It started with my lawn mower repair guy. He told me I had to stop using gasoline with ethanol in it in my lawn equipment or I would become his best customer! Yeah… Just try and find gas without ethanol. No, seriously. Try it.
I finally found a place that sold it about 3 miles from my house. A little old-fashioned service station, kind of tucked away, that I hadn’t ever noticed before. And attached to the station was a little hot dog stand boasting “Authentic Detroit Coney Dogs.” Well, I wasn’t hungry, but I strolled into the place just out of curiosity. And that’s when I met him.
There was nobody in the place (it was 3:00 in the afternoon) except a lone guy behind the counter with a big smile. “Hi, I’m Mark. I own the joint. What’s your name?” I told him my name was Randy. And I never had to tell him again.
I decided right off the bat that Mark was the nicest, most personable guy I had ever met. I hope you get to meet somebody as friendly and upbeat as Mark. Everybody needs to know somebody like that. I went back to that little place to eat again and again for years. And Mark always greeted me by name and treated me like I was the only customer in the place. He remembered what I liked and how I liked it prepared, and the details of my life that I shared. When I took my wife and kids there, he remembered their names too, and asked about them every time he saw me.
When I hadn’t shown up for a while, and I returned, he would say, “I’ve been thinking about you, Randy. I had a feeling you’d be back soon. I’ve missed you. How’ve you been?”
And he did this for every one of the hundreds of customers that walked in and out of his hotdog stand on a regular basis. Had there been one, he would undoubtedly have won the “International I’m Nicer than You” competition hands down – easily the nicest guy in the world.
In an age where everyone seems cut off from everyone else, where nearly everyone you see is talking on a cell phone, texting, or has ear buds in his ears, it’s refreshing when we meet someone who cares enough to remember our name and who genuinely seems to care about us.
And, by the way, if you’re working to build a clientele, genuine caring and concern is actually very good for business.