George told me to shut up, and…for a change? I listened

Robert Godden and myself hamming it up in London a few years back

Above you’ll see me with one of my favourite people on the planet. Robert is nuts, but it’s a good nuts. George is almost as nuts as Robert and I are, but not quite. We’ve set a high bar, to be fair.

Who’s George, you ask?

Let me provide a bit of context I’ve got this friend George, who’s a gardener. He wasn’t always in such a position of autonomy and authority. He used to be a marketing specialist. Bilingual, even. Yet he was miserable and wanted to go outside and be with the birds. And think about worms.

Like a child, right? That’s one of the many things I like about George. He’s not playing by society’s rulebook. Were he to ask his family, a successful line of people if there ever was one, about his recent downshift from marketing to gardening, I doubt he’d get approving responses.

Damn them, is what I say.

But I’m a bit like the Hindu god Shiva…I like to tear things down before building them up again. Although, if I’m honest? I’m probably more like Ganesh than Shiva. I think I’m a badass, when really I’m a bit round in the middle and want to enjoy my comfort.

What might this have to do with my clients or how I get my message across? Simply put, I’m good at writing what I know. I’ve spent my career doing just that. My clients are typically quite German. Even the Italians and French people I deal with have been living here in this Teutonic reality long enough that they might as well be German.

My solutions might be okay, but my delivery is often so unorthodox that they need to try me out before they can see the method to my madness. Were I to be less chaotic, I’d lose less clients right off the bat. It’s anti-intuitive, but I’ve learned to stay the course and worry less about losing clients who don’t ‘get me’.

What’s my biggest, most successful, piece of advice? When it comes to clients? It’s so simple it almost hurts to write it:

Listen better. Ask good questions, but only after a lot of active listening. Making sure you truly understand what their whole deal is. Not what you assume their deal is. Let them tell you.

In future posts, I’ll talk more about this. Follow me for more tips on how to alienate clients. The ones who stick around might be worth the trouble. Or I might be.

I can never tell which one.

Who wants to ride another Ferris Wheel around and around and around? Wouldn’t you rather get off at some point?

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