The way that clients approach you tells you everything you need to know about the service they expect. More importantly it tells you a lot about the quality of the relationship they are looking for.
“We’d like to do this. We need your help. Can you do this work for me?”
This enquiry is so very transactional. No mention of the relationship. You are the supplier. End of. Don’t expect a long-term premium relationship. There’s a job to be done and they think you can do it. Then you’ll be out on your backside. This is the position of consultant/supplier. Your service has been commoditised and you will probably end up competing on price.
“We want to do this. How do you think we should do it?
This is the role of the Trusted Advisor. Read anything by David Maister if you want to know about this position. Clearly it is far more desirable than the opening one. There is a relationship here and it goes beyond the simple transaction. Trusted Advisor is a much better position than simple consultant/supplier. You are no longer competing on price.
“We’ve been thinking about doing this. Can we have your opinion? Do you think we should do it and if so, how?”
This is the position of Trusted or Wise Counsel. This, in my opinion, is the best position. You are no longer exchanging time for money. The offering goes way beyond selling a simple transaction. Your opinion is valued to such an extent that you have become part of the client’s decision-making process. You are on the inside and are influencing the process. For my money this is where you want to be.
My experience tells me that you can add the most value in the role of trusted counsel. It is a very special place to be. We find that if clients simply want to buy our service for the short-term transactional value (as consultant/supplier) then the relationship will not work. That is not what The Directors’ Centre is about.
Do you simply want transactional relationship with your clients?
Can you see the benefit in moving to a trusted advisor or counsel role and how might you do that?
What would the benefits to the client be if you were in the role of trusted advisor or counsel?
If you want to stop selling a commodity and stop competing on price then the trusted advisor/counsel is the way out.