bakeryI love the Arthur Avenue section of the Bronx. It’s as authentic an old-fashioned Italian neighborhood as they still exist around here. No big box stores, all family-run storefronts.Each specializing in something amazing. Usually food-related, and hence that’s why I love the place.

A certain bakery we love is off to a side street, out of the main shopping area, and well worth the walk (and carry of the bags of breads we buy). The women behind the counter all smile all the time, the owner is often sitting in the periphery, watching soccer on the Italian TV Channel.

I make it a habit of complimenting his products, as I admire the love and work that goes into baking bread. I told him we come into the Bronx from Connecticut to stock up once a month. His son went to college in our town, as he recalls telling us the last time we were there. A relationship started then, more of it formed today.

This time, as we prepared to leave, he called out, “Are you forgetting something?” We looked around to see if we dropped a glove or left a bag on the counter.

And he wrapped up a bread for us to take, as well as what we just bought.

Appreciation and warmth of spirit. I’m hooked on this neighborhood store throwback to genuine relationship selling.

The LinkedIn hook, you ask yourself?  Give of yourself. Come across as the real you. Be appreciative in your demeanor. Start, or be part of, the relationship. Have a superior product or service orientation.

They will come back for more. And refer you. Don’t forget this.