As a stockbroker, this adage was ground into us in training programs. "Know your client," held a different meaning in that context than it does in this. As a broker, it referred to knowing your client's financial ability to absorb potential losses, which night cause him to move his business elsewhere ( yep, a cynical statement on my part). For a professional sales leader, it is the starting point for creating a long term relationship that will provide mutual benefits for your client and you.

It starts by being genuinely interested in your client's business needs, problems and goals. It is much more than sending the "corporate birthday card," or perish the thought, asking the disingenuous question about their spouse and children's health.

"Know your client," by knowing what they do, who they do it for, and what their challenges are. Anything less than that and the birthday card acknowledges your own lack of relationship building skills and more importantly, your lack of interest in getting to know someone you work with. And yes, it isn't about selling to, it's about working with or for.

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