As we wind down for the year, I’ve had some time to reflect and consider why the majority of my clients have been remarkably successful this year.

Here’s one example: I recently finished an engagement with a government client. We set optimistic goals to hit their objectives within six months, and they were so aggressive and fired up when we started working together that they surpassed their objectives in around 30 day!

What makes some propel to new heights while others seem to just bumble along?

I thought for today’s tidbit it would be valuable to share what I feel have been some of the common characteristics amongst many of my clients.

#1 – They seek outside help.

Many people/companies/entrepreneurs believe if they ask for help, they’re revealing some level of weakness. I had one executive client this year whose Board of Directors told him they shouldn’t need the help of an outside consultant. After all, they already had a team of people being paid salaries.

Thankfully, he pushed back. The board changed their tune when they saw what we had accomplished in a very short timeframe.

I coach and consult and I have my own coach. Why? Because I know I can get better.

#2 – They know what they want. But more importantly, they know what they don’t want. Try creating un-goals.

Instead of sitting down and writing a list of everything you want to happen or have in your life or your company next year, try creating a list of things you absolutely don’t want to happen.

What do you need to do make sure you don’t end up hitting those “un-goals?”

#3 – They understand what customer loyalty is and isn’t. They know and understand their customer base with extreme precision.

Customer Loyalty is never “owed” to your business. It’s never “automatic.” There’s been too much hoo-ha in the marketing world that great service and bending over backwards to every customer’s demand is how you build a great business – the zappos way.

It’s largely false for the majority of companies out there. Loyalty is a function of day to day marketing, and my best clients understand with great clarity who their best customers are, which clients to invest in, and what type of clients they can do without.

#4 – They invest in themselves.

Closely related to #1, I work with executives, business owners, and sales professionals, etc. The most successful invest heavily in themselves. This might include personal coaching, or mentoring. Or, it might mean attending courses and seminars throughout the year. My grandparents always expressed the importance of tithing – the act of giving 10% to the church. Here’s something equally as important: Personal Tithing. Are you investing at least 10% per year towards your own development and betterment? There’s no greater investment that pays such an incredible dividend.

There’s other reasons too, but I thought these were powerful and applicable.

Here’s an interesting question to think about: What commonalities have you noticed amongst your most successful clients this year?