One of our favorite things to do at iModerate is to learn something new. So we decided to come together and form a book club to keep us up-to-date on industry topics such as the latest trends in market research and improving client management skills. Last month we read Clients for Life written by Jagdish Sheth and Andrew Sobel. Clients for Life takes a detailed look at how to cultivate lasting business relationships and become a trusted advisor. The authors draw from the lessons learned from hundreds of CEOs, managers, special advisors, philosophers and historical figures. Using a combination of anecdotes and extensive data collected from interviews, the authors lay out a series of guiding principles and personal attributes to elevate business relationships.
It was such a great read, that three of my colleagues decided to write a bit about their favorite parts…
Alexis Siegle, Project Manager
While I was surprised at how pertinent each chapter was to several aspects of both my personal and professional life, the key takeaway for me was balance. Each theory referenced in the book made me think about what I can do to improve my relationships. The authors encourage incorporating the best of both sides of the spectrum. For instance, having specific knowledge about your industry while also developing a wider breadth of knowledge that will allow you to “see the forest through the trees.” The key is balancing and being able to use your specialized knowledge to ask the right questions, while also being able to see the big picture and think creatively about other aspects of the business.
Nathan Fielder, Jr. Project Manager
The part of Clients for Life I enjoyed the most discussed how generating fluid relationships is the difference between successful and unsuccessful outcomes. The book advises that business relationships between both the client and the advisor is not something that should be taken for granted. Business relationships, at least the most successful ones, are adaptive and responsive to elements of influence that dictate major decisions. The willingness to break down both emotional and personal barriers helps to enable deeper fields of trust, setting the foreground for creativity and innovative solutions. This point is further illustrated by many historical examples of successful relationships, proving that the principles outlined in the book have endured the test of time.
Taryn Lindfors, Lead Specialist
I think the authors, Jagdish Sheth and Andrew Sobel, were able to effectively relate to the reader’s personal and professional life. One particular chapter showcases how having firm convictions in your professional life will encourage clients to put their trust in you. The example references a time when General George Marshall stood up to President Roosevelt because he did not agree with his plan regarding the war with Germany. My take away from this chapter is that if you want to be viewed as an asset and an “extraordinary advisor” by your clients you must first decide what your convictions are and stand by them even when it is not the easy choice. In the case portrayed in the book – instead of being fired for going against the president, George Marshall was rewarded for his strong conviction and later became Secretary of State.
Did you read Clients for Life? We’d love to get your thoughts and impressions.