Lists (Issue 979)

In which we are reminded that clients are most delighted when we think ahead and bring them useful  ideas.  

“I struggle with Christmas gifts.” I could hear the sigh in his voice.

Ever helpful, I nodded. “Have you considered lists? I’ve heard that some families do Christmas lists, like, a shared spreadsheet in the cloud. Everybody subscribes to the spreadsheet, they choose items to buy, and then they cross them off.”

“Yes,” he said, “I’d be in favor of that but….”

“I would not!” My friend’s partner appeared on camera, behind him. “You know, the baby Jesus did not send a list to the Wise Men, ‘I’d like gold, frankincense and myrrh for Christmas, please.’ They came up with those ideas themselves; they were gifts of devotion.”

My friend muttered, “Yes, and those gifts were about as useless as the gifts that your mother gives us.” (He leaned closer to his tablet screen and whispered: “She shops all year long and we get Christmas by the pound or square foot…There’s a lot of puzzled looks on Christmas morning and regifting afterward.”)

“Yes,” his partner said, “well, the Wise Men, at least, tried and, besides, that’s how she shows her devotion. She’s thinking of us all year long…”

“Well,” said my friend, “I still like the list idea.”

Long pause as my friend’s partner moved off camera … but not out of range.  “So, is that why you’re in this position every year? You’re not thinking of us all year long? ‘Oh, I don’t know what to get anybody’, with this long face?  So, you need someone to give you a list and say, ‘please, sir, I’d like this for Christmas?’”

“Well, I’m just saying…”

“Yes, and I’m just saying that you might pay more attention and think of ideas, yourself… not wait for somebody to give you a list and say, ‘here, I’d like to get this.”


Nick Miller and Clarity train banks and bankers to attract and develop deeper relationships with small businesses. Many more Sales Thoughts like this and a host of other articles and resources at .

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