No.14 / April 19, 2006

The Corporate Muse


Welcome to all our readers of The Corporate Muse. This month we focus on the difference between a client and a customer, creating your own comfort zone at networking events and writng like you talk. We hope you enjoy it. As always, we'd love to hear from you.  Send your comments to:




Marketing Lessons from "Hotel Rwanda" 

Does Your Business Have

A "Strategy Of Preeminence?"



   In Getting Every Thing You Can Out of All You've Got, Master marketer and business builder Jay Abraham preaches the "Strategy of Preeminence" as the one necessary strategy you must adopt if you want your business to continue to attract and keep high value customers.


   He describes it like this:


You have to also become a trusted advisor and a friend. And you should think of your clients as dear, valued friends ... It is the essence of the Strategy of Preeminence and the lifeblood of a long lasting, rewarding and profitable relationship for both you and your clients. And you will learn that the value you provide to your clients and everyone you deal with can be deeper, more meaningful and rewarding than you ever realized.


I can't think of a better example of someone who lives and breathes this credo than Paul Rusesabagina.


Even if you haven't seen the movie Hotel Rwanda, you're probably aware of the story of this self-described "ordinary man," who calmly used his position as manager of the Hotel des Mille Collines in Kigali, to shelter the orphans and refugees who came seeking safe-haven from the slaugher that was rapidly burning through the countryside.


It's hard to say if Mr. Rusesabagina had any inkling of the pivotal life-and-death role he was to play in the lives of hundreds of his countrymen.


But as he went about his daily business, he instincively treated his guests and employees as clients and not as customers -- the  key to implementing the Strategy of Preeminence.


Jay Abraham describes the difference like this:


A customer is one who purchases a commodity or service.


A client, on the other hand is one who is under the protection of another.


And he points out that this massive difference in meaning creates a difference in the way you'll treat those who do business with you.


To say that a client is "under your protection means you understand and appreciate exactly what your clients need when they do business with you -- even if they are unable to articulate that exact result themselves."


Paul Rusesabagina understood this.


In the opening scene of the movie, Paul procures a box of Cuban Cigars, worth $10,000 Rwandan francs. His driver comments on the quality of the cigars, but Paul tells the driver that the cigars are worth far more than that to him.


"If I give a rich businessman 10,000 francs, what does it matter to him? He's rich," Paul observes. "But if I give him this Cohiba, straight from Havana, Cuba...Hey, that is style."


Paul then gives one of the precious cigars to a warehouse owner upon whom he depends to furnish him with the reliable supply of small luxuries his guests (clients) at the hotel have come to expect.


The warehouse owner thinks politics and money are the only sources of power. But Paul knows better. He knows his ability to forge valuable relationships is the real basis of his personal power.


When a general remarks on the fine quality of the Glenmorangie single-malt scotch Paul serves him, Paul doesn't hesitate to have his staff slip a couple of bottles into the general's luggage before he leaves.


Now you might think this is just good old-fashioned "greasing the palms," but in every interaction, Paul shows that he appreciates, and anticipates the needs of others, even before they're aware of what it is they really need. And Paul never asks for anything without first being prepared to give.


Paul is able to satisfy the underlying desires that motivate those around him, because he sees them as his clients. The general appreciates fine scotch because it makes him feel cultured (his underlying need).


This isn't just quid pro quo.


Paul's clients are truly grateful to him. And that gratitude causes them to feel loyalty to him, even when they're strongly motivated by other pressures to harm Paul or the refugees under his care. 


Near the end of the movie, as the country is collapsing into chaos, Paul takes the general to retrieve a few more bottle of scotch from another hotel. He wants the general to then take him back to his family, but the general is reluctant. The general wants to escape Kigali, which is rapidly deteriorating, and move on to the army's new safer headquarters.


At the beginning of the scene the general seems to be holding all the cards. He has the army and the guns. Paul is alone and unarmed. But when the general threatens to take him away from his family and his clients at the Hotel des Mille Collines, Paul stands his ground and an interesting reversal takes place. Paul convinces the general by telling him that even if he escapes to safety, he will be at risk for being arrested as a war criminal.


He tells the general that his only hope is to help Paul save the refugees, thereby providing the military man with witnesses who would testify to any future war crimes tribunal that he was not involved in the massacre.


The general finds himself seeking Paul's protection, and agrees to return Paul to his hotel. They arrive just in time to save Paul's guests from a massacre at the hands of the armed thugs of the Interhamwe militia.


So, what does this mean for your business and your life?


"It means," says Jay Abraham, "that you don t sell people a product or service just so you can make the largest one-time profit possible."


"Once you know what final outcome they need, you lead them to that outcome --you become a trusted advisor who protects them. And they have reason to remain your client for a lifetime."


That's the secret Paul Rusesabagina knew. And the value he provided his clients and everyone he dealt with was truly more meaningful and rewarding than he or they could ever have imagined. (ACC)


  © QuickSilver Copywriters 2006 -- Andy & Shawn Catsimanes;; mailto:; Sign up for The Corporate Muse:




When networking, many people find themselves out of their accepted comfort levels.  It can be intimidating to introduce yourself to strangers.


