While in Portland (Oregon, not Maine) this week, my husband decided to see if he could score an iPhone 5 for me. He did more than that, he found Jason at the Radio Shack in downtown Portland. Jason made our phone buying experience pleasant and memorable.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that walking into a retail store to buy an iPhone is likely to be an exercise in futility. Nonetheless, some of us don’t like buying these things online and having them shipped. I thought my wait for a new phone would be longer but alas, my husband and Jason intervened.

Jason and Michael (aforementioned spouse) conspired to get me a new phone while I was in a meeting. Jason was so confident that we would return to buy the phone that he “held” it for us. A practice that I’m sure violates some rule. His judgment about my husband was right on and we returned, as promised, the following morning. In short order (well, ok not that short), we had traded my old iPhone 3 for a 5 and my husband’s old BB for an iPhone 4S. We may now both talk to Suri but she has declined to pass messages between us.

Jason did several things amazingly well. Whether you are selling phones, million dollar houses or consulting services, these principles apply.

1. Jason paid attention! Amazing I know. He made eye contact, he learned enough about us to make good suggestions, he didn’t interrupt us when we were talking.

2. He gave my husband a lagniappe, that is something extra. He offered some restaurant suggestions and they were great. He went out of his way to help us with something, even though it didn’t increase his sales in the short term.

3. He made suggestions about products and services that truly benefitted us. He steered us away from those he thought weren’t as high value and told us why.

4. While he was helping us a lot of people came into the store. The other person working with him was brand new but he encouraged him just to greet people and find out what they needed. The new guy did a great job. He had to ask questions, but Jason answered them without missing a beat. He was helping us, but never forgot that he was running the store at the same time.

5. Jason not only helped us but he provided a role model for the others working there. A model of service and civility.

Radio Shack, you have a gem in Jason. I hope you know it.

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