CW leaders 2013: Build on consultant-client trust

Consultants should empathize with their clients' needs and issues

2013 Construction Week Leaders in Construction UAE
2013 Construction Week Leaders in Construction UAE

A panel of experts at CW's Leaders in Construction Summit UAE stressed the need for consultants and contractors to invest in building better relationships with clients.

Speaking at the panel discussion were Tom Bower, managing director, WSP Middle East; Phillippe Dessoy, general manager, Besix; Darren Bellew, regional director – UAE, Faithful + Gould; and Steve Law, group director for project management for the Middle East and North Africa, Sweett Group.

“If you are going to work for a consultancy, you need to want to serve people in terms of what you do,” said Bower. “I don’t think it’s good to work for a consultancy if you don’t like dealing with people.”

Bower added that it can take up to three years for consultants to build a trusting relationship with clients. “You've got to deliver on your commitments,” he said “You've got to deliver a quality product, on time, and on budget, every time.”

Law said that consultants should be able to empathise with their clients’ needs and issues.

“You are looking for individuals who can engage with clients from the outset,” he said. “You need to have someone who can sit with a client, get on the same level as them, build their trust, build the empathy and enable delivery to flow.”

Bessoy, as the only contractor on the panel, said that a good relationship between the consultant and the client ensures that the contractor will be able to devise a feasible plan to deliver a quality product.

“The problem for the contractor comes after the discussion with the consultant and the client, because then there is already a timeframe and budget on the table,” he said. “Then the contractor has to manage the planning of the project and the budget.”

Bellew added that consultants should be fine-tuned to the demands of their clients.

“Listen to your clients,” Bellew said. “What does he want from his project? Empathize and engage with him, so you understand his problems or issues. Then you can gain his trust, and he can gain confidence in you. And then you can solve his problems, and deliver the project.”

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