Blast from the past!
In today’s episode, we travel back to May of 2020 and relive the advice from Jon Spoelstra.
Sumo wrestler doing a Michael Jordan dunk. That’s the cover of Jon Spoelstra’s book: Marketing Outrageously REDUX.
Dos Marcos have both read the book, used its insights, and had it on their shelves for years. It was an honor having on the show the former General Manager of the Portland Trailblazers, President of the New York Nets, and renowned author. He’s famous for using a rubber chickens in his marketing and Spoelstra has gems of wisdom to pass along to any business owner.
We talk mattress shopping and tires, how to use Jon’s 90-day theory to improve your career, and the most important question you can ask yourself in business.
Find out more about Jon and connect with him at JonSpoelstra.com.
Mark Kinsley: Really excited cause we have a special guest on this show today and one of his books. This has been sitting on my shelf for many years.
John, let’s just jump into John s Spolstra. Who is this on the front of this book? Do you know this person?
Jon Spoelstra: Um, you know, the funny thing is, uh, the publisher came up with the idea, Ray. About having, we wanted to have a cover of a book that would stop people and wanna pick up the book and look at it.
And he said, how about, cause I came out of the NBA basketball business. He said, how about a sumo wrestler? Cuz I had used, uh, sumo wrestlers as a gag act when I was president of the New Jersey Nets. He said, how about a sumo wrestler in the Michael Jordan dunk pose? And I said, that’s terrific. That would stop anybody, but where are you gonna find a sumo wrestler that can do that?
And he says, don’t worry about it. And a few days later, Ray called me up and he said, I’ve got it. And spoiler alert that, uh, rim doesn’t necessarily have to be the one that he was going after to dunk . Little bit called Photoshop. Look at, look
Mark Quinn: at what I love is the detail. Look at his tongue. Right, the tongues out.
Jon Spoelstra: Michael Jordan. So the one thing is he did have like some tattoos on his arm and we had to airbrush those out because tattoos in Japan and Yakuza are the gangster, but he was simonean, um, and he was terrific. His first name is Nate. I don’t know what his last name is, but he, uh, he did a great job. It looks like he dunked it really fiercely.
Mark Kinsley: Well, I’ll tell you what, whenever I first came across your work, John, uh, I went and looked at your books and of course I see the cover of the book and I thought to myself, if you can grab people’s attention, you might have a chance at selling ’em something. You talk about that a lot. Let me give you a proper intro though here before we jump into some fun stuff.
So, John Bolster, you’ve been the general manager of the Portland Trail Blazers and President of the New Jersey Nets. You’ve authored four books that I know about Wall Street Journal bestseller called Marketing Outrageously Redux, which you’re looking at right now. If you’ve seen the video portion of this college professor, speaker, consultant, you happen to be the father of the head coach in the Miami Heat, Mr.
Eric Spolstra, and you are John Sultra and you’re somebody we’ve been familiar with for a long time. And I’m the original
Jon Spoelstra: coach, SPO . You’re the original coach, SPO .
Mark Quinn: So John ha, have you, has it evolved to where you no longer John, you’re just Eric’s dad?
Jon Spoelstra: Oh yeah. That, that’s, uh, , that’s what I go by. You
Mark Kinsley: know, look, I think this is a, is could be a fun place to start.
Not necessarily fun, but relevant. So sports in general, shut down right now. Give us the lay of the land in the sports world and what you’re seeing and who’s handling opportunity, well, who’s failing and how this thing shakes out in your opinion.
Jon Spoelstra: Well, if I was, uh, heading a team, I would not shut down right now, the marketing, um, I think this is sort of similar, uh, akin to, uh, when I was with the net, uh, there was gonna be a lockdown, but that was between management and players.
That they were in the negotiations for the collective bargaining of the players, and it was gonna be locked down. We were told we could miss the entire season. So if you take a look at baseball right now, nobody knows are they gonna play? If they are gonna play, when are they gonna play? , uh, basketball, the same thing.
