Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Shoe shines and trade shows

I made my regular visit to Mr. B, the man who shines my shoes, and came away with yet another life lesson.

No, I'm not going to talk about hiring one of those shoe-shine girls for your trade show booth to build traffic. We're going to talk about customer contact and service.

Whenever I stop to see Mr. B instead of reading the paper while he works, we talk about things--politics, Dallas history, people. He's always careful about what he says as he is a gentleman. However, just by listening, I've learned about the history of the neighborhood, Catholic schools and churches in Dallas, the city council. Truthfully, I do the listening and he does the talking.

Which is my point here: be aware that your customer is going to talk and you need to listen. And your customer is listening when you talk. So be careful what you say. Stay on message. And always tell the truth.

As for quality: Mr. B never misses a beat, even while he's talking. The shoe care and shine are always the same and always excellent. The routine seldom varies and the product is very, very consistent. But in addition to the shine, he's engaged and entertained me, informed me and made me relax a bit before the day starts. And I look better for the rest of the day.

Nothing like a good shine to make a person feel good.

Lesson learned: listen, speak carefully and don't vary the quality of your product.


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