Stargazing

Understanding Who the Real “Stars” Are in Our ECP Eyes

I’ve been an ECP on the Upper West Side in NYC, and for the better part of the last 30 years.

Over the years, my Manhattan store, The Eye Man, has seen a virtual who’s who of television, stage and screen walk through our doors.

I remember a particular client, an attractive woman in her 50’s that asked me one day if she could bring her husband in for a pair of glasses.  She intimated that he was a bit of a celebrity yet didn’t disclose his name.  To accommodate her, I told her we could keep the shop open late one evening so that he could shop undisturbed.  So, one brisk, fall evening after the shop had officially closed, I waited for our after-hours appointment and opened the door to one of America’s beloved anchors, Dan Rather. 

I greeted him as I would greet any customer, with a warm smile, a handshake and then quickly locked the door behind him.  Then I set about my business.  He was here after all because he needed a pair of frames and no amount of swooning over his TV fame or news accomplishments was going to get that job done.  I felt he appreciated our professionalism and although there were a dozen things that ran through my head to ask him about some of his most recent news features, I concentrated on helping him find what he was looking for with regard to my field of expertise…eyewear.

Dan and his wife spent approximately an hour with me that night, and what struck me most about him  was how interested he was in everyone else.  He asked specific questions, and he really listened.  He didn’t posture, he didn’t demand extra attention, he was humble, and gracious and in an extraordinary way, he was very “normal”.  I think he appreciated that I treated him like I would treat any customer in the store.  I was attentive, but not overbearing.  I was interested, but not stupefied by his celebrity. I offered my opinion when asked and I helped him get what he came for.  In return, he gave me something…a reminder of the power of asking provoking questions and truly listening and how important that is in making people feel understood and valued.

There have been many more stars over the years, and for a few minutes or an hour, each lit up my store like a Broadway Marquis while they perused our collections. I think that the thing that these chance encounters has taught me the most, is that the real superstars in our stores are those “regular” people, the everyday men and women that share our names and the experiences they have within our stores with their families and friends. 

These people are the silent sales people that go unnoticed, yet many have given out your card or referred you to a friend and have added to your business. So, remember to make every customer that walks through your door, that calls you, or you interact with on social media feel like a VIP.  They’ll leave feeling like a superstar and will help lead you to your own type of blockbuster success.