It’s Not Gone Until It Is

My 14-year-old daughter Gabby just had surgery to repair a labral hip tear as a result of a sports injury. We had six months of trying to diagnose the problem, one failed surgery due to an allergy to a drug, and finally a successful surgery this week.

My Gabby girl. Please don’t tell her I posted this picture, she will kick my butt.

She has missed her volleyball season, basketball season and now her softball season, sitting the bench cheering on her team. For a 14 year old that isn’t so easy to do. She is entitled to be sad about this, I know I would have been, HOWEVER, you have to stop it at some point and say….you weren’t diagnosed with a disease. Right?

My point today is to say that I take things for granted. The health of my family is the most recent add to that list. How many of us wake up and say, thank you God for letting me go to the bathroom without using a walker. Thank you for allowing me to see well enough to drive my car to work. Thank you for the fact that I am not taking medications to deal with depression. Sometimes we don’t appreciate something until we don’t have it anymore and that should stop.

Take a minute each day and be grateful for the things that you just expect to have.

Big THANK YOU to Dr. Chris Shaw and his rockstar staff. They did an amazing job with Gabby and caring for our entire family during the process. Today, they move on to another patient and I’m not really sure if they understand the impact they have on the people they help, so hopefully, this note lands with them.

I used to live at the base of Snowbird in Salt Lake City and I remember sitting at stop lights just looking around in awe of the scenery. Then I noticed that I was the only one doing it. When you have something great you tend to forget how great it is until maybe it’s not there. Look around today and take notice.

A special thanks to our good friend Dr. Derek Miller in Joplin for sticking by us through the entire process. You are incredible.

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Professor Perry Goes Bigger And Better!

My friend David Perry did it again by putting on a record-breaking Funiture Today Bedding Conference that hosted more people than ever before. Not only is Dave one of the hardest working journalist in the industry, he is a cash machine for the Furniture Today ownership team. I hope he has a corner office in that building.

Read to the bottom today for my favorite part of this event; you will love it.

This year was no different than past years, some of the sessions were great, some were not as great, but the real value is always delivered by what you learn from old friends and new friends over cocktails and at dinner. Here are a few things I took away from my time in Florida:

  • The store is the brand. I happen to agree in most cases unless you are Tempur-Pedic who has earned a different kind of respect from the consumer.
  • Joe Alexander with Nest Bedding is one of my new industry heroes. He has great swag and has accomplished a lot with his company. If you want it go take it, and deliver value to others along the way. So simple. So true.
  • Imported mattress are now accounting for about 20% of the industries finished mattresses in the United States. I only heard that a few times but WOW?! More on that subject in a future blog.
  • Equalman or Eric Qualman his alter ego is still bringing his “A” game. I had lunch with Eric several years ago and was impressed with his approach to digital. He was the key note to kick off the conference this year and didn’t disappoint.  Bottom line; Social media isn’t a choice. The only choice you have is how well you do it and if you think there is no ROI to social at this point, you might be past the point of help. Get Socialnomics or watch THIS VIDEO and learn your way in.
  • Bed in the box is here to stay, the only question is how big will it get? Brick and mortar has some serious advantages, but to underestimate this channel would be a mistake.

As always, the Retail Bedding Giant presentation dinner was a lot of fun. This year they honored Levin Furniture, Mattress Direct, and The Mattress Hub. I really enjoy hearing stories about how people built their business, and why they got into the mattress business. Each one of these guys has done an incredible job representing this industry so to all of them I say well done and congratulations! I had a brief moment to speak to Joe Fleckenstein with Levin Furniture so Joe if your reading this, two things. 1. Your humility inspires me. 2. Damn your tall. 🙂

Honoring Ed…Karl Glassman, Larry McKay, Ed Lilly, Kevin Toman, Mark Quinn

The final award of the night was delivered to one of my mentors and the past CEO of Serta Inc., Ed Lilly. I worked for Ed over 15 years ago. He brought me in at the age of 28 to be the VP of National accounts managing Montgomery Wards and Sam’s Club which accounted for about 30% of the companies volume at the time. I’m not really sure what he saw in me to trust me with that but to say that I am grateful to him and Jeff VanTuyle would be an understatement. Unless you were there, you can’t appreciate what Ed really accomplished for Serta and for the industry but I can tell you this…he was what every leader should aspire to be. He had something like 15 different maverick owners of Serta Licensees all wanting to go their different direction and somehow, he brought them together, drove the heck out of the business, created a national brand, and placed his people at the top of his priority list.  Ed and Nancy, I love you guys and I appreciate what you did for me more than I can express. Sitting at your table and sharing the night with you was an honor.

BUT THE BEST PART WAS…

Can’t show you pictures of the kids for legal reasons but here is our awesome group.

At the end of the first day they had a team building session sponsored by E.S. Kluft. I have to admit, like many others, I really wanted to skip this as I have done a lot of “team building” crap in my career and my e-mail was screaming my name. But I went because Nelson Bercier with Sit’N Sleep convinced me it was going to be worthwhile because Howard Galant promised him it would be. Howard and I have been friends for as long as I have been in this industry so that was good enough for me. You were put into one of 15 groups and were instructed to build the bicycle sitting in the middle of your circle. After we built these bikes the team leader of the exercise drew some parallels of this exercise to our typical work life which was expected, but then the doors to the room swung open and in marched 15 children. These kids were extremely poor and not one of them had their own bike. We were told that a few of the families even lived in their cars. The look on their faces and the hugs from the kids did us all a lot of good. My thanks to Howard and to David Binke the CEO of E.S. Kluft; another class act. These guys did a great thing. Not only did these kids get a bike, but David handed the school principal a nice check to help the kids that didn’t get to come. Well done guys.

