Clients learn about us by what we do and not what we say. Our actions reflect what is most important to us. If our customer contact time is spent talking about our products, our services, and ourselves, the customer soon understands what is truly important to us and it is not the customer. As Peter Drucker says “the aim of marketing to to make selling superfluous, to so know and understand our clients that the products fit them and sell themselves.” The financial services industry even has the “Know Your Client” Rule and we all agree this is important. The problem arises when we start to work with the customer. Our need to close the business, to generate revenue, and to feed our families, forces us to speed up the process and “get to the close.” These motives reveal themselves in our initial contact, when we do not focus on the client and their needs but rather on our agenda. If this shift from the customer to ourselves is generated by what motivates us, are we realizing what we truly want? Or are we selling ourselves short and settling for something less than the best in our business. In the coming weeks we will look at what we really want as business owners. Before that we need to understand how relationships are built.