The other day my wife, Stephanie, and I went to pick up an earring and my dad’s old watch that I had taken to a local jeweler to be repaired.

There I ran into my friend Doug, the owner of the store, or as he puts it, head janitor.
Steph had never met Doug.

Quickly Doug had found a connection with Steph, they are both University of Illinois basketball fans and were soon singing the U of I fight song in the middle of the store.
He told me how in college he worked at the campus radio station.
During our conversation, I mentioned to Doug that I had lost weight and my wedding ring was falling off, but it has a continuous pattern, and I didn’t know if it could be resized without altering the pattern. Doug took us into the backroom and explained how he had a mechanism that could shrink my ring. I handed him my wedding ring and he compressed it down a whole size, then handed it back to me, no talk of the cost or payment.
I mentioned that I was interested in finding a Masonic pendant, but that I had not seen any in the store. So, Doug took us farther into the back area where no one goes — into his personal office. He told us the story of how families come to him when they lose a loved one and don’t know what to do with their Masonic jewelry. Doug personally buys their jewelry as a favor and tells them he will find a good home for it. Many times, he gives away jewelry to young guys who can’t afford to buy something for themselves. Then he pulled out several boxes full of old rings, pins, and pendants. Most jewelers would have bought it as scrap and had it melted down, but they have a deeper meaning to Doug.

A 24K gold pendant caught my eye, it was just what I had been looking for. He told me what he thought it was worth (well below market value). Doug told me to take it with me and come back whenever I had more time and pay him.

Doug taught me a great lesson in salesmanship.
He made a personal connection, found common interests,
solved a problem I had—free of charge, filled a want,
and made both me and Steph feel special.
He did not make it about price or his needs, he made it about us.
In short, Doug listened and made it about service.

Where am I going to get a chain for my pendant?
When I buy my wife a gift where am I going to shop?
That’s right. Doug will be my jewelry guy from now on, no matter what.
By playing the long game, Doug now has a customer for life.