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Moving from Trusted Advisor to Trusted Partner Relationships Part 2

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Executive Summary.

  1. Transforming client relationships, why it’s important.
  2. The second five steps to attaining trusted partner status.
  3. The Trusted Partner Model

Transforming Your Client Relationships

In a recent article I addressed the topic of why developing a relationship based on trust is so important, all the more so in the B2B space. But it’s a whole lot more important than one may think. Reason being that developing a relationship based on trusted advisor status is all well and good if you are the only person dealing with a client.

Achieving Trusted Partner Status

In my first part of this two part article, I covered the first five strategies, which are driven by the relationship manager. Just to recap these where;

  1. From agenda reacting to agenda setting.
  2. From networking to building relationship capital.
  3. From selling to executive engagement.
  4. From individual to institutional relationships.
  5. From core value to multiple layers of value.

Now, I’m covering the second five, which must be driven mainly by the company as a whole.

From opportunism to strategic client targeting. High-impact client relationships develop when you are working with the right client, the right executive, and the right issue. Saying no becomes as important as saying yes. Ralph Shrader, Chairman and CEO of Booz Allen Hamilton, put it this way: “Trusted partnerships

begin with a senior client who is highly ambitious and sees himself on a bigger stage. You become a partner in helping him to achieve his goals.”

From ad-hoc professional development to a client leadership pipeline. You cannot hire young professionals and hope that someday they will magically become capable of managing CEO relationships! The best organizations invest in a systematic development pipeline to develop and support their client-facing


From individual silos to collaborative effort. A collaborative, one for all and all for one culture is the foundation on which you build trusted client partnerships. Individual, disconnected experts, who work in silos will never achieve this. Silocitis, a common organisational malaise has to be destroyed to allow a collaborative, client centric view to permeate.

From market research to multi-level client listening. Firms that consistently build these large, institutional relationships use five different channels to tune into their clients—informal, ad-hoc feedback is insufficient. These include an independent review process, CEO to CEO meetings, and client forums to gain a 360 degree view of their key relationships.

From consistent delivery to a unique client experience. Many firms say they offer a unique client experience, but clients don’t often perceive it as such. In the future, the ability to add more value during client interactions while increasing “ease of use” will be essential. Leading services firms accomplish this, for example, by increasing transparency, augmenting dialogue, allowing clients to define their desired

relationship experience, and changing the physical relationship experience environment.

Reference: This article draws on information from All for One, published in 2009.


Reference: This article draws on information from All for One, 2009.

Andrew Clare is Managing Partner of reLiance a business to business relationship marketing practice. We focus on improving client profitability through developing, implementing and measuring sustainable, collaborative business to business relationships.  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it www.rassa.co.za www.linkedin.com/in/andrewclare


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