Publishers Weekly “Clients for Life” Starred Review
JAGDISH SHETH AND ANDREW SOBEL.
Simon & Schuster, $26 (288p)
* 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 others–whether it is by being available 24 hours a day or by solving a difficult problem–Sheth, 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 consulta nts don’t take on work merely for the money, but because they be-lieve 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. (Sept.)