationships
18/10/2012 12:59

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#5)

Also, I'd question whether it really does follow that consultants do best when they focus 100% on their clients' interests.

Surely they do best when they focus on their own interests which may or may not be the same as the client's?

Unlike that book, here's a specific example. Client's interest = working the consultant as hard as possible and getting as much as possible for the money paid. A consultant on the other hand will not do well by putting that particular interest ahead of his own interest of actually making some money without killing himself in the process.

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#7 RE: Further reading - Client relationships
19/10/2012 13:14

Bob to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#6)

Bushy Eyebrow Partner: I think you're confusing contractors and consultants.

Consultants should indeed focus primarily on clients interests (and sometimes to highlight where the client isn't aware of, or has incorrect interests in mind).

If the clients interest is to get value for money for consultants' high rates (or as you say "working them as hard as possible"), then the consultant should indeed try to make sure that the client ends up getting that value for money.

This is why consultants charge over double what contractors do. Some clients get this difference (and pay the rates), and others don't (and rely on contractors to do the minimum, look after their own interests, and to follow client's instructions blindly).

If the client trusts you to do right by and protect their interests, including telling them no, or telling them a decision they are about to take is wrong, then this is a perfect foundation for a strong client relationship.

Where's a contractor relationship is based on: "you pay be £, I do x".

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#8 RE: Further reading - Client relationships
19/10/2012 15:46

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Bob (#7)

As a junior consultant, my main interest was to get out of the office asap every evening. Our clients, however, wanted us to stay there all night. I focused on my own interests but got told off a lot for it and they even tried to make me "redundant" during an appraisal but changed their mind when I got an employment lawyer on the case. Then I joined a smaller firm that cared more about its staff and haven't looked back since.

What I learnt from that experience was to always look after the junior team members really well. Whenever I have junior ones on my team, I always insist that they leave the office by 6.00pm and I tell them up-front that they're not to do any work or check emails in the evenings or weekends. I also make sure I know ALL of their names, unlike some of my fellow partners who "don't know one of those kids from the other" (their words). You gotta look after the young ones, they are the future after all.

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