I recently read an e-newsletter from a friend of mine, Jim Mathis that was so good I asked permission to share a summary with you. Here it is…
Jim was attending a conference in Portland and flew across the continent to get there. In flight, he started feeling sick – we’re talking spending much of the flight in the cramped quarters of the airplane restroom. Not fun.
When Jim arrived at his destination, he limped into the downtown hotel, struggled into the lobby and practically fell across the registration desk. “Checking in?” Frank, the man at the registration desk asked with a grin… he could tell how bad Jim felt. “Yes, but not for long. I think I’ve caught some ‘bug’ on the trip here and I am probably leaving on the first flight home tomorrow.” “I’m so sorry,” Frank said. “I will do everything I can to make your short stay as comfortable as I can.” He quickly checked Jim in and summoned a bellman to assist with luggage to the room. Once in the room Jim fell onto the bed and laid there for about 20 minutes, still aching all over. Suddenly a knock at the door, and Jim found himself facing a smiling young woman in a hotel uniform carrying a tray. “My name is Erin.” Frank said you aren’t feeling well, so we made you a bowl of vegetable beef soup and I put some crackers, a Sprite and a mint. There is also a card that we all signed to help you feel better.” Impressive huh?
You see, people who add value to others become great success stories whose reputations and heritages are remembered for years. Anyone can sell, but it takes a person who adds value to people to keep their trust. Business leaders trust people who can bring resources and advice and added value to the table. My friend Jim was speechless! “Now you eat all of that soup, Mr. Mathis, or you won’t feel better!” she scolded, like a loving mother would. After a few minutes, Jim got up, sat down, and ate the soup. Then he felt like taking a long, hot shower. Once out, he was feeling better (Dang, Erin was right!)
Frank made an impression on Jim (as did Erin and the bellman). He tells this story as often as he can. Why? Because when people go the extra mile to add value to your life, it sticks with you.
Frank’s job was to register guests with a smile, and make sure they had their room available. That’s all. Not order up free soup, send it up to a room, or have everyone on the staff sign a get-well card. I wish we all could be like Frank… Jim was so moved that he called the hotel chain’s customer service line when he got home and complimented Frank to the representative. She was very impressed and assured Jim that she would pass his compliment to his manager and the hierarchy.
When someone adds value to your life, you should go out of your way to express gratitude. They usually aren’t looking for a compliment, but it might hit with the right person and who knows the benefit, right?
Several years ago there was a college student who studied hard to prepare for a final exam… When the exam was passed out, he noticed it consisted only of a single sheet of paper which was blank on both sides. After the exam was passed out the professor got up and said, “I’ve taught you everything I can about business in the last 10 weeks, but the most important message, the most important question, is this: What’s the name of the lady who cleans this building?” The class didn’t know the answer, and all failed the exam.
Walt Bettinger, CEO of Charles Schwab was the student. He was a senior with a perfect 4.0 grade point average prior to that fateful test. Remembering the day Bettinger says, “Her name was Dottie. I’d seen her, but I’d never taken the time to ask her name.” Walt could have been bitter losing his perfect academic record in such a fashion, and I am sure he was disappointed. Instead, he chose to learn from the experience, stating “It was the only test I ever failed, and I got the ‘B’ I deserved…I’ve tried to know every Dottie I’ve worked with ever since.” Everyone is important and worthy of respect and value.
Any time you can do more to add value to other people, you will be enhanced in life. Customers remember when a person goes out of their way to assist them and remember details about them to add value to the relationship.
Oh, about Frank. Ten months after Jim’s hotel experience in Portland, he came back to the city to keynote for a company. He had a break one day, so he walked several blocks down the street to the hotel he had stayed in months earlier. He walked into the lobby and a woman greeted me and asked the cheerful, “Checking in?” “No,” I’m looking for Frank.” She obviously didn’t get that question often and said, “Frank Who?” “Frank, the registration guy who works here.” “There’s no one here by that name.” she answered. Suddenly it was like a light went on in her head. “Oh, you mean FRANK! He doesn’t work here any longer. He got promoted to hotel manager at another one of our hotels. And now as the famous radio host, Paul Harvey used to say, “And now you know… the rest of the story.”
People like being treated special. *Leaders who add value to people become great success stories whose reputations and heritages are remembered for years. Add value to your team, your customers, your clients and watch the results roll in.