[Article originally appeared in Forbes]

Several weeks ago I had the long-anticipated opportunity to meet author and marketing/business strategist Jay Abraham. Abraham is a key influence to multiple of the people I’ve interviewed for this column including Daymond John, Steve Sims (Bluefishing), Joe Polish and others. He’s the author of four books including “Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got: 21 Ways You Can Out-Think, Out-Perform, and Out-Earn the Competition” and “The Sticking Point Solution.”

In 2000, Forbes named Abraham one of the top five executive coaches in the world in an article that has also been cited  by Daymond John. 

Jay Abraham, master of marketingTHESHARKGROUP.COM

It was a stunning interview. Eighty minutes later, I left with a desire to listen to all 800 hours of the material he offers as a free resource via the 50 Shades of Jay Abraham section of www.Abraham.com. Of the many pieces of wisdom I look forward to sharing, the first is preeminence—the elusive quality desired by every organization and entrepreneur.

Of all the desires and approaches executives attach to their public relations—“We need to tell our story! I want awareness! When somebody looks up our category, I want my company’s name to appear first”—Abraham teaches a fundamental truth. The single secret to genuine preeminence, he says, is to “think differently.”Forget the burning need to “tell our story,” “shout louder” and impress readers and viewers with varieties of shock and awe. Instead, learn to think through the recipient’s eyes.

“What can I do; what can I say to create so much value for my recipients, and reciprocally for the people they serve that is so irresistible they simply have to take note?”

“My own desire is to be known worldwide as the most generous benefactor to the growth-oriented, beleaguered and deserving entrepreneurs who don’t have anyone to be their sword and shield.”

Highly placed contemporaries of Abraham applaud the strategy. Says Tony Robbins: “He’s the one who taught me to fall in love with my customers, not my products and services.”

How does this apply to your day to day business? It begins, Abraham says, with a shift in focus. Most people, he observes, are dispassionate and broken down by their competition and the world. This is because their passion is being directed to the wrong applications, he says.

Lose the passion about your company being the fastest, biggest, most popular, he says. None of that is relevant. Instead, be passionate about your clients and be focused on the impact your company is making in their lives.

Let every contact with your customers be a chance to learn more about their values. Explore, understand and acknowledge what they see and how they live. Your customer buys a commodity or a service. You (and they) are competing against four factors:

  • Direct competitors.
  • Consumers who don’t want you to be unique.
  • Alternative ways to achieve their goals.
  • Procrastination/equivocation/contemplation. (The inability to get focused, make a decision and act.)

You transcend all of this by becoming the trusted advisor who thinks of the customers you serve as your valued clients. Put them under the protection and well-being of the knowledge and resources you provide. It is this focus that gives you and your company the sense of purpose that will allow your marketing and PR to succeed.

You must fall in love with both the people who pay you (your customers) and the people you pay (your employees). Be vigilantly committed to the success and progress of both. People who work for others, Abraham points out, perform at only 20% of their capacity. But people who work with a sense of mission—whether they have already achieved greatness or who are trainable and willing to grow—allow the company to achieve preeminence and greatness as well.

Consider the following steps:

  1. Determine at a 360-degree level what greatness would look like, for you as an individual and for your company as a whole. Career, health, productivity, innovation are all key to the equation. Determine who and what you admire and what greatness would look like for you in each of these areas. Look at those you admire most in each category as a model to aspire to. And as you progress—and your company progresses—your “accidental and outrageous good fortune” will increase by orders of magnitude.
  2. You and your team will gain purpose and a sense of passion.
  3. You will be focused on outcomes for your customers—not upon your own self-obsession.
  4. You will identify the evidence that you are achieving the greatness you desire from all perspectives—what you need to do and say differently, and the ways the evidence will manifest through the view of your customer audience (rabidly happy customers who are happy to provide feedback and who spontaneously become evangelists for you. Increased revenue. Rapidly increased growth.)

At this point the tactical acts of adding value will come naturally, resulting in improved communication to the public with an eye towards providing interest and value, not “strutting your stuff,” improved customer service and new customer-facing innovations (such as a grill company’s focus on recipes, ideas and helps for customers instead of obsession on finding a customer during the 4-8 year moment they are willing to consider buying a new grill).

When the customer-driven focus is central, the right PR actions will come.

To view the original article: https://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2018/01/21/the-single-secret-to-preeminence-according-to-jay-abraham-think-differently/#462b52397c30