FirmChecker’s Co-Founder, Ben Farrow, recently interviewed Jon Huxley, Director at The Business of Trust and a Partner at Beaton.
Jon Huxley is a director at The Business of Trust and a partner at Beaton. He is renowned for his insightful commentary on the importance of trust, mindset and culture in business success. Jon’s experience spans senior roles in consumer brands, banking and professional services, which has included stints PwC, ANZ, BECA and what is now Heineken. He blends data and common sense to provide effective, evidence-backed strategies to grow your business.
On the key to strengthening client relationships
Jon outlines that the key to strengthening client relationships is being responsive, reliable and easy to do business with. “Research tells us that. But also we have common sense that tells us that. As consumers when you invite a plumber… to your home, you do so because you trust (they) will be reliable, responsive. Will make a promise, i.e. a quote, and keep to that promise. All those simple things we take as read as consumers or take as frustrations when it doesn’t work for us as consumers applies equally in a professional services environment.”
On what many firms are doing wrong in managing client relationships
It is commonplace in the professional services industry for the focus on technical expertise to overshadow basic principles of client service.
Jon explains, “this comes back to a conditioning that happens at the education process… There is very scant regard paid to the business of communication, to the business of building relationships… and managing a client relationship. The unintended consequence is ‘what will differentiate you as a lawyer or accountant… is what you do, your technical, your professional, your credibility, the stuff between your ears.’ But actually, it won’t. It’s not just what you do, it’s how you do it. One of the ways of differentiating is through the skills, the behaviors and the mindset of your people. How they go about building relationships and offering a better experience to your clients.”
On what firms should be doing
Jon outlines that when he coaches businesses, the focus isn’t just on skills and processes. “Building trust and building better relationships with clients is as much about a mindset as it is about skills.”
“Mindset can start with, rather than ‘I want to sell something to that client’. The mindset we would encourage is, ‘I am curious about that client, I want to find out more about that client, I want to give something to that client free of charge potentially,’ so they feel like I am invested in them, as opposed to, ‘I want to sell them something.”
On managing client relationships through Covid
“What’s been really encouraging about Covid-19, is a proliferation of this kind of activity. Developing insights, sharing views, sharing information with clients free of charge. I think that’s great. If we do return to a more normal situation, you’d never want your client to say, ‘we preferred life in Covid. You gave us some stuff free of charge, you showed interest in our business. You came to us virtually to ask questions like ‘how are you, what’s going on’ and now that we are back to normal life we’re not happy again.’ So continuing what you’ve already done in the last 3 or 4, 6, 7 weeks is probably a really good thing to think about for a number of firms.”
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