David H. Maister, Charles H. Green, Robert M. Galford


The primary audience for The Trusted Advisor by David H. Maister, Charles H. Green and Robert M. Galford is consultants but the lessons included in the book make sense for anyone in the  business world who wants to create stronger relationships with clients. The authors are all professional advisors and they include many of their own experiences and lessons learned in the book.

The authors provide insight into some basic skills that can be used to become a truly "trusted advisor". There is solid advice on how to earn the trust of clients and tips on how to build relationships. There are a few places where the authors try a bit too hard to ground some of their recommendations in hard numbers. The development of mathematical formulas and a "trust factor" seem unnecessary. You can easily skip over these sections if they don't appeal.

One area that will hit home for many business people is the blurring of sales and service. The authors say: "Most advisors are a little uncomfortable with overt selling. They would like to believe that the quality of their work speaks for itself, that the need for their services is self-evident to the client and that it is therefore unnecessary to belabour the obvious in selling…However, if we think of the task not as selling ('How do I push what've we got'), but as getting hired ('How do I convince this person to put his or her trust in me?'), then the required activities become a great deal clearer."

Strong client relationships make sense for all involved: you, your company, the client. The authors outline some solid guidelines for managing relationships with clients that would be welcome in any business. Such suggestions as:

  • "Stay in touch"
  • "Keep the client's best interest at heart"
  • Maintain a "consistency of service and attentiveness" from everyone who serves a client

Like many how-to books, much of what the authors present is common sense, yet it never hurts to have all the information in one place. It's also a good reminder for those of us who know what we should do (listen more, talk less for example), but slide back into old habits.  The Trusted Advisor is recommended reading. You're sure to learn something very useful.

To learn more about this subject, visit the authors' website.

This book review was written by Helen Latimer.

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