You would think it would be the easiest thing in the world, but it really isn’t.

Last week, I attended a conference at which a US sales expert posed a simple challenge. The audience was made up of experienced sales managers, and he offered a cash prize to anyone who could speak about one of their clients, any one of their clients, for three minutes or more. 

No one could. And Dr Brian Lambert told us that in 20 years of international speaking before high-level sales leaders, he has yet to encounter anyone who actually can. 

Could it really be that hard?

Well, try it. Who’s your biggest client? Without referencing yourself, try talking about them, their reality, their needs and their goals, for more than three minutes. It’s much harder than it seems, and it shows up an obvious shortfall in pretty much everyone involved in the entire world of business. 

Dr Lambert drove home the point that we base our businesses on the idea of understanding our customers' needs. Yet most of us don’t. And anyone who actually could would separates themselves from the pack as a true anomaly. 

Understand your client, to the point where you can speak about them non-stop for over three minutes, and you could own your industry. 


Douglas Kruger, CSP, is a global professional speaker, who focuses on brand, culture and innovation. He is the author of six business books with Penguin and has won the national championships for Public Speaking, through Toastmasters, a record 5 times.

In 2016, in honour of excellence in his craft, Douglas was inducted into the Speakers Hall of Fame by the Professional Speakers Association of Southern Africa. In 2018, the National Speakers Association granted him the accreditation of Certified Speaking Professional, a designation held by only 12 per cent of motivational speakers globally.

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