Not long ago, a “friend” gave my name to a custom haberdasher. Not exactly something any of us is hoping our friends would do, right? Well, being a good friend and having an interest in male clothing I decided to meet with this gentleman, Jake Mansfield, of Tom James Inc.
Even before our meeting, Jake did some things very well (at least for me, his potential customer). He called me when I asked (not when he wanted to and not everyday of the week). He was courteous and simply seemed to have a sincere interest in showing me what he could do in my sartorial world. Several times we had to move my appointment. Each time Jake was understanding and flexible.
The world of custom tailoring is not really on my front burner, so I had little or no idea what to expect. Undaunted by my lack of experience, I arrived for my appointment on time and was met by Jake, also punctual. First, let me say that I was more than impressed with Jake’s outfit (I use the word outfit rather loosely as it was an extremely nice looking suit, with a shirt and tie that absolutely popped). I was also intrigued by Jake’s youth, maybe 27, 28, or so.
We settled into a conference room and Jake went to work. Now at this point, I’m thinking this, if nothing else, is going to be fun. This guy is going to give me his presentation: me, the presentation guru (self-proclaimed, of course). If nothing else, this young whipper-snapper might be entertaining.
Jake began with some small talk and gently weaved in a few questions about what I did for a living, how I liked to dress and how I got to be so handsome (well, okay, he didn’t bring up that last one). Next, he asked about my wardrobe (suits and shirts, mostly) and began taking inventory of what I owned. I sensed no judgment as I discussed my temporarily limited suit selection while explaining that a year ago, I had discarded my “fat” suits during my weight loss period. He tossed out an occasional observation or two but focused, mostly, on me and his quest to discover what I needed and what I liked.
Miraculously, next, he reached into his briefcase and his hand emerged holding…. yes…. an iPad. Okay, I thought, this might be more fun than I expected. With a methodical directness, perhaps a little surprising given his youth, Jake worked between a presentation on his tablet, the company’s website and a board of sample cloth pieces he had selected just for me.
With each suit he shared, he explained what was special about the suit, showed a picture of some Adonis-like guy in it, grabbed the accompanying swatch (which was larger than most, making it far more effective) and reinforced why this particular suit would be perfect for me. He asked what I thought and handled any comments, fears or obstacles I threw in his path.
His slides were highly visual and none contained more than three to five words. He was able to move seamlessly between his presentation, the website and the samples making me feel as though he were totally customizing this offering just for me. We covered price and he suggested some packaging options he felt would work for my budget and my closet.
Then, it dawned on me. He must have been in one of my presentation classes. He was sent by the International Council For Better Presentations to put me on the receiving end of what I teach. Jake had walked me through, the perfect knowledgeable, focused, customized presentation. Paraphrasing Fats Waller, he found out what I liked and how I liked it and gave it to me just that way. When asked how he came to create and deliver this fantastic presentation, he said, “I just know how I like being presented to.” I was/am impressed and yes, even a little vindicated.
This crap works. Even on me!
And once I lose this next twenty-five pounds, I getting some clothes!