Yesterday evening, I attended an event with one of my favourite speakers – Dr Dumisani Magadlela.  He is a highly respected South African expert in the area of Ubuntu Intelligence and has touched many lives with his wisdom.  Dumi’s simplest definition of Ubuntu for the layman is: I am who I am because of who you are.  In other words, we are who we are because of our collective experience.  He is HUGELY against the idea putting people in boxes and labelling them – which is something that we marketers like to do, because it makes things nice and easy for us.  It makes the job of marketing that much simpler to be able to group / box / generalise about people, their traits, their habits and so on.

But I had a bit of an epiphany this morning after last night’s conversation had time to fester in my brain, and I realised that Dumi’s resistance to putting people in boxes had some merit.  If I think of my existing and potential clients, I am who I am because of who they are and because of what they need and are missing in their lives, businesses or practices.  We are incredibly interconnected – not in a master/servant way, not in a client/service-provider way, but in a partnership.  We are who we are because of each other.  If we suspend our hierarchical or power constructs for a moment, we will realise that we are equals.

Let me give you an example: I do not claim to have any financial acumen whatsoever.  I have certainly picked up bits and pieces along the way, but I rely on the specialist expertise of my teams of Chartered Accountants and Auditors to do what they specialise in so that I can focus on what I am good at, and I am quite happy to pay them for their expertise (if anyone is looking for some great accountants, I can give some good recommendations).  They’re partners in making my business a success.

By the same token, I spend a lot of time studying my field and new developments so that I can offer my clients sound, practical advice that helps them market their businesses without spending a cent.  I want them to be able to lose their anxiety about marketing their businesses, and be able to focus on what they are really great at.

What is YOUR relationship like with your clients?  Are you who and where you are because of the relationship that you have?  Are you part of YOUR clients’ success formula or are you a grudge purchase?

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