Kobe Bryant was one of the best NBA players to have ever played the game and we lost him on Sunday, January 26th in a helicopter crash that stunned the world. I always enjoyed watching him play but started to pay more attention to him as a person after reading a book called Relentless by Tim Grover. Tim trained Kobe throughout his career along with Michael Jordan, Dwyane Wade and many others. Here are two things that I love about Kobe’s approach to life and his sport that may inspire you personally, your kids, or even your business.
When Kobe was a young player there were times when he would have to sit the bench. His family and friends would be in his ear telling him that it was unfair and that the coach didn’t know what he was doing. Kobe would say to them, “This is on me. If the coach isn’t playing me then I have to work and get so much better that it’s impossible for him to ignore the fact that I should be on the court.” For all of us with kids playing sports, this is some very valuable advice to pass along. For those of us complaining about business being slow, or profits being down, make the choice for your product or store so incredibly obvious that your customers would look dumb buying somewhere else.
Kobe said in an interview that he was blessed with athletic talent but he wanted to be remembered as an athlete that worked as if he had none. In other words, do what it takes.
For Kobe, it wasn’t just about the outcome it was about the process. He knew that it took sacrifice to be the kind of player he wanted to be so he paid the price and ended up with 5 rings and a long list of other awards and titles. He owned his result and understood that his success or failure was totally up to him; a great reminder to us all.
Consumers are shopping for mattresses online more than ever because there are bullshit review sites that over-promise on sub-par products that ultimately fall short of expectations. Many of these online brands could care less about profitability which means they are playing a different game than most of us, resulting in a big increase in acquisition cost making it even more difficult to drive traffic so that you can beat last year’s numbers. So what do you do about it?
I’m reading a book right now called the Experience Economy. A major premise of the book is that in order to thrive in business today you need more than status quo products and a customer service experience that checks the boxes. So how do you do when you measure your company against this thinking? How about this question…how many WOW’s do you deliver to your customer? Do they shop your store and leave saying WOW, that was a killer experience? Was it so good that they will leave and tell someone about it? How about the products you carry, is there a WOW there or are you just carrying what everyone else has?
I will be in Las Vegas in the Knickerbocker/PureCare space in C1595 and if you stop in to see some of our new Spink and Co beds I promise to deliver two WOW’s with the promise of a third.
WOW #1: Awesome stories sell products and create excitement with rsa’s and consumers. If your traffic is down and you need to grow your average ticket with very profitable beds then you will want to pay us a call. Spink and Co beds are grown on our beautiful 300-acre farm in Yorkshire, England and celebrated by the Queen herself. Sound like anything you carry? We are living in an “attention-based” economy and if you want to stand out, you have to capture hearts and minds.
WOW #2: When people try our beds, they literally say WOW. I have yet to try a bed that delivers this level of comfort which is really what it’s all about right? What does it feel like to lay on top of 11,000 micro coils hugging every inch of your body? “Gotta come in and see for yourself Ms. Consumer because telling you about it just doesn’t do it justice.”
WOW #3: This is really something that you will discover if we choose each other. If you want someone that is committed to YOUR growth and that cares about the things you care about, not just how they can sell more of their products, then you are in for a great experience.
In every product presentation that we have made to retailers, we set the bar at WOW and have yet to be told we are overselling what we do. If you are looking for something special that your competitors don’t have and your consumers will fall in love with, I encourage you to give us 20 minutes. The WOW is guaranteed; isn’t that worth your time?
HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all. I hope that you had some quality time with the family during the break and kept the weight gain to something manageable 🙂
Before I get started I wanted to bring attention to the first Dos Marcos podcast of 2020 because IT IS AWESOME! We interview Jess Cole, the owner of the Savannah Bananas baseball team and talk to him about how he sells out every game and has over 1,000 people waiting in line for season tickets. Maybe it has something to do with his car parking penguins or the Grandma beauty contest. If you like stories of how companies create RAVING FANS for their business, then you will not want to miss this episode. One of my favorites for sure because this guy is great. ENJOY!
