A Tale of Two Cities
Meet Ellen and Peter. They are both partners with large, well-known public accounting firms. They both went to good schools. They each have years of experience in auditing the financial statements of Fortune 500 companies. Consummate professionals.
But that's where the similarity ends.
Ellen is a trusted advisor to the chief financial officer (CFO) of her largest client. Peter, in contrast, is tearing his hair out. His principal client has been trying to cut the fee for his firm's audit services. He struggles to even get on the CFO's calendar.
Let me describe a bit about each of them. You'll quickly understand the differences. And, you'll learn about one of the most fundamental laws of relationships. If you follow this law—if you master it—it has the power to utterly transform your role with clients and customers. Actually, it will transform your relationships with most of the significant people in your professional life, including your boss and your colleagues.
Interested? Read on.
“They're driving me crazy,” Peter tells me over lunch. “This client sees the audit as a commodity. They just want the lowest price.”
“What kind of relationship do you have with the CFO or his deputy?” I ask.
“Not much. They have basically delegated the management of the audit to their VP of finance, who reports to the CFO. He, in turn, has turned over the day-to-day relationship with us to their Director of Audit. I rarely see the CFO.”
“How would you describe ...