“Sometimes You Wanna Go Where Everybody Knows Your Name”

| April 21, 2017 | Reply

Just about a year ago, I stopped into a Danbury, CT restaurant at happy hour with a few friends. The place, Barbarie’s Black Angus Grill, was fairly new and difficult to get in for dinner, so drinks seemed like a cool way to take a look.

I’ve met so many people in my life that it becomes difficult (especially these days) to remember everybody, so when the owner of the place greeted me at the door with a huge smile, handshake, gangsta-hug, and “hey man, how have you been?” greeting, I was SURE I knew him. I spent the next few hours at the bar, looking back at him, and trying to figure out it. After all, if I did know him it would be embarrassing to ask one of his employees who he was. I never figured it out.

I’ve driven past the place a dozen or so times during the past year, and I always think about “that guy at the door.”

The other night, I decided to take my wife out for dinner and was in the mood for a nice 20-oz ribeye (which I remembered from that Black Angus menu). From the parking lot, I started wondering about “that guy” again, and when we opened the door . . . there he was. Standing in the exact same spot, smiling, offering the friendly handshake and the same “hey man, how have you been?” greeting – this time to both me and my wife!

My conclusion is that I never actually knew the owner, Tommy Barbarie, (great name) but that he possesses that amazing talent for making people feel welcome. To think that he may have greeted every single customer that way, every night for over a year, is nuts. But THAT is what exemplifies an Appreciation Marketing champion!

Forget the fact that the dinner that night was other worldly; I’m just anxious to go back there to shake hands with the owner!

Whether you’re a restaurant owner, a Realtor, an insurance salesman, a doctor, a dentist, or a toll booth attendant. Your business is destined for success if you create an atmosphere like they do at Black Angus Grill.

 

Memories, Reflections and Feedback

| April 7, 2017 | Reply

Every once and a while I like to do a little reminiscing which might include watching videos of old (70’s or 80’s) songs, looking back at old photographs, or pulling up forgotten files on my computer. This morning I was doing the latter and came upon a whole bunch of testimonials of people who read Appreciation Marketing® back when we launched in the spring of 2009.

What a thrill it was to watch our first published book shoot to #1 on Amazon.com’s national best-seller list, supplanting a pretty good author in Malcom Gladwell and his classic, Outliers, (albeit for only three days).  

In retrospect, for those who haven’t yet read Appreciation Marketing® it may have been inappropriately named. We didn’t hire a professional or run any focus groups (I didn’t even know what a focus group was) and we didn’t really ask a whole lot of advice. We wanted a title with the word “appreciation” in it. We thought first about Appreciation Nation, but thought that sounded too much like a political book. So we typed “Appreciation Marketing” into Google and got back zero hits. Seriously. Zero. So we got excited and that became our trademarked brand. Incidentally, I just tried it again and got back < insert smiley-face emoji here > over 50 million!

So we have it – “Appreciation Marketing®; How to Achieve Greatness Through Gratitude.”

The challenge (there are no problems) is that now it sounds like a business and/or marketing book. It’s really not. It’s a personal development book. Yes, it will help you immeasurably in business but it will also enhance your personal life which, in my opinion, is far more important. Our work is really about helping you to “Achieve Greatness Through Gratitude.”

Anyway, back to the whole inspiration for writing this blog post. I was looking through our customer feedback on Amazon.com and, of course, focused on the ONE negative comment. First off, I’m all about constructive criticism and believe in telling somebody if there’s a problem (in a friendly way) if it might help them to improve. I just have a difficult time understanding people who choose to make nasty comments. Especially if you’re leaving a mean-spirited comment about a book on appreciation and gratitude! I just thought that was funny (in a sad way).

This guy suggested that you should save yourself some time and just read the two words on the sticky note on our book cover.Those two words are “Thank You.” I wonder what his objective was. Did it make him happy? Did he hope it would make us happy? Did he think it would make anonymous readers happy? It probably wasn’t intended to make anybody happy at all. What then? Oh well.

My hope is that you will think about that before you comment on somebody’s Facebook post, or especially on somebody’s business page. What is your motive?

It was interesting advice, nonetheless.

All I can think to respond is, “Thank You!” Oh, and that it might help him to go back and read the rest of the book! Remember that old adage about “judging a book by its cover?”

Anti-Appreciation Marketing :(

| January 3, 2017 | Reply

As we travel the world and teach people the principles of Appreciation Marketing®, we always like to “take the high road” and always speak in glowing terms when we tell our stories. First of all, it’s good karma, and mostscreen-shot-2017-01-03-at-1-16-46-pm people can relate to a story about how somebody improved his or her life profoundly by exercising the laws of appreciation and gratitude.

However, sometimes a story is best told in reverse.

Case in point, I needed some firewood this winter. I only purchase wood every two or three years (and I always wait until the last minute) so I don’t have a regular supplier. So, I opened up the local newspaper and saw a whole list of people selling firewood. It’s all about the same price ($200 a chord) seasoned and split.

I called the first number (starting in my own town first) and I left a voicemail.

I called the second number (also from my town) and left another voicemail.

I figured I’d stop there, and the first one to call me back tonight gets my business. Well, neither called me back that night.

The next day I called another number and got a live person. He’s a few towns over, but can deliver it tomorrow. Perfect.

The wood gets dumped out in my driveway on Sunday morning, I pay in cash, and then I commence to stacking the wood under my deck. For those of you who have never stacked a chord of wood . . . it’s a lot. After a few hours, I finished the chore and figured I’d go in and light my first fire of the year. Guess what? I couldn’t get the wood to burn. It was heavy, it was wet, and (as my father commented) it was “green.”
The next day I was sitting in the waiting room at my doctor’s office and thought about my new “wood guy.” I struggled with contacting him because I didn’t really have a solution. The wood was delivered and I already stacked it up. I don’t want him to come take it away. But I figured I’d text him and see what he might say or do.

I texted, “I’m pretty disappointed with that firewood, Mark. I can’t burn it.”

After sending it, I sat back and wondered how an expert of Appreciation Marketing might reply. I was thinking that if it were me, I might reply something like, “I’m so sorry Mr Wyatt. How can I make it right?” Maybe I’d offer a partial refund, or drop off some extra (better) wood.

Here’s what I got. “Really? You are the first and only customer in 20 years to say that.”

Hmm. Just lucky I guess? Does that reply make my firewood any good? Does that reply have anything to do with my disappointment? Does it do anything to put me at ease? And the most important question of all . . . WILL I EVER DO BUSINESS WITH THAT GUY AGAIN? Would you?

Sorry, Mark from Roxbury, CT. You became a blog post. As my eleven-year-old daughter would say, “Epic fail.”

-Tommy