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#485: Are You and Your Client Headed For Trouble?

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, January 21, 2011
Updated: Friday, January 21, 2011
I get along great with most of my clients, but I occasionally have some that I never seem to sync with. A few years ago I had a client I really didn't like, either as a person or a client, even though her staff loved her. What gives?

Is this any different for clients than with other people you associate with? It may seem so because people we associate with in social settings are usually preselected because they share a common interest or lifecycle stage. We associate with clients because they come to us for professional advice and don't always share their philosophy or approach to management.

The first step is to know who you are. Look at your MBTI, Harrison, Prevue, DISC, or other personality profile to understand your interests, inclinations and style. Recognize that your approach to communication, tolerance for risk, willfulness, and so forth will affect how you relate to corresponding aspects of your clients.

Next, understand your client, both as an individual and in his or her business setting. Are your profiles compatible, complementary, or somewhere in between? This is something we rarely do but it is critical to understanding how to most effectively work with and make recommendations to a client. See what you can do to adapt to your client's profile in ways that do not compromise your professional services.

Tip: Recognize that your job is not to get a new best friend. It is to provide professional advice in an objective and independent manner. If your conflicting personal styles interfere with your ability to be objective, you are obliged to withdraw from the engagement.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client relations  communication  consultant role  customer understanding  ethics 

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Michael E. Cohen CMC MBA says...
Posted Tuesday, January 25, 2011
I see suggestions about walking away from an engagement in a lot of IMC literature. It's naive. More on this later.
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