Finally, the book that all professionals frustrated with fleeting client loyalty and relentless price pressure have waited for -- the first in-depth, client-tested guide to developing lasting business relationships.
What separates extraordinary professionals from ordinary ones? Why are some professionals always drawn into their clients' inner circle of advisers, while others are employed on a one-shot basis and treated like vendors? Based on groundbreaking research, Clients for Life sets forth a comprehensive framework for how professionals in all fields can develop breakthrough relationships with their clients and enjoy enduring client loyalty.
Drawing on insights from extensive interviews with both leading CEOs and today's most prominent client advisers, Jagdish Sheth and Andrew Sobel debunk the conventional wisdom about professional success -- "find a specialty, do good work" -- as hopelessly inadequate in a world where clients have unlimited access to information and expertise. The authors replace these tired conventions with an innovative blueprint, supported by over one hundred case studies and examples drawn from consulting, financial services, law, technology, and other fields, for how you can evolve from an expert for hire -- a commodity -- to an extraordinary adviser. Riveting portraits of both exceptional contemporary professionals and legendary advisers such as Aristotle, Thomas More, Niccolò Machiavelli, and J. P. Morgan reveal how great client relationships are achieved in practice.
Readers will learn, for example, to develop selfless independence, which tempers complete emotional, intellectual, and financial independence with a powerful commitment to client needs; to become deep generalists and overcome the narrow perspective caused by specialization; to systematically build lifelong trust; and to cultivate the power of synthesis -- big-picture thinking -- that is so highly valued by clients.
Acclaimed by leading management thinkers, Clients for Life clearly illustrates the most important attributes and strategies of extraordinary client advisers and shows how you can use them to enrich your own relationships. It provides sophisticated professionals with the tools and insights they need to reap the rewards of lifetime client loyalty.
Whereas most professionals aim to develop long-term relationships with their clients, many find that their clients may treat them more like a one-shot expert-for-hire than that trusted member of the inner circle. Arguing that in today's competitive era, clients are always looking for those who can distinguish themselves from the othersDwhether it is by being available 24 hours a day or by solving a difficult problemDSheth, a marketing professor, and Sobel, a consultant, draw on the insights of the CEOs of such corporations as GE and American Express to present a simple, strategic approach designed for anyone who wants to serve clients better. Even more important than availability and creativity is the consultant's objectivity and ethics, Sheth and Sobel aver. The best consultants always demonstrate they are putting their client's interest foremost and never recommend projects as a means to advance their own objectives or extend their agreements. Furthermore, the authors argue, the most successful consultants don't take on work merely for the money, but because they believe in a product or service and want to maintain a relationship with the client. The authors present their message clearly (highlighting their points in sidebars throughout the text) and understand that clients aren't always perfect; sometimes they want free advice or someone simply to confirm that their established plans are appropriate. One of the best "client-relationship" books published recently, this practical guide offers powerful insights for professional advisers and customers alike.