Helping all of your firm be trusted partners

“Building trusting relationships with clients leads to many benefits: less fee resistance, more future work, more referrals to new clients, and more effective and harmonious work relationships with the clients. However, many people have built their past success on having a transactional view of their clients, not a relationship one, and it is not clear that they really want to change.”

David Maister, lead author of The Trusted Adviser and the Maister Trust Equation

Being a trusted partner to clients involves more than technical ability. Professionals who are subject experts also need to be rainmakers who retain and grow accounts for the whole firm.
There are two critical dimensions to this: a focus on value creation and an ability to build and grow trust. These come together in the idea of Mutual Value, and that is at the heart of our training and coaching programme.

We’ve taken the best training developed over decades with the biggest accountancy and law firms in the world… and turned it into a series of modules which can be delivered as a training workshop, coaching or a combination of the two. We will develop a bespoke approach for your firm to help all your people develop the very best skills in winning, retaining and growing clients through deeper, trust based relationships.

Firm-wide consistency

One of the key challenges many firms face is that they have star perfomers but there is not firm-wide consistency of approach. This programme addresses this directly by being suitable for all levels of client-facing professionals so that everyone shows up capable of building trust.  

This goes a step further with bespoke training and coaching programmes to create a distinctive and consistent approach to clients.  

Mutual Value's work with lawyers and accountants is based on core themes set out below

Every theme can be delivered as a one-off workshop or keynote on a Partner Retreat…a training programme for Partners and Associates…the foundation for one on one coaching for your key rainmakers…or the basis of bespoke consultancy to help you develop a strategy based on building trust with major clients.

The approach helps your team adopt practical skills and techniques which will make a difference to your business straight away.


The Trust Mindset
The Compelling Narrative
Conversations that Build Trust
Leading Meetings that Build Trust
Building Trust in Difficult Conversations


The Trust Mindset 

Why this matters

  • Many professionals are in a transactional mindset – win the client, deliver the project, perform the technical tasks involved
  • Yet clients choose,  trust and give more business to professionals who demonstrate a real commitment to the value they create together
  • So the key is to ensure everyone is consciously building trust at every stage and knows why this matters


  • Why clients buy
  • Belief analysis: limiting and empowering mindsets
  • Defining and building Trust using the Mutual Value Trust Model
  • Always thinking mutual value for the Firm and your clients


    Key concept: Belief Analysis

    How to decide what is driving your behaviours

     A differentiated value proposition

    Why this matters

    • This about deciding: what do we want to be famous for?
    • By doing this consciously, rather than by accident, your team will focus on your Firm’s strengths in a consistent way
    • That provides the foundation for a strong reputation and so growth in business value
    • It should drive your client targeting and make you the right choice for them


    • Spear fishing is more successful than spreading the net
    • This is about value and outcomes, not knowledge and skills
    • Identifying what you want Clients to say when you’re not there – and acting accordingly
    • Articulation of a powerful and distinctive story 
    • Using this to build Relationship Capital with Clients

    The Mutual Value Trust Model

    Key concept: The Mutual Value Trust Model

    The three components of your Narrative


    Sales Conversations that Build Trust

    Why this matters

    • The right mindset is no use without the best skillset for creating Trust in every encounter
    • People with strong technical ability may have poor interpersonal skills when leading client conversations and structuring meetings
    • In a competitive market in which technical abilities are common, these interpersonal behaviours make all the difference 


    • The Structured Conversation Roadmap
    • How to ensure Clarity at every stage
    • Value-based conversations using intelligent questions 
    • Collaborative decision-making with the Client

      The Clarify Question

      Key concept: The Clarify Question

      Helping the Client fully think through what they need


       Leading  Meetings that Build Trust

      Why this matters

      • Leading a relationship-building meeting should be a core professional skill
      • Doing this well instills confidence in the Client and maximises the impact of billable time of the professional
      • Doing this badly leads to misunderstanding, inefficiency and lowers Trust in the professional and the Firm


      • Structuring a meeting with a clear end in mind
      • The 6-step process to leading a successful meeting
      • Value-focused meetings – tackling soft and hard issues so that there’s a clear business case
      • Helping the Client reach the right decision

        The 6 step meeting process

        Key concept: the 6-Step Structure

        How to ensure you’re focusing on the highest value issue 


        Building Trust in  Difficult Conversations

        Why this matters

        • Difficult conversations handled badly will ruin the relationship
        • Handled well they will build Trust
        • Many professionals struggle to have successful fee conversations, especially when the scope has grown but the client expects to pay no more


        • Always focus on a mutual value mindset – for the Client AND the Firm
        • Slowing down for yellow lights
        • A structured way to deal with contentious issues
        • Successfully handling fee negotiations

          Principles of price negotiations

          Key concept: Core Principles of Price Negotiations

          Fundamental principles of engaging in fee discussions



          “Kevin has a wealth of experience in BD and leadership and leverages that knowledge to challenge those around him to aspire to achieve more. Kevin is intrinsically commercial, whilst working with a strong commitment to ensuring that relationships are based on mutual benefit, thinking win/win. I confidently recommend Kevin as a coach and as a commercial leader.”

          Juliet Shaw, Director, Forensic Advisory Assurance, EY

          TFP FARRELLS

          “Stuart was acting as a moderator, but he was also a catalyst. He was able to distil the issues and make people focus on the aspects which really matter. …He was drawing out of people what was really essential to be able to move forward …we managed to fairly smoothly move into a process where we were aligned.. and we managed to find something to inspire us…”

          Stefan Krummek, Principal, TFP Farrells, Asia


          “Kevin supported our team on a sales culture change programme.. He was able to effectively challenge a senior team in a way that I’ve not seen from others in his field.”

          David Lister, Partner at EY

          Moore Kingston Smith

          “Stuart energised our partner’s awayday with a dynamic, challenging workshop …This did much more than create a real buzz at the event. It ensured partners focused on how we look from a client’s perspective and what really makes a difference in the marketplace. Stuart linked this closely to our business strategy and ensured that the different teams were able to develop their own story. This helped frame the rest of our discussions.”

          Maureen Penfold, Managing Partner, Moore Kingston Smith

          For further information get in touch now...




          Let's have an open conversation about the value this can bring to your organisation. Contact to arrange a free video call with Stuart Maister or Kevin Vaughan-Smith.