In the development of our business we had a big meeting with a Vice President at a major bank whom we desperately wanted as a client. We created a well-organized presentation deck, thought through all that we wanted her to know about us, and set an intention to walk away from the meeting with a proposal opportunity. As the meeting progressed, we noticed that she was not saying much and did not seem fully engaged. So in wrapping up we asked if she had any questions for us and whether there was anything that would make her hesitant to work with us. Her response made me cringe. “It was great to hear about your work,” she said. “But you spent way too much time talking about yourselves and very little time finding out about me, my work, and what I need.” It was one of those palm slap to the forehead moments.

Of course we wanted to know about her, her organization, and how we might help them address important people issues they were facing. Of course we cared about what she needed and what kept her up at night. Yet, we were so focused on relaying our abilities and expertise that we forgot our most important principle – Focus on the client. Needless to say that was a defining moment for us and one that transformed the way we approach meetings with prospective and existing clients.

“Focus on the customer” sounds trite and obvious, but when you keep that at the forefront of your work, business, and career, better results and greater success await.

Check out this great little story about a grocery bagger named Johnny who focused on his customers and had a profound impact on the entire supermarket staff:

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