As you know, I love reading. One of my favorite books is Clients for Life: Evolving from an Expert-for-Hire to an Extraordinary Adviser by Jagdish Sheth and Andrew Sobel. I read the book many years ago and still find it valuable. I urge you to read it. In this post I will share just one of the gems from the book.

Sheth and Sobel ask and attempt to answer why some highly skilled professionals have the opportunity to serve more clients than they have time to serve and other highly skilled professionals wish their phone would ring. Working hard, being a highly skilled lawyer and consistently providing high quality work is the price of admission to get into the arena, but it is not the only thing that makes the difference.

Sheth and Sobel provide readers with comments from corporate leaders on their most important advisors and the role of empathy:

  • The good advisor listens with the heart as well as the head.
  • The really empathetic professionals listen to what I mean, not what I say.
  • A session with a good advisor is a discussion, not a lecture.
  • The people I am comfortable going back to time after time…they are the ones who think about my needs and how to address them, not about the project they want to sell me.
  • The professionals I deal with must be genuinely interested in my issues and problems.
  • The advisor must know how to contextualize recommendations, making them both relevant to my company’s unique problems and understandable to my executives and me.
  • The truly great advisors gain a deep understanding of my industry, of my organization, and, most important, of me as an executive and as a person-that’s when a long term relationship develops.

I assure you that you will find many other great ideas in the book. When you read it, highlight and ask yourself how you can apply the suggestions in your own practice. I would love to hear your ideas and I promise I will respond.

If you find the book valuable, consider also reading Sobel’s book Making Rain: The Secrets of Building Lifelong Client Loyalty.

P.S. If you would like me to make more suggestions of books to read, let me know and share with me topics you would find valuable.