Saturday, July 12, 2008

Client Service And David Whyte

In 1994, David Whyte published a book titled The Heart Aroused, Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America. I happened to pull it off my bookshelf for the first time in years, and I found a passage that serves as a nice follow up to yesterday's post Client Service And Conversation. Let me just say it's far more poetic and poignant than anything I could write:

"Other people's words may raise from our throats at the drop of a quality management...number one...but we struggle to remember the simple character of our own voice. It takes only a modicum of psychological savvy to admit that a corporate culture that constantly repeats the word excellence to itself must still have endless reservoirs of mediocrity on which to draw, and is deathly afraid of facing up to this fact. We open our mouths and too often utter the same phrases and opinions that might be said by a thousand other toilers in a thousand other companies."

Sound familiar? Next time you're wondering why clients/prospects say that all the agency presentations sound the same, think about this quote and find the "simple character of your own voice."


  1. What a wonderful quote, Leo - and so true! Sometimes it can be easy to forget the simple power of speaking in our own voice. Your post reminds me of a time when we won a new client after losing power during a competitive pitch. We were going through our presentation and the client was stone-faced - we couldn't feel any chemistry yet we kept on presenting. Suddenly, the lights went out and we were all in total blackness in an internal conference room.

    Little by little the jokes started from our team, one member ran to find a camping lantern, others pulled out cell phones to add a little light. It turned into an incredible bonding experience with the prospective client and one we all continue to laugh about to this day. The power outage allowed our "character" and natural voice to cut through the professionalism of an agency presentation. A major mishap - and handling it with humor and creativity - allowed for chemistry and personalities to kick in, resulting in a memorable win.

  2. Great story Lara. It illustrates perfectly the point that most often a client selects you for who you are, more than what you do. Sounds as if the power outage was the best thing that could have happened to you. The trick now is how does your firm bottle that personality and deliver it with the lights on?!

  3. Nice post, Leo. Mediocrity is chasing us all, nipping at our heels, barking, "Don't get too far out there. Don't show too much of your hand."
    One of the great things about social media is that it has been a huge reminder that all business is really about people.
    Be brave. Be yourself.
    Thanks again, always enjoy your posts.



Blog Widget by LinkWithin