Life Long Learners Make the Best Clients (for Some of Us, anyway)

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Had a great conversation today with Graham Wickham, President and CEO of the Wickham Financial Group in Marietta, GA. Graham mentioned one of his agents, a new guy, made comment on a book he was reading. It brought to mind part of the definition of a good client for me: a life long learner. I’ve always enjoyed learning new things and reading. That pleasure seems to grow as I get older but I wish I had been more diligent about it when I was young. One of the best bits of wisdom ever imparted to me was by my old mentor and friend, Fred Yeager, of Met Life in New Orleans.  Fred once told me that “We don’t know what we don’t know.”  Kind of the premise of the book I was moaning about some months back, The Black Swan.

As we near the milestone of December 31 and prepare to cross into 2010, we hear the usual wisdom about getting your plan for next year complete. We all nod our heads and our hearts fill with good intensions but, ultimately, some of us will plan and most of us won’t.

I’m not sure what works for you. I do know that one needs to pause and reflect occassionally on what you are doing. Because as a business owner or independent sales person, you are sliding behind if you are not learning and adapting. The pace of change keeps increasing.

Discussions regarding the economy break out at the drop of a hat these days. Are we still struggling in recession? Are we in recovery? If we’re in recovery, what is the pace of it, how long will it last, is it temporary? And on and on. While staying current with all that, the most important question to consider is, “What does it all mean to my business and what do I need to be doing every day?”

With all this change and upheaval, it might be a good time to consider your business anew. Is your message (USP, Elevator Pitch, tag line) still relevant? Have customer/prospect needs changed? What are their current concerns and am I speaking to them? Am I providing the right products or services?

We will probably be attending various Holiday parties and functions; good networking opportunities, all. However, while meeting with clients, friends, colleagues, and prospects, this might be a good time to conduct a little market research and find out people’s concerns in the areas you provide solutions. A little Q & A could provide you some valuable information regarding who is in real need of what you provide and what their main concerns are. Maybe it’s time for some chages.

Besides, they will be impressed with what a good conversationalist you are if you let them do most of the talking.