Even if you aren't a professional speaker, an actor, or a social media “influencer”...if you are a business owner, no matter where you are, consider yourself “on stage”. Why? Because one never knows when or where you will meet your next customer, business partner, employee, or friend. Case in point...
It was ten years ago this week, and I was on my way to Long Branch, New Jersey to deliver a social media marketing presentation to over 500 entrepreneurs. (Yes, I've been doing social media marketing for that long, and even longer!)
The best way to get to Long Branch from my home in the Midwest was via a flight to Newark, and then a 2 hour train ride from the airport to the “Jersey Shore” of Long Branch, NJ. My flight arrived late in the evening, so when I boarded the train, it was already dark.
I'm a “read my book and mind my own business” kind of traveler, so that's what I was doing as the train was rolling southward. BUT, I do make it a deliberate practice to maintain situational awareness at all times.
It wasn't long before my senses were tingling, telling me something was off. Looking around, I noticed a group of not-so-savory-looking characters had boarded the train car. I also noticed that several rows in front of me sat a couple of young ladies who appeared to be VERY uncomfortable with the darkness outside the train...and even less comfortable with the sudden new passengers inside the train.
I decided to gather up my things and move seats. I wasn't sure if me moving closer to the fair travelers would make their discomfort situation worse, but I figured if didn't matter. I strive to be the guy who can be relied upon in an emergency, so if something happened, I wanted to be in the right position to react and intercept.
After a few minutes, I broke the ice with the ladies traveling together. We had a nice talk, and it turns out they were business owners traveling to the very same event where I was headed to speak and coach! Nothing bad actually happened that night...so the three of us chatted the evening away as the train rolled down the tracks...
A few days later, when I was on that stage, guess who was clapping and cheering the loudest? That's right, the wonderful people I met on the train before I ever knew they would be students at the seminar!
You just never know where, when or how you will meet someone important to your business. So treat everyone you meet with kindness, respect, and dignity. Your kindness will be returned. In my case it was validated with applause, but in your case it may be something even more valuable to your business.
As I mentioned in the beginning of this story, this true event took place a decade ago. Just this week, one of those ladies from the train reached out to me and said “I've told the story many, many times of the nice man who made me feel safe on a very scary evening in New Jersey.”
I was so honored that a decade later she was still telling stories about some random guy on a train. She gave me permission to share this story, as well as her original post about it (see below). So I wanted to recognize her. Her name is Robin Mcintire, and she is a successful wellness coach for women. Check Robin's business out at https://robinmcintire.com, and let her know “that guy from the train in New Jersey told me about you”!
I’m always on the lookout for examples of businesses that provide something extra in their marketing or customer service so I can share them with you. Who knew I would find it at a Best Western in Branson, Missouri.
Researching a recent weekend getaway with my kids, TripAdvisor said the #1 rated hotel in Branson was the Best Western Music Capital Inn. I admit to being a bit suspicious of the results, as my last stay at a Best Western was probably 15 or 20 years ago…and it wasn’t a pleasant one. My impression of Best Western was “cheap, dirty, and thin walls”. However, I have yet to be disappointed in TripAdvisor reviews, so I called the hotel and booked the room. They gave me an excellent rate on a huge family suite…on a holiday weekend no less.
We checked in, and the hotel was indeed clean, nice and perfect for our needs. Everything met with expectations and matched the reviews. So what was the “something extra”?
Upon walking into the room, I noticed on the dresser was a Bible open to Proverbs. That open Bible was “Customer Service Distinction #1” as most hotels don’t display the Bible, they just stick it in the nightstand drawer. In fact, I’m noticing more and more hotels doing away with supplying a Bible in the room at all.
Customer Service Distinction #2 was the card that was with the Bible. It read as follows:
To Our Guests
In ancient times there was a prayer for “The Stranger Within Our Gates.” Because we care about our guests, we pray that God will grant you peace and rest while you are under our roof.
May this room and hotel be your “second” home and may those you love be near you in your thoughts and dreams.
May your stay with us be an enjoyable one and may you feel as comfortable as if you were in your own home. Amen.
Team Members of
In my 20 years of business travel, I’ve stayed at some of the top hotels in the world, including Ritz Carltons, Mandarin Orientals, and many other 5 star hotels in the U.S. and Asia. I’ve been greeted and made welcome by some of the best trained staff in the world. Yet with a simple gesture, the little Best Western in Branson made me and my kids feel welcome and blessed for staying there.
Marty M. Fahncke is an expert in multi-channel direct response marketing with over 30 years experience. Having been involved in marketing campaigns that have generated over one BILLION dollars in sales, Marty has seen what works...and what doesn't.