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Clients for Life: Evolving from an Expert-for-Hire to an Extraordinary Adviser

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2007

    How to Become a Distinguished Advisor

    Jagdish Sheth and Andrew Sobel convincingly retrace in Clients for Life the journey that professionals can make to become extraordinary advisers to some of their clients. Their findings are based not only on their personal experience, but perhaps more importantly, on in-depth interviews with leaders of major corporations who have gained significant experience in buying services and seeking advice from professionals. Sheth and Sobel make a distinction among expert for hire, steady supplier, and extraordinary adviser on the professional services continuum. Some professionals are sought-after advisers instead of being just an expert for hire who offers his expertise on a transactional basis or a steady supplier who despite his repeated engagements has not been admitted to the inner circle of close advisers. Sheth and Sobel call this broad-based, abiding client relationship which generates collaboration and insight a breakthrough relationship. Sheth and Sobel have isolated seven attributes that great professionals successfully develop and integrate into a powerful whole to come to a breakthrough relationship with a client. At the bottom of the pyramid, there are selfless independence (meeting clients¿ needs while preserving integrity) and empathy. Knowledge depth and breadth, synthesis, and judgment represent the thinking process that is expected from an extraordinary adviser. Finally, at the top of the pyramid, there are integrity and conviction that make up the character expected from such an extraordinary adviser. Sheth and Sobel illustrate each attribute with examples that help the practitioner put their recommendations into practice. Great professionals have to infuse everything they do with a soul of abundance (doing the right thing regardless of monetary outcome), mission, and self-renewal. Sheth and Sobel conclude their examination of breakthrough relationships with the pitfalls and dilemmas in client relationships. Not all clients are open to this type of relationship.

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