Becoming a Business Partner: Tip #2 – Establish a Consultative Relationship with Your Client

November 19, 2009

ManagerEmployee_smallHow do we expand our relationships with our clients from “order-takers” to trusted advisors? First, and foremost, we need to begin by changing our mindset that we always need to say “yes” to our clients. When our clients approach us about a specific training need, transition the conversation from solutions to open-ended probing questions, targeted to identify the true performance and business need. After all, what value are we providing to our clients if we provide learning solutions that do not impact their business results?

Try something like this….

“I want to be sure that we provide you a solution that solves your business need. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions so I can fully understand the performance concerns that you have?”

To engage in a consultative interaction, we must think like our clients. Check out the book titled What the CEO Wants You to Know by Ram Charan. This book provides insight into the business acumen necessary for learning professionals to think like their clients and “talk their talk”.

Becoming a trusted advisor doesn’t happen overnight. We must gain credibility and trust with our clients through proven results. Don’t let your relationship with your client to “chance”. Plan how to grow and nurture your relationship. Think of ways to demonstrate the value add you can provide to them. Check out David Nour’s book, Relationship Economics for techniques on how to grow and nurture your client relationships.

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