2012 NWFA Wood Flooring Expo: Day one
ORLANDO — Bill Griffin, president of Cleaning Consultant Services Inc., acts as our roving reporter at the National Wood Floor Association’s 2012 Wood Flooring Expo.
ORLANDO — The National Wood Floor Association’s (NWFA) annual Expo, which runs from April 11-12, 2012, opened yesterday in Orlando at the Gaylord Hotel Convention Center. Over 500 people attended the keynote address by Ken Schmidt, a former marketing executive who was instrumental in bringing Harley Davidson Corporation back from the brink of failure after it filed for bankruptcy in 1985. He was coauthor of the book, 100 Years of Harley Davidson.
His presentation, “Get Your Motor Running - Turning Crisis into Opportunity,” was well-received by the crowd and was full of useful tidbits for success that can be applied to the marketing and growth of any business.
Dressed in jeans and a leather jacket and lacing his presentation with well-placed profanity, Schmidt challenged attendees to “go home with a story” and it better be a good one. If you’re not telling a good story, no one is listening and nothing is moving forward.
“No story, no brand and no business. You need a story about who you are, what you do and why you’re special. Everyone needs to leverage the basic driving human needs to their advantage, and a story is the best way to do it,” said Schmidt.
Here are some other tidbits from his presentation:
- Every motorcycle is the same to someone who doesn’t know the difference or ride a Harley.
- Competing on price only leads you to bankruptcy.
- Quality and service alone are not enough to close the sale.
- I’ve got an American flag tattooed on a part of my body that most of you would never want to see.
- Honda look alike (the Shadow) costs $8,000; a Harley costs $24,000. You can’t sell a higher priced product or service based on logic; it needs to be done with the heart.
- We are not a rational species; we don’t use our brains for many decisions. We use our heart and our gut — that’s where emotional decisions are made.
- Harley Davidson manufacturing is located right next door to Miller beer. There’s a reason why bikes and beer go together.
- The human eye is drawn to things that look different and catch ones attention, otherwise we just rollover it. There has to be something to catch ones attention or we don’t even slow down to take a look. If you want to be seen, you have to be different or you’ll blend into the background.
- Websites cost a lot of money, whether is good site or a bad site, better to build a good one.
- If everyone goes to the market the same way, no one will stand out or be seen separately from their competition.
- Sturgis, South Dakota, during the first week of August: 250,000 to 750,000 in a town with a normal population of 7,000, not the place for a family vacation. The event is not advertised or promoted, yet it’s been going on for 72 years, all via word of mouth because of the stories people tell about being there.
- If you want to attract attention, you have to be willing to do things radically different than everyone else.
- You don’t want customers; you want disciples for your product or service who will tell a story to others about their experience.
- The faster pride kicks in, the sooner you’ll close the sale.
- When the conversation ends, the ball stops rolling.
- What do the people who do business with you say about you? If all you give them is what they expect and paid for, they will not tell a story about the experience to others and you won’t get any referrals.
- Riding motorcycles is only part of the sport.
- Harley introduces its new products at the Sturgis Rally each year. We let people ride a Harley to convert potential customers into disciples.
- The most magnetically attractive of all human traits is passion and enthusiasm, people can’t resist the attraction. These are two of the most modeled traits. Within seconds, people emulate these traits when in the presence of those who exhibit them.
- Whiners, dorks, dullards, nobody’s attracted to them, it’s just the opposite. We all hate them. Human avoidance kicks in and we get away as fast as we can. We put our head down, we look the other way and we walk faster in the other direction.
- In 1985, things weren’t going well for Harley Davidson: We went from 90 percent to 2 percent of the market. Lightweight motor cycles, Japanese bikes were killing us.
- We were all selling the same way, saying the same thing, looking alike. It was a recipe for disaster.
- We tried to build market preference based on quality; problem was that no one is selling junk. The customer expects quality from everyone. When everyone says or does the same things, no one listens.
- You have five seconds to build customer preference; don’t waste your time telling potential customers thing they already know.
- You need to go to market differently; numbers and data won’t do it.
- To make a sale, the customer has to say or think, “I like that, I trust you, I like you, I want that, I need that.” These are gut decisions that close sales.
- Let your competition sell with logic, you need to sell for the heart. It’s how the world works.
- What do you do to justify the price difference? People need a reason to spend more.
- I’d rather see my sister in a whore house, than my brother on a Honda; just kidding.
- How can we sell more products? We need to change the way we sell the products.
- When we first suggested letting people test drive our bikes, the lawyers said there is too much liability. We said, we’re already in bankruptcy, our franchisees and supplier are already suing us. What the worst thing that can happen, have a drill press, get in line, that’s the best we can do and it worked. Show us your motorcycle license or anything that remotely resembles it and go for a ride.
- After a test drive, the question we asked people was: “What do we need to change on this bike to get you to buy it?” 100 percent of the time, they will answer the question. We write down the answers and then offer to do it. Ask the customer what they want you to do, write it down and then let them see you do it and you will close the sale.
- We were in the metal bending business. By asking the right questions, our add-on sales went from $30,000 to over $3 billion a year.
- It’s a process, not a sales pitch.
- End the advertising.
- When the chin drops, it’s over. The next thing that happens is that people leave.
- What every person is saying: “Look at me. Look at me. I am the single most important person in the world.” Validation, we want others to think we are amazing, cool, so I know I am who I think I am. Humans need validation, eye contact, give me a thumbs up.
- Can you even find a living body to talk to today? We need human beings to make us feel special about ourselves. We do things to attract attention. Ever try that with an ATM?
- The faster we recognize and validate others, the faster they engage with us.
- Ask questions and people will answer them. Take notes. Validation.
- Don’t stand around waiting for others to come to you.
- Your mailing piece should be different (size, color, feel,) so it doesn’t get lost. Make it personal, include a handwritten note.
- What are you doing that’s likeable, different and unpredictable?
- We engage people in conversation, write down what they say in front of them and then act on it.
- Job one is creating the culture and brand and it must be positive, enthusiastic and passionate about it.
- We don’t care about how everyone else does it. If others start doing what we are doing it, we will stop doing it.