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Power Relationships: 26 Irrefutable Laws for Building Extraordinary Relationships by Jerold Panas, Andrew Sobel

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5

What's the Agenda?

Your starting point for building a power relationship is always the other person's agenda. An agenda encompasses someone's goals, but it's even broader.

To show how important this is, let me introduce you to Richard Major. Richard taught me a lesson I'll never forget about understanding agendas.

Richard is a senior executive at his company, where he's worked for 25 years. He manages the very largest client accounts. The whales. He is not just good at what he does, he's one of the best I've ever met. But don't take my word for it—check his stats. He ranks number one in his firm for revenue production. And has for years.

If you meet Richard, you may—at first blush—think he lacks some of the finer relationship skills. He doesn't relish small talk, for example. He's exceptionally bright, but sometimes uses a lot of filler words when he talks (um, you know). But don't be put off by that. He has an unrivaled instinct when it comes to building relationships with his clients, and a keen eye for spotting opportunities for them.

When I first met Richard, I was consulting with his company on a revenue growth initiative.

We're sitting in a big conference room, and some corporate honcho at the head of the table is interrogating everyone about how much more growth they can squeeze out of their client relationships. He asks each executive the same questions:

“What's your stretch revenue goal for this client?”
“What additional services can you sell?”
“What's keeping you ...

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