 

Boring Is Bad

Want some truth today? Your products really aren’t that interesting. Don’t get me wrong, there are people that like them and want to buy them of course or you wouldn’t be in business, HOWEVER, they aren’t as cool as you think they are.

I was reading a blog post by Seth Godin and it got me to thinking. The fact of the matter is that we are all significantly more interested in what we do and what we sell than anyone else. Hopefully, we have passion for our work but we can’t overplay that and bore our audience with a bunch of boundless bull.

Years ago we were interviewing a PR firm that told us about one of their favorite case studies. The company that hired them wanted to be thought leaders in their industry, which doesn’t sound too daunting until you learn that the company you are representing makes bolts. Seriously, how sexy can you make a bolt? The PR firm discovered that the bolts this company made were used in the renovation of the Statue Of Liberty. Problem solved.

My challenge to you today is to read the copy on your website or in your marketing materials. How long does it take until you are daydreaming about what you’re going to have for lunch? No excuses either people. I don’t care what industry you’re in or what product you sell, you DO NOT have to be boring. Boring is a waste of time and lacks empathy.

Show some respect to your audience, search for the “Statue Of Liberty” story in your own world and drive it home. Be brief, be strong, be relevant. Are you thinking about lunch yet?

 

Knock It Down

My son Nick is 12 so I have released my yard service from their duties so that he can experience the joy of mowing a lawn. I bought him a brand new electric push mower that is very light weight, but on a hill, it can get a little tough. I told him to attack that part of the yard first so that he could get it over with and didn’t have to deal with it at the end when he was tired.

Later that day I was on the phone with my friend Bob O’Neill and he was talking about a few issues he was facing and how he believes you have to tackle problems head on! I think Bob has this right.

When something bad comes up where we know someone isn’t going to be happy about it, or it’s going to be very uncomfortable to deal with, what do we do?

  • Ignore it completely.
  • Procrastinate so we don’t have to deal with it in the moment.
  • Pass it off to someone else.
  • Fix part of it so that it isn’t AS BAD.
  • Just don’t accept it and talk yourself into believing it doesn’t exist. (You know you’ve done this.)

The reality is, things are going to come up that we don’t want to have to deal with so all we can do is manage our approach and how we handle it. Any of the aforementioned solutions just make things worse. We end up stressing out over it, and ultimately the problem grows.

If you’re concerned about the people involved, they will get over it. If the downside of the problem is big, deal with it now or it will mushroom. If it is something that is causing you stress, the only way to solve for that is to tackle it because worry will grow not diminish.

Grab your problem today, tackle it to the ground, and handle it like a boss. It’s usually not as bad as you think and then you’re free to deal with things that are more enjoyable. What I’m saying is simple, true, and forgotten by us all. This is your reminder.

Thanks Bob.

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What Do You Sell?

A quick query on google trends tells us that sleep is continuing to show growth as a subject of interest. This chart shows what has happened to “sleep” as a search since April of 2012 and there is a steady climb up. More information reveals that the United States leads the world when it comes to a thirst for more knowledge on the subject.

Google trends query on “SLEEP” April 2012-2017

I am bringing this up after reading an article published on April 8th, 2017 by the New York Times titled; Sleep Is The New Status Symbol.  It talks about how David Rose from M.I.T’s Media Lab is investigating weighted blankets, nap pods and listening to specific types of content to induce better sleep. Matthew P. Walker at the University of California, a professor of neuroscience and psychology and the director of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory, is working on direct current stimulation as a cure for sleeplessness in the aging brain.  In Paris, Hugo Mercier, a computer science engineer, has raised over $10 million to create a headband that uses sound waves to induce sleep with a product they call Dreem. Consider that your “deep sleep” cycle helps to flush those bad toxins in your brain and store your memories throughout the day. What if you could achieve a better quality of deep sleep? Dreem thinks they can help you accomplish that. My friend Rick Feingold has a system called Kugona that is clinically proven to improve sleep for kids with Autism. These are just a few of the projects that people are working on throughout the world.

More than ever, humankind is focused on sleep and how to get more of it. We are investing time, energy and talent into something that we all know is one of the key pillars of health, right along side of diet and exercise. Intuitively, people understand that sleep is something to be pursued, cherished, appreciated, and anticipated. “Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.” Thomas Dekker. If we don’t sleep we will die. If we get great sleep, we feel as if we can tackle a problem that as recent as yesterday, seemed impossible to overcome. Here’s the kicker; are you ready? We sell products that help you do sleep better.

What do you sell? If it is a mattress, a pillow, a new set of sheets, an adjustable bed, a mattress protector, or even a box spring you are in the wrong business. If on the other hand, you are in the business of helping people discover a better kind of sleep, then you have my attention and will be rewarded with a bigger slice of my disposable income. Don’t just tell me you sell better sleep, show me the evidence of that. I want to see it on your websites, in your ads, and hear it when I listen to someone from your company speak about the products that you offer.

Don’t just do it because it could deliver more sales and profits to your business. Do it because you might just help someone focus on something that is important to them living a better quality of life. Make it part of your purpose. What if we all did?

I sell mattresses but I am NOT in the mattress business. What you make shouldn’t define what you’re about.