Nancy has a bucket list of places she wants to visit and things she wants to do. We checked one item off her bucket list recently when we visited Mount Rushmore. If you ever visit South Dakota, I know you will be impressed with how helpful and friendly the people are there. I get the feeling they know their tourist season is short and they know they are in a service business.

We were fortunate to be able to attend the first evening show of the season on May 13. As we walked in patriotic music was playing. When it was time for the show, a park ranger came on stage and shared with the audience his thoughts about Mount Rushmore and its history. Then a movie played discussing each of the four presidents on Mount Rushmore and the history of the carving. Then Mount Rushmore was lighted. Nancy took wonderful photographs, but the ones she took when Mount Rushmore was lit did not come out.

The experience once again made me proud to be an American and made me forget about the deep divisions in our country.
We also had a chance to drive through the Black Hills and Badlands. That was very enjoyable.  Here is one of the many one lane tunnels in Custer State Park.

Over 25 years ago I helped a contractor who widened part of the road from Rapid City to Mount Rushmore. When I was there I was treated to a wonderful meal at a restaurant in Hill City called the Alpine Inn. The proprietor then and now is German native, Waldraut (Wally, pronounced “Volly”) Matush.

I remembered the restaurant more than 25 years later and we dined there early on Saturday night. Even though May is not the “season,” the restaurant was packed and we gladly waited for over 30 minutes.

Why did I remember the restaurant and why was it packed early on a Saturday night a month before the throng of tourists arrive? They have no dinner menu. You can have a small filet mignon for $9.95 or a large filet mignon for $11.95. Either way they come with a wedge salad (one of the best I have ever eaten) and a baked potato. There are many selections on the dessert menu, most costing $5.00. Another thing that makes the restaurant unique is they do not take credit cards.

The steaks are not literally the best in the world, but they are the best I have ever eaten for $9.95 or $11.95. The desserts are best I have ever eaten for $5.00.

Two mornings we had lattes at Slate Creek Grille in Hill City. Big John is the proprietor. I regularly have lattes at Starbucks and I make my own at my office. John roasts the coffee beans and makes the  Slate Creek lattes the old fashion way. My large size included 4 shots of expresso. One day for breakfast I ordered the  Dave Cake, which was Buttermilk pancake with jalapenos and topped With our creamy sausage gravy. It was truly a unique (and absolutely unhealthy) dish.

What is the point for you? Many lawyers, like many restaurants, do not stand out in a crowd. They are not unique or memorable in a positive way. Many lawyers, like many owners of restaurants, do not have that personal connection that Wally and Big John have and do not work at building rapport with clients. Finally, like the people of South Dakota, treat clients and referral sources like they are the most important people in your professional world.

One way to be memorable is to focus on a niche market. If you take that approach, it is important that your clients perceive you to be the best in their world, which is different than literally being the best in the world. One way to personally connect and build rapport with clients and referral sources is to simply be interested in them. Sometimes thoughtful extraordinary service with a smile goes a long way.