For a time, you saw them on the back of mini-bus taxis in South Africa; small stickers, issued by the Department of Health, explaining that ‘Sex with a child is a crime, and it will not cure AIDS.’ 

I was awestruck the first time I saw one. I had been blissfuly unaware that such a belief existed and only learned that there a war was being waged against it when the stickers pierced my ignorance. 

Sometimes we learn a thing by implication. Those stickers came and went some fifteen years ago. Just last week, I learned a similar ‘lesson by implication,’ but this time, it was a positive one. 

I was chatting with one of my agents, who praised me for giving thorough and thoughtful responses to client queries. It is my practice to ask specific questions about their needs and to make suggestions about how I might best serve them given their unique challenges. My agent confided that my doing so was a big contributor to our mutual success with clients. She enjoyed working with me, she said, in part because I put in this sort of care and effort…

…which taught me that other professionals in my arena obviously don’t  .

When a brief goes out outlining a potential client’s needs, it seems that a great many people in my industry merely respond with their availability and put no thought into arguing as to why they might be a good fit and how they might actually serve the client. For the life of me, I can’t imagine why not. Perhaps they don’t like money.

As a professional, any inquiry that comes your way is nothing less than an opportunity to pitch for new business. Why wouldn’t you put your best foot forward? Why wouldn't you show concern and be persuasive? 

When client enquiries arrive in your inbox, do you toss them back a standardised and impersonal response? Or do you see this as your opportunity to impress, to reassure and to surge ahead of your competition by winning yet one more deal, one additional stream of revenue, and one more opportunity to build your name and brand? 

Amateurs provide form replies. Experts use the opportunity to arrest their clients’ hearts and minds. 


Douglas Kruger is a professional keynote speaker at conferences around the world. He specialises in disruptive innovation and expert-positioning, helping brands to become more memorable than their competitors. See him in action, or sign up for his motivational newsletter, at