10 of the best books to help improve your client relationships

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We all know that every successful business relies on happy customers. If you want your own company to survive and thrive, you'll naturally want to make client management a priority.

But how do you keep clients happy? What are the key things to remember when servicing the people who rely on you? The following top 10 books will offer some learning and support when it comes to effective client management.

Add these to your reading list and you'll benefit from happier, more loyal customers who keep coming back for more, and are more likely recommend you to others.

1. Managing The Professional Service Firm by David H. Maister

Drawing on more than 10 years of research and consulting, David H. Maister explores issues ranging from marketing and business development to effective leadership – all with the focus on helping you to deliver outstanding service to your clients and becoming a successful firm.

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2. All for One: 10 Strategies for Building Trusted Client Partnerships by Andrew Sobel

Clients are demanding more value from their external advisors, and consolidating their business around a number of small firms. These trends are forcing a variety of consultants, such as yourself, to confront new challenges: how do you become a trusted advisor and build a long-term relationship? How do you create an all-for-one, one-for-all culture in which the whole is greater than the sum-of-the-parts? All for One answers these questions and more, helping you to develop enduring, institutional client relationships that last.

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3. What Clients Really Want (And The S**t That Drives Them Crazy) by Chantell Glenville

This essential insider's guide is for advertising agencies and how account management can create create client/agency relationships. But if you're just a freelancer, the lessons in this book will also help enormously. Sharing simple actions that you can take today to generate great relationships with your clients and practical day-to-day advice on how to master positive relationship building behaviours.

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4. The Art of Client Service by Robert Solomon

The Art of Client Service is a practical guide for providing exceptional client service. Written by one of the industry's most knowledgeable client services executives, the book begins with a definition, then follows a path from an initial new business win to beginning, building, losing, then regaining trust with clients. Powerful for those new to business or industry veterans who want to refresh or validate what they already know.

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5. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Millions of people around the world have improved their lives based on the teachings of Dale Carnegie. In his classic book, you can too – and you'll find it helps enormously with fostering healthy client relationships. His advice will help you to increase your likability, become a better speaker and boost enthusiasm among your customers.

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6. Financial Times Guides: Business Development – How to Win Profitable Customers and Clients

This very helpful book, courtesy of the Financial Times, covers all the tips, tools, techniques and Q&As you'll ever need when it comes to winning new clients. It will also show you how to work more effectively with the customers or clients you already have, and show you ways to generate more profit. A must for your bookshelf.

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7. Effective Client Management in Professional Services: How to Build Successful Client Relationships by Jack Berkovi

How do you become more client-centric? This book shows you how to put the client first, always. It provides a comprehensive, pragmatic guide to the client relationship journey – from identifying potential customers to their engagement, care, retention, development, loyalty and beyond. It also includes insights from top practitioners as well as case studies and useful exercises and checklists.

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8. Developing Knowledge-based Client Relationships: Leadership in Professional Services by Ross Dawson

Ross Dawson highlights the essential ingredients for establishing strong client relationships and why it's critical to provide value to everyone you serve. Whether you're a freelancer or large agency, this excellent book shows you how to lead key clients into lasting, profitable and high-value relationships.

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9. The Trusted Advisor by David H. Maister, Robert Galford and Charles Green

Beside talent and a sterling portfolio, what can world-class consultants like Deloitte & Touche, Societe General and Towers Perrin boast that has helped them achieve success in our entrepreneurial economy? They all have the inside track on the indispensable "Trusted Advisor" model for client relationships, created by renowned experts Charles Green and Robert Galford.

Now Green and Galford have teamed up with the acclaimed David Maister in order to help you. In this straightforward guide, the authors show readers that the key to professional success goes well beyond technical mastery or expertise. Today, it's all about the vital ability to earn the client's trust and thereby win the ability to influence them. An essential read.

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10. Making Rain: The Secrets of Building Lifelong Client Loyalty by Andrew Sobel

According to author Andrew Sobel, professionals who work with clients or large accounts can create lifetime relationships based on some well-researched secrets, shared in his book. Drawing from extensive interviews with client executives, Making Rain offers a series of provocative insights on how to shed the expert–for–hire label and develop long–term advisory relationships.

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