A childhood friend of mine runs a very advanced consulting business.

He recently confessed that he wasn't getting enough leads and wasn't converting those he did get into .

We spent a few hours applying the seven points of Building Brand Value to his business.

Here's the (edited for length, believe it or not) e-mail I received from him today:

Dear Bruce,

You son of a bitch.

It works.

Some background: I am smart. I can do math in my head. I know the decimal expansion of pi to 50 places. I can multiply three digit numbers in my head. (Seriously. It takes me a little while, but I truly can multiply 247 times 758 or whatever without pencil and paper.) I am so smart that I never have to listen to anybody. Why should I? I already know everything. ? Poo. How hard could it be? The dumbest girls in college studied marketing. What could they know?

So I have lived all these years—smart guy that I am—disdaining marketing specifically and business in general. And we've seen how well that worked: Not very. As you know, I ran a business for 20 years that barely made expenses.

So I got a referral this morning. A client I can help. (As a matter of fact, I think I can help them big time, turn their lives around, set them up with the power of transformative positive .) But I can't help ‘em unless I can get them in to the office.

So I did what you said.

Even though I am so smart it makes my head hurt.

I trusted you. After I'd listened and knew what the issues were I READ FROM THE SCRIPT! “I'm going to say a couple things. If they are helpful, great. I'm pleased to know that I was of service. But I have commitments to other clients and there are only so many hours in the day, so after I make a couple comments, I'm going to have to get off the phone to fulfill my other responsibilities.”

Bruce, it felt great! I know it was the right thing to do. I didn't tell any jokes. I wasn't ingratiating. I only told personal stories relating to my background and credentials. As a result of the professionalism, I think my client felt confident. And she'll call to follow through and make an appointment.

And it's not just the words: It's the attitude.

In short: thank you.

If I could believe that I am able to do for the families in my office what you have done for me, I will feel that I have had a positive influence.

I still have a lot to learn. I'm working on another document that I'll get to you next week. I'm going to ask you to edit it and make sure that I'm “keeping it simple,” “making it ” and so on. But for now, I'm pretty pleased. I think I've turned a corner.

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