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4.3 out of 5 stars23
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 2 August 2013
David Maister has previously written a superb book on Managing the Professional Services Firm, which I would recommend to any manager of service based organisations. The Trusted Advisor is geared to management consultants and is perhaps more suited to independent self-employed consultants. It provides most of what you need to remember in developing long-lasting trust-based relationships. Key tips that resonated with me included: Your job is not to solve, but to help the client to solve his problems; Create the dialogue that leads to the advice; You cannot simply offer advice in a blunt fashion, you sometimes need an emotional context; Don't assume total personal responsibility either for achievements or for failure.
No particular gripes with this book, it will now become one of my regular health-checks.
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This is a most useful book on how the professional adviser must act if they are to secure and retain the trust of their clients. It avoids the Dale Carnegie "Just Be Nice" approach by analysing why one wants to generate trust and how it is done. There is no argument that if you find you do not like a potential client you should walk away (and, speaking from personal experience what a joy that is); there are also some handy suggestions of how to do this if you are not a free agent in such a case but working within an organisation.

The proposed responses are, of course, written by and for Americans and come over as deeply insincere in the mouths of the British, but they are not scripts but proposals. You can easily adapt them to different cultures because, however it is expressed, the basis of trust is the basically same in most cultures.

The book acts as a valuable specific to those that suggest various up-selling strategies or ones in which the advisor portrays himself as The Top Man. By shifting one's vision to how this is perceived by the recipient we can see that up-selling can work, but only if the client leads you to it. The book's key is in constantly restating our approaches in terms of how they are perceived by the potential client, not how they address our internal needs and aims. It is a policy that I've found pays dividends.

Recommended.
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on 3 June 2003
The Trusted Advisor was on a recommended reading list for the ISEB exam in IS Consultancy. I brought this book to help me with my studies, but have also found it very useful in everyday life. It reopens your eyes into how you should conduct yourself every day to gain peoples / customers trust. Each section has a set of bullet points relating to it for easy reference. The content would work for business employees and consultants.
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on 20 August 2015
Trusted Advisor provides advice for people in consulting roles for building trusting relationships with clients. The book uses stories based on experience, as well short bullet points to help absorb the key points. The book is split up into different chapters, based on different phases in a relationship and how each phase can be tackled.

Trusted Advisor offers some small pieces of advice that anyone could use in their daily interactions with others, but the rest of the content is mostly relevant only to consultants with very close relationships with their clients. The authors could do better to try boil down their advice to smaller key elements, as opposed to the large amount of bullet points each chapter. This would make the information easier to retain.

Overall some good information that consultants will find useful, but somewhat poorly conveyed.
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on 8 February 2007
The key theme for the book, the Trust Equation is actually in the middle of the book. The first part of the book leads up to it by framing the issue of trust and what a trusted adviser is. The second part, starting with the Trust Equation gives some structure to the challenge of building trust whilst the third part is all about putting trust to work.

It contain loads of tips and ideas to help anyone who needs or wants to become a "trusted adviser" and it will be of particular interest to lawyers, accountants, account managers, consultants, tax advisers, business coaches etc. -- anyone in a long term relationship with a client.

A really good book -- but I didn't actually finish it, partly because I had got enough out of it, and also partly because the format seemed a bit repetetive. Well worth the money spent though!
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on 19 November 2012
I run my own training and communications consultancy which is focused on employers getting more from their people. Building a trusting environment is key to this and The Trusted Advisor provides the most practical framework for doing so. Building trust is clearly an emotional thing and this book gives you lots of practical advice about how to go about doing so in a clear and understandable way. Thoroughly recommended for anyone who wants to get more from their relationships in business.
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on 23 August 2011
If you would map out the four types of possible business relationships following 2 parameters (breath of business issues and depth of personal relationships) you would notice that trust-based relationships goes the deepest (followed by relationship-based, needs-based and service offering-based relationships, in descending order).

