Professional services relationships as the primary portal to value creation


A week ago I gave a keynote to a relatively small but rapidly growing professional services firm on the occasion of their 10th birthday celebration, to help them think about their next decade of business.

My presentation began with macro trends, then drilled into shifts in the professional services landscape, and finally onto the leadership required to create the future of professional services.

The theme that the group picked up on the most which drove our ensuing conversation was how they could tap external experts to generate value for clients.

They have world-class expertise in their specialist domain. However as every professional firm is experiencing, elements of their offering are being commoditized by new competitors and ways of working, including crowdsourcing global professionals within a structured process.

Massive global professional firms, let alone niche specialists, cannot be all things to their clients. The point of opportunity is in having the relationships that give clients access to the best talent across a broad domain.

Professionals, to honor their client relationships, must be able to access or introduce global best-of-breed expertise to be part of their offering.

There will increasingly be a divide between those firms that rely only on their own internal expertise, and those who present themselves to their clients as a portal to professional expertise, leveraging the depth of their client relationship to integrate the most relevant talent for their clients’ needs.

In my first book Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships I described how value in professional services resides to an increasing degree in the relationship with the client.

In today’s connected world that relationship can become a true portal to value across professional services. Firms large and small are equally in a position to tap that power.