One knack to overcoming it is to quickly identify something the two of you have in common. Or as Michel Fortin of puts it:  "The first goal for me is to find people who are like me … it all starts with that commonality." 


This happened to me during the interviews I conducted for the chapter we're writing for the upcoming book, Million Dollar Marketing Secrets.  I was nervous about speaking to one renowned copywriter in particular.


Shortly after he answered the phone, and before I turned on the recorder, he said he’d like to heat a cup of coffee before we got started.  I said, "You know what? I'll pour a cup myself ... then we can sit down and have a little chat over coffee."  Finding our mutual enjoyment of coffee in the afternoon put me at ease.


I had another of those experiences back in the fall when we attended Big Seminar 6 in LA.  As a woman approached me, I noticed her nametag and realized we shared the same name.  Right away, she wanted to talk about the trials of being a female with the name, Shawn, something I'm more than happy to commiserate with.


In both cases, it was just a matter of one thing we shared in common that got the ball rolling.  So you don't have to look too far to find similar traits or interests.


Once you tell someone your name and shake hands, you don't want to find yourself at a loss for words.  The best way to conquer this is to start asking questions.  But be careful about what you ask.  "Don’t say, How's it going?  Or, How are you liking it so far?" says Ray Edwards of, "Those are robotic automated questions and they will always get robotic automated answers.  Ask specific questions.  They can be about where they're from, or if you just watched a presentation, Was there a specific part you found interesting?"


And Leah Carson of recommends, "Ask questions.  It's the simplest way to focus.  What do you hope to get out of the seminar?  What is the biggest success in your business?  And then, listen to the answers."


Eileen Coale of offers a different way to get comfortable in an uncomfortable setting.  "Act like a host, not a guest," is a quote she found in a book on networking. "Anytime I don't feel confident," Eileen says, "I start pretending I'm the host and introducing people and introducing myself and it works.  It works really well."


After you've established your new comfort zone in the middle of a crowd, you'll be meeting more people than you ever could have imagined.  If like many, you struggle with what to do next, David L. Hancock of offers these words of advice:  "I try to get to know everybody – I try very hard to learn their names.  Not just, Hey, how ya doin'?  I like to try to establish a bond in the beginning and make it meaningful for them ... I chat with them for a few minutes and then take a couple seconds to jot something down on the back of the business card or in my notebook to help me remember that when I get back."


If you apply these techniques at the next networking event you attend, you'll leave with a good feeling about the experience.  And maybe even get excited about the next one.





Writers of fiction and creative non-fiction must have a voice or style that distinguishes them from the crowd.  Conversely, copywriting and business writing need to be conversational.  In other words, the closer you write to how you talk, the better. 


Let me add a couple of caveats here.  That doesn't mean you should include slang or swear words.  They may be appropriate in some circumstances, but most of the time they are not.  Secondly, you still need to adhere to the rules of grammar and spelling.


Don't rely on Spell Check and Grammar Check in Word.  These are helpful tools, but can miss properly spelled words used incorrectly and often present the wrong solution to a grammatically challenged sentence. 


Case in point.  I wrote the following: "You'll be surprised how, by merely adding a persuasive headline, your profits will increase substantially."  (Yes, I do know how bad it is.)  The computer’s remedy?  "How merely how merely adding a persuasive headline your profits will increase substantially will surprise you."  You be the judge.  (By the way, as I typed the original sentence just now – with and without commas and quotes – the computer did not deem it necessary to correct it.  Go figure.) 


If you're unsure about what you've written, you can check its accuracy at one of these great sites: and  And after registering at Grammar Station ( you can type in a questionable phrase and discover where it went wrong.  


For proper spelling, check out:   And if you don't have a Thesaurus handy or aren’t crazy about your choices in Word, there's:


Writing like you talk can be substantially more challenging than it sounds.  For one thing, most of us include a lot of "ums"; "ahs"; "yeahs," and "you knows" in our speech.  They don't translate well to paper. 


Another problem stems from the overuse of adjectives and adverbs.  While these words help with imagery and intensity, your prose will zing if you utilize nouns and verbs to create your illustrations instead. 


One way to transition from oral to written words is to speak into a recorder and transcribe it.  You'll still need to make changes, but you'll get a decent feeling for the way you talk and be steps ahead of beginning from scratch. 


A second trick is to pretend you're writing a letter to a dear friend. Again, you'll probably have to edit extensively, but you should have an acceptable framework to start with. 


Next time you compose a business letter, web page or internal memo write it as if you were talking to a good buddy.  You'll find it reads better and gets better responses.    



Thanks for reading.  See you next month!


Andy & Shawn Catsimanes


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"With Andy & Shawn's help, 'Snapshots from the Soul' became a reality. They demonstrated great sensitivity and compassion and we enjoyed working with them very much."

~Dennis E. Chapman, Associate Executive Director, City Union Mission, KC, MO


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~ Olga O'Mara


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~ Christopher Hebard
Pruett Media