This work covers trust-based relationships in a very systematic way, works out a trust process-model and illustrates on how making it work. The trust process-model with 5 stages (engage, listen, frame, envision and commit) is nicely explained and illustrated. Most of it will sound very familiar; still this work gives it a nice context and the overall structure of this book makes it a very pleasant read.

Part 1 - Perspectives on trust
Part 2 - The structure of trust building
Part 3 - Putting trust to work

If you would just scan through the contents of this book, it would give you a good idea of the added value. A very interesting read!

Contents
Introduction
How to use this book

Part 1 - Perspectives on trust
1) A sneak preview: What would be the benefits if your clients trusted you more? What are the primary characteristics of a trusted advisor?
2) What is a Trusted Advisor? (What do great trusted advisors all seem to do?)
3) Earning Trust (What are the dynamics of trusting and being trusted?)
4) How to give advice (How do you ensure your advice is listened to?)
5) The rules of Romance: Relationship building (What are the principles of building strong relationships?)
6) The importance of mindsets (What attitude must you have to be effective?)
7) Sincerity or technique? (Do you really have to care for those you advise?)

Part 2 - The structure of trust building
8) The trust equation (What are the four key components that determine the extent of trust?)
9) The development of trust (What are the 5 stages of trust-building?)
10) Engagement (How do you get clients to initiate discussions with you?)
11) The art of listening (How can you improve your listening skills?)
12) Framing the issue (How can you help clients look at their issues in a fresh way?)
13) Envisioning an alternate reality (How can you help clients clarify what they're really after?)
14) Commitment(How do you ensure clients are willing to do what it takes to solve their problems?)

Part 3 - Putting trust to work
15) What's so hard about all this? (Why are truly trust-based relationships so scarce?)
16) Different client types (How do you deal with clients of differing types?)
17) The Lieutenant Columbo approach (What can we learn from an unorthodox winner?)
18) The role of trust in getting hired (How do you create trust at the outset of a relationship?)
19) Building trust on the current assignment (How can you conduct your assignment in a way that adds to trust?)
20) Re-earning trust away from the current assignment (How can we build trust when you're not working on an assignment?)
21) The case of cross-selling (Why is cross-selling so hard, and what can be done about it?)
22) The Quick-impact list to gain trust (What are the key things you should do first?)

Appendix: A compilation of our lists
Notes and references
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on 5 November 2008
Service excellence comes in many shapes and forms. The essence of the service concept is a relationship with the customer that goes above and beyond their expectations or the market norm. David Maister has introduced the nuts and bolts of building such a relationship in The Trusted Advisor.
He looks at the concept of getting closer to customers from an interpersonal point of view as well as a highly practical point of view.
His strength is in bringing to life concepts that could be handled clumsily in a very easy and relevant read.
My particular favourite is chapter 17, the Lieutenant Columbo Approach. Whilst time goes by and many are not familiar with this icon of American television, for those of us that grew up with Columbo, his less than immaculate dress sense, remnants of a cigar and slightly tilted gestures there is an unmistakable empathy with Maister's presentation of the character's genius. Columbo effectively made the bad guy trip himself up with a seemingly naive curiosity in his questioning style, lulling the alleged criminal into a state of openness; an honesty that would eventually prove to be their downfall.
Without doubt, a fantastic read and 'how-to' book on getting close to your most important focal point, your customers, and turning the relationship from transactional into transformational, from merely being a 'supplier' to a trusted advisor.
It remains a 'best-seller' amongst our customers who consistently rate it as one of their favourites.
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on 30 March 2014
I am an internal advisor so purchased the book to see what I could learn from it. Found it immensely valuable in its treatment of the role of giving advice as an outsider - have employed some of the techniques successfully
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on 28 February 2013
This is a cult book that is slowly but surely enhancing the way professional service teams work with their clients one conversation at a time. I refer to this constantly and it is excellent.
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