The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Lessons from Harley-Davidson Motor Company

Harley-Davidson Motor Company's former director of communications Ken Schmidt told participants at the Power Transmission Distributors Association annual Industry Summit this past week that they cannot compete successfully if they are doing business exactly the same way as their competitors are.
 
Everyone says they offer the best quality, reliability and service. Who doesn't?" he asked. "From my perspective, competing with words like quality and reliability is next to impossible."
 
The key in his mind, however, was simple: People do business with people they like or with people they were referred to by people they like. Schmidt argues that customers don't make logical, rational decisions, but instead their decision to do business with you starts in their gut. So, ...

Harley-Davidson Motor Company’s former director of communications Ken Schmidt told participants at the Power Transmission Distributors Association annual Industry Summit this past week that they cannot compete successfully if they are doing business exactly the same way as their competitors are.
 
Everyone says they offer the best quality, reliability and service. Who doesn’t?” he asked. “From my perspective, competing with words like quality and reliability is next to impossible.”
 
The key in his mind, however, was simple: People do business with people they like or with people they were referred to by people they like. Schmidt argues that customers don’t make logical, rational decisions, but instead their decision to do business with you starts in their gut. So, do something they don’t expect you to do, he says. Make them feel good about themselves. One way to do this: Ask what they want from you, and then do it.
 
For Harley-Davidson, this meant doing something they (or their competitors) had never done before: Letting potential customers take their product for a test drive, and letting those people tell Harley-Davidson what they liked and didn’t like. They took what they said -made the changes -and then sold it to them. “It wasn’t just lip service,” Schmidt said.
 
And then tell potential customers what you’ve done. “There’s no such thing as subtlety in the world of demand creation,” he says.

About the Author
Leave a Reply

Leave a Comment

Sign Up for the MDM Update Newsletter

The MDM update newsletter is your best source for news and trends in the wholesale distribution industry.

By subscribing, you are agreeing to MDM’s Privacy Policy.

2

articles left

Want more Premium content from MDM?

Subscribe today and get:

  • New issues twice each month
  • Unlimited access to mdm.com, including 10+ years of archived data
  • Current trends analysis, market data and economic updates
  • Discounts on select store products and events

0

articles left

This is your last free article

Subscribe to MDM Premium today and get:

  • Unlimited access to MDM.com
  • 1 year digital subscription, with new issues twice a month
  • Trends analysis, market data and quarterly economic updates
  • Deals on select store products and events

1

article
left

You have one free article remaining

Subscribe to MDM Premium to get unlimited access. Your subscription includes:

  • Two new issues a month
  • Access to 10+ years of archived data on mdm.com
  • Quarterly economic updates, trends analysis and market data
  • Store and event discounts

To continue reading, you must be an MDM Premium subscriber.