Want honest client feedback? Change what you’re asking.

Andrea Howe
Category : Weekly tips April 17, 2018

This post is part of our Weekly Tips series.

I learned something from a recent experience at a luxury hotel chain about how not to ask for feedback if you really want feedback. It occurs to me that the lesson applies to anyone who would benefit from honest customer input.

How to do this “trust-building stuff” without appearing weak

Andrea Howe
Category : Weekly tips April 9, 2018

This post is part of our Weekly Tips series.

I once led a day-long program on trust-based selling to 26 men and women at a global market intelligence firm. We were knee-deep in a conversation about empathetic listening as a primary driver of influence. One of the women—a strong and articulate leader—pulled me aside to ask a question that got me thinking about a serious issue that faces anyone in a leadership role.

How and why to stop “feeling badly” about stuff

Andrea Howe
Category : Weekly tips April 2, 2018

This post is part of our Weekly Tips series.

Within a matter of days, I had two different colleagues tell me how badly they each felt about decisions they made that impacted me. My reaction to their well-intended missives taught me an important lesson about why saying you “feel badly” is a waste of everyone’s time. It also helped me get clear about an alternative—and much more trustworthy—approach.

When it comes to sharing personal stuff … how much is too much?

Andrea Howe
Category : Weekly tips March 19, 2018

This post is part of our Weekly Tips series.

I’ve recently had to deal with some challenging personal circumstances and therefore decide how much was appropriate to share with clients about it. I learned something important from sorting that out that I’m opting to share with you, especially because we get this question so many times in our workshops when we beat the “trust is personal” drum: where do you draw the line between personal and private? I’ll answer that here.

Why aren’t you inviting clients to do this?

Andrea Howe
Category : Weekly tips March 13, 2018

This post is part of our Weekly Tips series.

Last week, I shared insights gained in the process of collecting client feedback on behalf of one of my clients. That got me thinking: have you asked your clients for feedback lately?

I don’t mean sending your clients a survey about how the last project went. I mean crazy high-touch stuff like flying them to your next off-site and having them actually talk with you in real-time—panel-style or more informally—about your relationship. Or slightly less crazy but still high touch: having a conversation in real-time about your relationship.

Why “follow their lead” is bad advice

Andrea Howe
Category : Weekly tips March 6, 2018

This post is part of our Weekly Tips series.

Most of you know by now that I’m a debunk-er of conventional business wisdom, at least when it comes to managing relationships. My latest target: the advice we get to “follow their lead” (“they” being clients). When it comes to trust-building, this can be a really bad idea.

Reach for this phrase in a tense conversation

Andrea Howe
Category : Weekly tips February 27, 2018

This post is part of our Weekly Tips series.

A colleague called to vent last week about her frustration with a client. Our discussion reminded me of a three-word phrase that I wish I remembered to use more often when I’m frustrated, annoyed, aggravated, etc.—in other words, when I’m triggered.

An alternative to the pretense of our conversations

Andrea Howe
Category : Weekly tips February 26, 2018

This post is part of our Weekly Tips series.


It’s been an unexpectedly challenging week, so I hope you don’t mind a reprise of a tip from November 2015—with a little extra added on. It’s funny with a poignant message about trust-building, which to me is a great combo.

Consider taking one minute and 23 seconds to (re)watch the skit called Honest Road Rage, produced by the sketch comedy troupe Collective Noun.

Hugging your client: yay or nay?

Andrea Howe
Category : Weekly tips February 12, 2018

This post is part of our Weekly Tips series.

Have you ever had an awkward moment greeting a client, where the unspoken question for both of you was, “Should we hug?” While this question might seem silly (or even unprofessional) on the surface, don’t bail on me just yet. I think it actually gets to the heart of some important trust-related issues. Over the years I’ve discovered four simple guidelines that help me sort out the right answer.

“Should we break up?”

Andrea Howe
Category : Weekly tips February 5, 2018

This post is part of our Weekly Tips series.

I was leading a working session for an account team the other week. A question came up that often does when consultants are struggling with a particularly challenging client: Does an aspiring trusted advisor ever walk away from a client relationship? I thought I had a pretty good answer. Then someone in the group chimed in with an even better one.


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