Consulting customers more often buy complex solutions from people with trust and credibility.
Since August of 2016, Ascendent Leadership and colleagues at Partners International and Discovery Consulting have teamed up to discover what successful consultants consider to be the critical soft skills to generate trust and credibility. They are asking which of 20 commonly accepted consulting best practices rank as the most important in creating authentic advisory relationships. (Original blog article introducing the research.) While the research is continuing, we believe that the interim results are clear and reflect the consulting community. (Top five have been unchanged since we hit about 30 responses. The total number of responses is now approaching one hundred.)
Active Listening was the runaway favorite.
84 percent of respondents rated Active Listening as Critically Important, the top quartile of importance. That was over 30 percentage points higher than the runner up, Asking Powerful Questions.
Here are the results for the top five, ranked by the number of total selections in the top quartile, as a percentage of total responses:Ability
It’s all about discovery!
All of the top five could easily fit under the umbrella term “discovery”:
Ability to establish trust and credibility through their focus and presence
Carrying on on a well-informed conversation about the clients’ business and their underlying success factors
Building on the trust/credibility foundation to discover how the consultant’s value can align with the client’s most compelling opportunities and challenges
When we invest the time to really understand our client before we interact, and continuously during our relationship, and when we …
Bring our best level of customer focus and presence to every interaction, and when we…
Are confident enough to open up with what makes sense to us, and what doesn’t, …
Then we earn our client’s trust and credibility, and …
Very often, their business.