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Clients First: The Two Word Miracle by JoAnn Callaway, Joseph Callaway

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People just can’t take themselves out of the equation. Many people think that building rapport is a matter of finding a common interest. Then they dominate the common interest discussion by talking about themselves. I used to do that in high school. Whatever came up, I would relate it to myself. Needless to say, I was not popular.

My cousin was popular. He pursued popularity with a drive any politician would envy. I used to smugly reject his efforts at popularity. I would tell myself it was beneath me to do the things he did just to be popular. I thought of myself as deep and sensitive. I thought he was shallow. He would laugh at jokes that were not funny. He would wave at cars when he didn’t even know for sure who was in them. He would get everyone else to talk, and when he did speak, it was to say something nice about someone. He flattered, he encouraged, he cajoled. He was so popular that he probably remembers high school as the best time of his life.

I was wrong. I was the jerk. I was the arrogant one thinking I was too good to make the effort. I got better in time. In my 20s, I learned to stop interjecting stories about me. In my 30s, I learned to sell and ask qualifying questions. In my 40s, I swung back and forth between arrogance and embarrassment. Then JoAnn and I discovered Clients First and I got myself out of the way. I realized that for all the wonderful things JoAnn thought and felt about me, for all the mixed-up vanity I had inside, what mattered were ...

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