Guest Poster: Phil Gerbyshak
The following is a guest post from Phil Gerbyshak.
Phil Gerbyshak teaches sales people and leaders to position themselves as an expert in their niche to up their influence, impact and income. If you’re looking to be more effective using LinkedIn, get your complimentary copy of LinkedIn Daily Dozen and tune in to Conversations with Phil, where Phil interviews today’s business leaders to find out the straight talk on the latest business issues affecting you.
Adam’s Note: The article below began as a Facebook post by my friend Phil Gerbyshak. When I first read the post, I thought to myself “wow, what a great story,” but when I thought about it further (how often does a post on Facebook make you do that?), I realized what a powerful lesson the story had to teach people at all organizational levels. In this brief story are lessons about the importance of focusing on the person in front of you, the impact of making human connections, and, of course, the value of having heart.
And now, Phil…
I’ve got a heart condition
This morning I splurged and got my shoes shined before my first meeting. I had an hour to spare and when I have the extra time and cash, it’s a nice treat for me.
I love to learn the story behind the person who has chosen to shine shoes for their vocation. Today I met Jimmie – with an IE, not a Y. Jimmie has been shining shoes for the past 15 years, the past 4 at Oxford Exchange in Tampa. He admits he’s not a 5 minute shine, and that’s what some people want. Instead, he’s a craftsman and it takes a full 30 minutes to shine a pair of shoes, at least it did with my pair. That’s what I want.
Jimmie started by asking my name, and he shook my hand, and looked me in the eye. “Nice to meet you Mr. Phil.” I like that. He got my attention right away.
Then he tucked in my laces, and rolled up my pants, so they didn’t get any shoe shine on them.
Now he started the process of his shoe shine. He started by cleaning my shoes. He removed all the sand, salt and other random debris that had grown into the leather on my shoes first, so they could take his shine.
Then he put the lotion on the shoes. Leather lotion is perfect for keeping the leather supple and like new, and it extends the life of shoes by a few years. Often when I get a shoe shine, they skip this part because it takes the longest. Jimmie made sure every inch of my shoes, every nook and cranny, every eyelet, got attention with the leather lotion, and he rubbed it in until you couldn’t see it anymore.
Jimmie asked me where I was from (Wisconsin) and he asked me what brought me to Tampa (the weather). He said “You mean a girl?” Technically, he’s right. My girlfriend did say she wanted to move somewhere warmer and she’d like me to come with. Jimmie read me like a book.
We talked quite a bit more as Jimmie moved on to the polishing of my shoes, the buffing, and the final touches to make sure the color of the shoe shine stayed for a while. I thanked him and tipped him well for his wonderful craftsmanship.
Then he shook my hand and smiled wide and said “Phil Gerbyshak – you have a heart condition. You have a good heart. I can tell you’re a good guy.”
In just 30 minutes, Jimmie had sized me up for a heart condition, and I know why: I put my phone away, I didn’t take the paper, and instead, I was fully present with Jimmie. I asked questions. I paid attention. I smiled. I laughed with him.
Simple really. You can have a heart condition too. Just be fully present with whomever you’re with. Smile. Laugh. Share your heart condition with a friend. With a stranger.
Next time you’re in Tampa, stop by the Oxford Exchange. Tell Jimmie Phil sent you.
I’ve got a heart condition. What about you?
By Adam Toporek. Adam Toporek is an internationally recognized customer service expert, keynote speaker, and workshop leader. He is the author of Be Your Customer's Hero: Real-World Tips & Techniques for the Service Front Lines (2015), as well as the founder of the popular Customers That Stick® blog and co-host of the Crack the Customer Code podcast.