Your client wants your advice.... but more than that they want you to think for themselves
Your client wants youradvice – but more thanthat they want to thinkfor themselvesGEOFF HARDYBASED ON MY BLOG – DISCUSSIONS ON LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT
Listening is the ultimate core competence says Tom Peters The topic must be back in fashion – I have read two articles in the last month on listening; as well as the three chapters from Tom in The Little Big Things The material came to mind a week or so ago. A member of staff at a client site joked - the problem with you people is that you only tell us what we already know If only that was the case. I suspect most consultants, or professional people, do not have these skills It is quite an art to draw out what the client already knows; to let them think things through and offer an environment for them to do this.Photo credit: Wikipedia
The problem I suppose the difficultly stems from being an expert. Aftercomes from all, you are being paid to tell it as you see itbeing an A colleague once told me the solution in the car on the way to a new client meeting – he carried his theories and ideasexpert from one assignment to another not acknowledging that each situation is totally different Years ago I read a book by Nancy Kline on listening and not making assumptions. It is a great book. For months IHowever, in sat in meetings observing people and wondering why people bothered attending if they had already made theirany client mind upmeeting there In her second book, More Time to Think, Kline says that in any client meeting there are two expertsare two There is the professional person, who may have knowledgeexperts that is financial, technical, legal…. Then there is the client, who knows their company and the issues.
Kline writes that clients want to be asked They want to be listened to impeccablyClients want to They want to think for themselvesthink for How easier it would be for consultants to play back whatthemselves the customer already knows if they create the environment for the client to do this - then listen very carefully and seek to fully understand but it is not natural though for an expert to do this The bottom line is this- Professionals who realise that there are two experts in the room and lead clients to develop their own solutions will be called back again The reason is that the outcome or plan will have so much more value and commitment.
Check List Before Seeing a ClientRemember DoBeing a Thinking Environment for your client is valuable Get interested in what your client thinks and will say nextexpertise Don’t interrupt or rush them to speakYour client wants your advice – but more than that they wantto think for themselves Keep your eyes on their eyesThey want to be listened to without interruption Ask them what more they think, or feel, or want to sayThe value you offer your client increases with every minute Regard them as your equal.you listen to themYour clients thinking will improve yoursYour relationship with your client is a partnership, not aperformanceYou are both the expert