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! (more…)
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.
Several years ago I took my family to the Dominican Republic for Thanksgiving break. Dancing around the pool and beach with a local dressed up as a turkey was a new one on us, but we had a blast.
We normally just like to relax at the resort, but this time, we went on a day trip into the local villages. We visited a local school and were even invited into people’s homes to see how they live and my kids were shocked. First by the fact that the school was a single room building in the middle of the village with dirt floors. Then we went into a home that also had only one room with bedding pallets laying on the dirt floors, no bathroom, and a fire pit in the corner of the room that served as the kitchen. No refrigerator, no oven, no microwave, just a wood-burning stove. But the biggest surprise was how happy everyone seemed to be. The kids were all smiles and the parents were just as content. Too bad they can’t drive to their local Chick-fil-A for a 6-pack or take those kids to the bounce house for the afternoon. They don’t know what they’re missing! Maybe that’s why they’re so happy.
Americans spend a lot of time on their social media platforms these days. Posting about their vacations, new cars, awesome jobs, and amazing kids. The Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology published a study that concludes “there is in fact a causal link between the use of social media and negative effects on well-being, primarily depression and loneliness.” In a recent post, I talk about the fact that being human sucks, and the act of comparing yourself to other people is a great example of why it’s hard to be human. We know we shouldn’t do it, but apps like Facebook and Instagram make it pretty hard to avoid!
My hope for you this Thanksgiving is that you are able to unplug, live in the moment, and realize how great things are in your own life. Take some inventory of all the things you are grateful for and just soak that up and know that you are likely living someone else’s dream.
I want you to know that if you are reading this, I am grateful for you. I’ve been writing this blog for several years now and it means a lot to me that people are out there using their time to look at what I post. I love the emails you send, the comments you make on LinkedIn or on this site, and the thoughts you share with me when I see you at events. I write for myself but mostly I write for you and for those moments, so thank you for paying attention and for your continued support.
We had another incredible weekend thanks to Roger Magowitz and the Seena Magowitz golf classic. Roger has been working hard along with Dr. Daniel Von Hoff and the great people at tgen, to find a cure for pancreatic cancer and I am happy to report that they are making some great progress. They are extending life for people and getting much closer to finding a test that will help in early detection. Roger, Liz McBeth and everyone else involved… thanks for what you do and for putting on a first-class event!
On Saturday we visited a dude ranch where Kinsley and I had a vicious competition in three events…bow and arrow target shooting, hatchet throwing and steer roping. It was close but in the end, I pulled it off and won the cowboy challenge which is a big deal because Kinsly beats me in just about every competition we have. (I blame it on my age and the fact that he has way better hair.) Then Kinsley and I were invited to the big arena to compete against Phil Sherman from Customatic, and his team to milk a goat. Phil’s group didn’t just win, they obliterated us HOWEVER, it turns out that Phil was a ringer. He was named the #1 goat milker on the east coast as a member of the Future Farmers Of America, so it was never really a fair fight. (I may have that detail wrong but we are going with it.) On Sunday people played golf, Kinsley and his foursome won the ugly golf pants competition AGAIN, and I went on a hike to see if I could climb Camelback Mountain. I did and lived to tell about it and had an incredible day.
The best part of the weekend is always the dinner on Saturday night where we get to listen to Dr. Von Hoff talk about the progress he is making, Kinsley and I get to be auctioneers doing our best to extract money out of the audience, and this year we heard from several of the WARRIORS currently inflicted with pancreatic cancer. These people have every reason to have a bad attitude, feel sorry for themselves and be angry at the world but that’s not what you get from them. Through tears, they express their gratitude for Dr. Von Hoff, their friends and family, and everyone in the room standing with them in their struggle. They talk about the love they have for the people in their life and they express their HOPE to one day find a cure for it all. They are fighters and they inspire me in ways I can’t express in words.
Remember that no matter what you are facing it isn’t what you are dealing with, it’s how you choose to react to what you are dealing with. Parts of life can really suck there is no doubt, but if you have the right people in your world and a strong faith in something other than yourself, you can get through anything.
Dr. Von Hoff, in my house we pray for you and Ann often, and for the people you work with and the patients you care for. Thank you for who you are and for the incredibly bright light you shine.