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Clients for Life: Evolving from an Expert-for-Hire to an Extraordinary Adviser Paperback – March 12, 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Whereas most professionals aim to develop long-term relationships with their clients, many find that their clients may treat them more like a one-shot expert-for-hire than that trusted member of the inner circle. Arguing that in today's competitive era, clients are always looking for those who can distinguish themselves from the othersDwhether it is by being available 24 hours a day or by solving a difficult problemDSheth, a marketing professor, and Sobel, a consultant, draw on the insights of the CEOs of such corporations as GE and American Express to present a simple, strategic approach designed for anyone who wants to serve clients better. Even more important than availability and creativity is the consultant's objectivity and ethics, Sheth and Sobel aver. The best consultants always demonstrate they are putting their client's interest foremost and never recommend projects as a means to advance their own objectives or extend their agreements. Furthermore, the authors argue, the most successful consultants don't take on work merely for the money, but because they believe in a product or service and want to maintain a relationship with the client. The authors present their message clearly (highlighting their points in sidebars throughout the text) and understand that clients aren't always perfect; sometimes they want free advice or someone simply to confirm that their established plans are appropriate. One of the best "client-relationship" books published recently, this practical guide offers powerful insights for professional advisers and customers alike.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

USA Today Everything you ever wanted to know about being the perfect consultant is in Clients for Life...valuable for the most seasoned advisor, whether a lawyer, an accountant, or marketing professional.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; Reprint edition (March 12, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684870304
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684870304
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Every professional I know feels uncomfortable about the fact that at some point in the future they see no revenues coming in, after current assignments and contracts are completed. In private discussions, many professionals have told me how deeply they ache for the security of having long-term client relationships. Many find it difficult to attract new clients, don't enjoy that role, and know that it is time-consuming and costly.
Anyone who feels that way should definitely read this book. Primarily drawn from the experiences of the authors and of top advisors they interviewed, the answers ring true for me. Having been a management consultant for 30 of the past 33 years, all of my long-term relationships had the qualities described here.
The book outlines the characteristics that clients are typically looking for. These include:
Balancing detachment and dedication to the client's cause to act in selfless ways (you are especially warned against the 45 minute hard sell for the next assignment at the end of the current one.
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Format: Hardcover
Don Mitchell's review is first-rate. I agree completely with his reasons for praising this book, and, I agree completely with his (and Drucker's) comments about so-called "lifelong relationships." If you are looking for some rock-solid advice to achieve "breakthrough" relationships with clients, Sheth and Sobel provide it. But as Mitchell and Drucker correctly point out, it is possible but highly unlikely that those relationships can be sustained indefinitely, especially now when change is the only constant and occurs at ever-increasing velocity. Give careful thought to the word "breakthrough" because it has so many relevancies to today's competitive marketplace. When in pursuit of a prospective client, first you have to break through clutter to become visible; then you have to break through other clutter to differentiate yourself from the competition; then overcome other clutter to begin the new relationship; finally, you have to break through still more clutter to sustain that relationship. (Think about juggling handgrenades in a minefield at 2 AM...during an electrical storm...while wearing a blindfold.) Sheth and Sobel offer a wealth of information as well as sound guidance. Much of what they share can also help with the formulation of customer recapture strategies. But take no one and nothing for granted. The "life" of a customer relationship should not be measured in terms of years; rather, in terms of how effectively you nourish that relationship while you have it.
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Format: Paperback
I am responsible for managing large corporate accounts, and this book has dramatically changed my perspectives in terms of how I view my role with clients.In Clients for Life, the authors have succeeded brilliantly at a difficult task: defining the essence of long-term, value-added relationships and the characteristics of professionals who succeed in developing them. This is by far the best and most sophisticated book I have read on the subject of client relationships. It is genuinely insightful, beautifully written, and full of entertaining, relevant anecdotes about working with and advising clients. Sheth and Sobel organize the book around the key attributes of professionals who are able to become great advisors to their clients and develop lifetime relationships with them. They describe these qualities with depth and freshness, and their model rings true. Many people talk about "big picture thinking," for example, or "integrity," but the authors actually define these things in a meaningful way and clearly demonstrate how you can improve yourself. Each chapter profiles a famous historical advisor who was especially skilled at dealing with clients. Much of what I have read on client relationship management has tended to be either simplistic and focused on "techniques" or else overly academic. Clients for Life, in contrast, is a breezy read yet very rich and thoughtful in its approach-it'll make you think hard about your own personal and professional development. I highly recommend this book to anyone who manages clients (corporations or individuals, for that matter) or large customer relationships.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a consultant, this book helped me focus on behaviors aimed at building a long-term practice rather than simply going from success-to-success. I say this not to toot my own horn (yes, I've had failures too) but rather because most decent consultants actually do OK--clients are generally happy. We appear to succeed on a regular basis. The great consultants, however, are the ones who build vocal followings...and that's where the value of this work rests.
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