Back in the 1980s, Van Halen made the ‘contract rider’ – a list of requirements, or ‘wish list’ given by bands to event and venue organisers – famous by demanding that all brown M&Ms be removed from bowls placed in their dressing room.

This unique use of the ‘contract rider’ came about not because Van Halen were a bunch of self-important divas, but because their road crew had been put into serious danger on previous tours by event organisers not paying due attention to technical and safety requirements clearly stated in the standard contract rider. This was their way of checking to see if the organisers at each venue were paying close enough attention to the terms of their contract.

I got to thinking about how the lessons from this story play out for Experts building their Practices.

In an era of business where marketing has become an obsession, I see Customer Service and Sales Fulfilment becoming forgotten arts. In the quest for the biggest list, the most fans, the most followers – too many Experts forget all about actually fulfiling the promises made by their marketing.

First and foremost – be awesome. Provide an amazing service every time. Taki also says, “marketing just speeds up the rate at which people find out that you suck.”

The Expert challenge when building a successful Practice is to find a balance between marketing/sales, and customer service/sales fulfilment.

Personally, I think the greater crime is neglecting your customers – not neglecting your marketing. Spend more time agonising over delivering exceptional value and service, on exceeding expectation, on your CRM (customer relationship management) systems than you do on chasing down the next client. You must of course continuously market and continuously get better at your marketing, but never at the expense of your current clients.

Making being awesome your top priority.