The people who were client-centered five years ago are client-centered now, and they will continue to be so in the coming years. Their livelihood will not depend on the tax laws, the market, world events or product performance. Their process will continue to attract a certain kind of client. Their colleagues, who are product-focused, will continue to gravitate to selling whatever they think they need to sell to make a living, as opposed to executing a process designed around the client, which, lo and behold, leads to making a great living. It's like the axiom, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer: the client-focused get richer, and the product-focused get . . . well, you get the idea.

Bad times expose the truth of your business model. If your model is solid, it will weather good times and bad times. If your model is weak, the good times may mask the weakness, but you'd better look out for the bad times.

Right now, when all of us in this business are feeling pretty exposed, we have an incredible opportunity. If you've been focusing on selling products and philosophies instead of building relationships, here's your wake-up call. Business leaders all agree that when things are bad, we tend to improve the most-because that's when necessity becomes the mother of invention. But you don't have to reinvent the wheel. You may simply need to reinvent yourself, to recast yourself in a new role with your clients.

© 2003 by Bill Bachrach, Bachrach & Associates, Inc. All rights reserved Bill Bachrach is the author of four industry-specific books, including his newest book, It's All About Them; How Trusted Advisors Listen for Success. For more information about his services or to order his books, call (800) 347-3707 or visit the Web site,

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