The Genuine Articles

Building Deep Trust with Clients and Partners

Trust is the faith that others will tell the truth, act in your best interest and reliably deliver the results they promised. It’s the glue that holds partnerships together, whether personal or professional. Whether someone else trusts you isn’t entirely up to you; some clients won’t fully trust you no matter what you do. The vast majority, however, are willing to trust you after you prove yourself. Just doing good work may not be enough. So, what exactly do you do to build trust? Twenty-five years of field observation has … Read More

The Keys to the “Collaboration Kingdom”

We believe that building powerful partnerships are the “keys to the kingdom” when consultants work with clients and customers. Before we can unlock the kingdom gates, however, we need to beware of armed guards, in the form of unconscious perspectives, that often prevent collaborative business relationships. Let’s look at how specific worldviews about collaboration shape relationships. People hold three basic macro perspectives that determine how they see their “tribe” and how they handle relationships with other tribes. The first and the least effective is “egocentric.” People who play from this … Read More

How Acting Powerfully Creates “Powerful Partnerships”

In our last article, we presented the importance of creating a powerful partnership with your clients. What do we mean by the word “powerful” when we talk about powerful partnerships? We use the concept of “powerful” to balance the idea of “partnership”. Partnership is generally thought of as a soft, collaborative approach. In contrast, “powerful” is generally thought of as a strong, assertive approach. Together they provide a perfectly balanced perspective for successful customer and client relationships. The opposite of powerful is when consultants are overly client-focused, giving all of … Read More

The Holy Grail of Consulting: Powerful Partnerships

Do you know the story of the man who lost his keys in his driveway one night? When asked why he was looking for his keys on the front porch he said, “Because that’s where the light is.” In the same way, you and your team may be doing great client work in the light, but you may not be looking in the place where the key to smoother projects and bigger consulting engagements lies. Here’s a question: How can you guarantee fewer escalations, reduced scope creep and less conflicts? … Read More

Hate Selling? Try Doing This Instead

Do you sometimes hate selling? It makes me feel slimy when I have a hidden agenda to sell somebody consulting services. When I try to get clients to buy something I end up subtly trying to manipulate them, and then I feel even worse that I’m not being genuine, not being myself. Can you relate to this? There are whole libraries full of sales books and you’ll find very little about true integrity anywhere. These books dress up manipulation in fancy language and they’re steeped in trickery of one sort … Read More

Four Reasons Clients Reject Your Great Ideas

Every consultant’s been there: You’re ready to present your best recommendations to a client. You’ve got charts, logic, visuals, benefits, a well-thought-out argument, and more. You do your best and put it all out there…and somehow you’re faced with a brick wall. What happened? It’s critical that you’ve done your homework before you present recommendations: You’ve listened well, and understood the client’s short and long-term needs. You’ve learned as much as you can about their business. You’ve verified their criteria for making a decision, and you’ve made sure that you’re … Read More

What Makes Clients Turn Your Direction

If you’ve sold to or consulted with clients, you’ve undoubtedly faced a challenge: explaining to your clients how their needs can be met with your services. We address various kinds of needs in our training course, The Power of Partnership, and many others have written extensively about human needs and how they operate (see for example the works of Abraham Maslow or Frederick Hertzberg). In the world of convincing others, the conventional wisdom is “provide the benefit to fill the need”. But what do you do if your clients believe … Read More

Technical Consultants: How to Move From “Talking Tech” to “Talking Business”

Many otherwise powerful and skillful technical consultants grow pale at the very thought of discussing their clients’ business issues with them. Those consultants can talk all day about the various features and capabilities of their services and products, but they freeze up when the conversation turns away from technology and toward business. Talking business can be intimidating if you’re a consultant who wants to have all the answers and give advice. But here’s the secret: you don’t have to be an expert on a business to talk about it; you … Read More

Why Clients Resist Facts and Logic

The world would be a very different place if your clients lived and communicated in the world of facts. Every conversation would be so easy; it would all be right there on the surface. If a client thought your project was going badly he or she would just tell you straight out the simple facts to make a case. There’d be no blaming, no evasion, no hidden agendas, and no upset feelings. What a dream world! Here’s the way it really works: The truth is that clients, like all of … Read More

Partnership-Based Persuasion

We may convince others by our arguments, but we can only persuade them by their own. -Joseph Joubert The above quote about persuasion was written by a Frenchman in the 1820’s, but of course we humans have tried to persuade each other “by our arguments” well before language was invented. The methods of persuasion in the pre-language times likely weren’t so subtle. On the other hand, think of “The Godfather” saying, “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.” That’s not so subtle either. Come to think of it, I’ve … Read More