Part of my process when starting a new year is to set some goals for myself, my business and my family. In the past, I have talked a lot about goal setting and why it’s so important, so check that out HERE if you’re interested. One of the goals I have set for myself this year is less about driving to a result, and more about driving towards people.
The relationships I have with my wife Bridget, and kids Gabby and Nick, are so incredibly important to me I could never put a price on them. The connection I have with my mom and dad (Nick and Dee), and my sister and brother (Cari and Jeff) are also priceless. My business partners, customers, friends, and neighbors are all the same. In a big way, those relationships define me and give me more joy than anything I own in the material world.
How about you? Have you been the kind of husband, wife, brother, sister, son, daughter, or friend that you should be? If I were to ask your oldest and best friends what kind of friend you are to them, what would the answer be? Have you been trustworthy? Helpful? Present? Generous? Supportive?
I’m just saying that when you boil it all down, the people in our lives are what matters most so it makes sense to give ourselves a gut check on that every now and then. Telling “your people” that they mean a lot is nice, but SHOWING them how important they are is where it’s at. Send a card, pick up a phone, show up at their house, send a gift, be a great listener, make amends for past problems, push them to be better, and be there to offer support when they struggle. Bottom line…invest time and effort into them and see what happens. Being intentional about your relationships this year will pay out more than anything else you do in 2020. Try it for yourself and see what happens.
From my family to yours, we ask for blessings and good fortune to find you all this year. Have a terrific 2020!
Do you want to make the Christmas season a “mattress holiday”? Mark Kinsley and I brainstorm 10 ideas on how to connect Santa to great sleep which will produce great sales, so don’t miss this episode of the Dos Marcos Podcast.
Speaking of Kinsley, he introduced me to a man named Roy H. Williams several years ago. Roy is a best selling author and marketing visionary who runs a business school called the Wizard Academy in Austin, Texas. Kinsley and I attended one of his week-long sessions and I have been a fan ever since. (As a result of that trip, Kinsley and I are both featured in their promo video on the front page of their website which for me is pretty dang cool, so go check it out and if you can attend the academy, we HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!) Roy has a Monday Morning Memo that he puts out weekly and I read every single one of them because there is always something to inspire me, and today I want to share his post from December 16, 2019, and tie it back to our industry.
If you look at the way things REALLY ARE and learn to maneuver in that world you can go anywhere you want to go. Here is an excerpt from the post:
I’m not saying that you have to make peace with the status quo. I’m not saying that you have to accept things as they are. I’m not saying that you are powerless to change things. I’m saying that unproductive whining is pointless.
Take action or shut up. Don’t spend your life believing you are a victim and trying to convince everyone else of it.
Here are some questions to get you thinking:
Are e-commerce companies taking business from you and if they are, do you have a solid strategy that is working to combat their approach? Do you have an in-store experience that is so good you offer something the on-line guys don’t and if so are you clearly telling that story?
If I were to ask the consumers in your market will they tell me that they would prefer to shop with you over other retailers? If not….why not?
Do you have a good mix of products that include some traffic generating names along with some special products that are totally unique that will delight consumers compared to what your competitors carry?
Is your traffic down and if so, how many things are you testing at one time to fix that problem? Have you given up and accepted that this is a new norm?
If you are a bedding producer, are you out there just selling products to your retail base OR are you bringing total solutions that can help them grow the overall pie, not just your share of the business? How is your product going to give them an advantage over the competition they have to face every day?
What is the REAL impact of your supplier selling directly to your consumer?
In the post from Roy he quotes George Benard Shaw who says, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends upon the unreasonable man.”
Robin Sharma explained that quote this way…”The world needs many more dreamers. Unreasonable souls who fight the urge to be ordinary. ” We are all fighting something, so why don’t we choose a battle that will deliver an extraordinary outcome?
