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5 More Aspects to Ensuring You Are Truly a Trusted Business Partner

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Executive Summary.

  1. Respect
  2. Rewarding experience
  3. Economically rewarding
  4. Impact
  5. Referrals

pic andrewAs mentioned last month, an awful lot is written about becoming a trusted advisor or trusted business partner. So how do you really know whether you and your business is a trusted business partner of a particular client or clients? Last month I introduced the first five, which are listed here for reference.


1. Do You Have Access?
2. Do you and your client trust each other to do things without extensive documentation, checks, and controls?
3. Does your client openly share information with you?
4. Does your client confide in you and bounce ideas and decisions off you?
5. Are you the first person the client calls when they need something in your area of expertise?


Below are a further five key indicators to act as stepping stones for you to measure whether you are or aren't a trusted business partner. So how do you rate?

6. Are you treated with respect-like an important advisor?

This is hard to quantify, but you usually will know in your gut if this is the case. I had a client like this. He asked me to help teach his senior partners how to be better trusted advisors to their clients. But ironically, he didn't want a trusted advisor himself-he wanted an arms-length "expert" who would be at his beck and call. I finished the project and moved on.

7. Is working with this client a satisfying, rewarding experience for you and your team?

Some clients just drain you. They are overly-demanding, they check up your every move, and they basically drive you crazy. Sometimes, you're also stuck with a client who is too low in the organization to really appreciate the impact you have. This is not a healthy relationship! Life is too short-if you can't fix a situation like this quickly, you should get out and double-down on more promising clients.

8. Is the relationship economically rewarding for you?

You could have a great personal relationship with a client, but for a variety of reasons be losing money on the work! Sometimes, weak profitability is your fault-you have underestimated the scope of the work or under-priced it. But sometimes it's a sign of a client who knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

9. Are you having an impact and helping to improve your client's business?

In the best relationships, you have a clear and positive impact on the client's organization. You help the client improve their business. If, for whatever reason, this is not happening-it's a warning sign. Are you working on peripheral issues that are not really important to the client? Are you stuck too far down in the organization? Is the client ignoring your recommendations?

10. Is your client referring you to friends, colleagues, and other organisations that could use your expertise?

You could argue that active word-of-mouth referrals are the ultimate sign of a good relationship. (Indeed, Fred Reicheld of Bain & Company wrote a book called The Ultimate Question 2.0, about exactly this idea). Are you getting referrals? Would your client give them to you if asked? How enthusiastically would your client recommend you? A testimonial is one thing-it's passive-but an active referral is a sign of a very different level of satisfaction and delight with your services!

So here then is the list of the top ten questions to ask yourself;

  1. Do You Have Access?
  2. Do you and your client trust each other to do things without extensive documentation, checks, and controls?
  3. Does your client openly share information with you?
  4. Does your client confide in you and bounce ideas and decisions off you?
  5. Are you the first person the client calls when they need something in your area of expertise?
  6. Are you treated with respect-like an important advisor?
  7. Is working with this client a satisfying, rewarding experience for you and your team?
  8. Is the relationship economically rewarding for you?
  9. Are you having an impact and helping to improve your client's business?
  10. Is your client referring you to friends, colleagues, and other organisations that could use your expertise?

 

Andrew Clare is Managing Partner of reLiance a business to business relationship marketing practice. I focus on improving client profitability through developing, implementing and measuring sustainable, collaborative business to business relationships.

Cell: +27 83 326 2451, E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Web: www.rassa.co.za, LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/andrewclare

 

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