Contact your most profitable clients and offer to listen to what they have to say about your offerings and your company. From the results you’ll know whether it’s time to repair or nurture the relationship, or if you have the green light to ask for new business.

No one inside your company (or your competitors) has the time to do this. This could be your greatest competitive advantage. It will cost you much less than a) getting new client or b) hiring expensive consulting firms or creative agencies who are motivated by inflated billings.

Every business person I talk to complains that he or she is too busy: too busy putting out fires, too busy getting new clients, too busy meeting project deadlines, and too busy protecting their turf. I call this business as usual.

The problem with business as usual is that it undermines your reputation and considerable business is lost (or avoided!) from the very source where it can be won most…your existing client base. You worked hard and spent much to win them. Don’t lose them and the opportunities with them that are waiting for you.

In theater, listening is the necessary skill that delivers consistent peak performances over time. Listening is a simple act. It requires us to be present, and that takes practice, but we don’t have to do anything else. We don’t have to advise, or coach, or sound wise. There’s profit in listening. We just have to be willing.