Where are the answers? I encourage you to listen to some of the past episodes of the Dos Marcos podcast where we interview top industry leaders like Harry Roberts, co-founder of Mattress Firm, Rick Anderson, past President of Tempur-Pedic North America, Derek Miller and Melanie Huet both top executives at Serta/Simmons Bedding. You can even learn from our favorite Navy Seal and Astronaut Chris Cassidy. Check out Sleep-Geek.com which is a website purpose-built for the mattress industry full of articles and videos about this industry. Our podcast sponsor Nationwide Marketing Group is also a great resource because they are out there helping retailers get better every single day. One of my favorite things about being one of their members is the Primetime event they put on where you can go and sit in on educational sessions, but most importantly, talk to other retailers dealing with the same issues you are. What can you learn from them or how could you help someone else?
Another great quote from Roy’s website is from Ralph Waldo Emerson…”People only see what they are prepared to see.” Are you seeing things as they are these days, or how you want them to be? Are you ready?
When I was 12 years old I would wake up on Sunday morning in Houston, Texas and watch professional wrestling. This was before the WWF, I’m talking about guys like Andre The Giant, The Von Erich dynasty and Dusty Rhodes. My brother and I would watch and then throw pillows on the ground and practice body slamming each other before we had to go to church…those were the days. When they cut to commercial, this crazy guy Jim McIngvale (Mattress Mack), would do a live spot ringside talking about his furniture business, and then he would take money out of his back pocket, jump up in the air, and tell his audience that “GALLERY FURNITURE REALLY WILL, SAVE YOU MONEY!!!!!!!!!” I had no idea at the time how much influence he would have on me later in my life. But Mack hasn’t made an impact on just me, he has made a dent in the entire industry and his community.
I first met Jim in 2008 when we launched the concept bed Starry Night at the Consumer Electronics Show when I was working for Leggett and Platt. After a private demonstration of the bed in Las Vegas, he loved the concept so much he literally jumped in the air with excitement because that kind of innovation FIRED HIM UP. (I agree with Simon Sinek, it’s funny how you connect with people that believe what you believe.) Later on, I heard him speak at an industry event and my respect for his approach to business grew even more. I recently picked up his book Always Think Big written back in 2002 and I wanted to share a few of my thoughts.
Jim believes that if you THINK BIG, great things will happen and he even gives you a road map to make this happen:
Vision: In order to accomplish something big you have to see it first. Promoting your business is one thing. Sponsoring a major college football bowl game as Jim did is something different. Brainstorm with your team and do not limit yourself in any way and see what happens. It doesn’t cost you anything to dream big but if you don’t, you will be missing out on some really good stuff.
Sense Of Entitlement: If you don’t BELIEVE that you are entitled to win it’s never going to happen. Hoping for a good result is nice, but absolutely expecting it to happen is a much different way of looking at things.
Action Plans: If you don’t have a plan then failure is certain. Set the goal, assemble the team that will get it done, understand the opportunity and the obstacles, and then make it happen! Don’t get excited and rush off half-cocked. Been there? 🙂
Managing Resources: Some retailers complain that they don’t have the big budgets to do some of the things they want to do, and to these guys I say stop making excuses. Jim didn’t have those big budgets early on at Gallery but he didn’t let that stop him, he simply got creative. If you lack resources DO NOT let that deter you, just look around and find a way to take one step at a time to reach your goal. Some of the best ideas out there don’t cost you anything at all, it’s just a matter of being intentional about pushing towards your goal. You need to have realistic expectations and be careful in how you manage your resources, but you also have to be careful not to allow this to limit your thinking. Start small, get creative and create the momentum that will take you to something BIG.
When I think about the best retailers in our industry, they are similar in many ways. They have figured out a way to connect to their consumers in an emotional way creating a preference for their stores. They deliver a great shopping experience with unique products and a strong selling process. They put the consumer at the center of everything they do, and they value innovation at every level. Jim McIngvale is without a doubt, one of the best.