Hockey, football. There’s a question of whether college football is gonna be played. I would, if I was running a team right now, I would assume that all those are gonna play. We just don’t know when. So like in New Jersey, oh, and we were prohibited in New Jersey. We had an awful team. The team won, I dunno, 19, 20 games out of 80.
Our star was disliked vehemently by our fan base, Derek Coleman. Highly tr uh, highly skilled player, but not popular with the fans. So we couldn’t even say that we were gonna trade him. We couldn’t mention any player name. Um, uh, we couldn’t even mention the opponents. Like we couldn’t say, uh, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls are gonna be coming into town.
Or Magic Johnson, the lake. We couldn’t mention anything with the opponents, so we had to sell. What we were stuck with was a team that was awful. And the last memories that fans had of that team was, uh, the players who they hated, and how could we ever sell more tickets? Oh, and the, uh, the hockey team that we shared the same arena, they won the Stanley Cup, so they had selling victories in the off season.
Uh, we came up with a guarantee that our salespeople would go and call in a business, and a business person would say, look, I’m not gonna buy any your damn tickets because I don’t know if you’re gonna play. And I don’t. I hate Derek Colema. I’m not gonna buy any tickets. We couldn’t even say we’re gonna trade ’em.
But what we could say is we’re gonna give you a guarantee that if you don’t like the composition of the team whenever fall camp is, fall camp might be in November, it might be in December. It might be January. If you don’t like the composition of the team when Fall camp begins, You get your money back plus prime rate interest.
And so that took the, took the objection off the table and then we could talk about how you could use tickets effectively, uh, entertaining or with employees or whatever. That helped us increase our ticket sales dollar volume more than the devils who had just won the, the title and they didn’t have that lockdown problem.
But we had 20 salespeople out there selling and they weren’t impeded at all. So I think with this, this is akin to that cause you just don’t know when you’re gonna start. You don’t know about this, uh, how it’s gonna start. Meaning that, um, are there gonna be fans there and if there are gonna be fans there, is there social distancing inside?
My feeling is that I would go ahead as if there’s gonna be a season and I’d sell it and I’d come up with a guarantee that we’d return money with. It’d have to be better than prime rate, cuz prime rate right now isn’t very much, but it would’ve to become a, you know, some type of, uh, value to it. You know, John Mark Cuban wrote the four oh oh and I, and I wouldn’t lay anybody off.
I known that teams have laid a lot of people off. I wouldn’t lay anybody off. We we’re, we’re going out there to sell. Speaking
Mark Quinn: of that, mark Cuban, who wrote the Forward for your book, um, was very verbal on that in terms of not wanting to lay people off, and I think he had some unique opinions about the season.
You have any thoughts about, uh, kind of how he approached it compared to some of the other guys?
Jon Spoelstra: Um, I haven’t seen his comments on that. Yeah, the,
Mark Quinn: one of the the neat things I picked up from is he didn’t wanna lay anyone off, and he was trying to encourage other people to, to keep their team together and keep the, even the people in the, you know, that, that, uh, are the vendors in the, in the building, selling the Oh, right.
The beers and things like that. So I, I respect his
Jon Spoelstra: approach to it. That was pretty cool. Well, I was thinking more of like the employees. We didn’t lay anybody off when, uh, this lockdown was in the nba and they went, well, they didn’t start until Christmas. I, I think it was Christmas day, so they missed, uh, October, November, December in the league that year.
And, um, we didn’t lay anybody off. In fact, we hired people. I’m glad there was a season that year . We only, and we didn’t lose as many games. As a previous year, cuz there weren’t as many games to lose.
Mark Kinsley: John, when you look at the teams that are shut down and are facing uncertainty, and then you have the age of the internet and you have video games being broadcast on E P N, you have the last dance documentary about Jordan and the Bulls.
Uh, you got some sports things kind of swirling around. Do you see opportunities for the teams that are shut down to market themselves in a more aggressive way that’s relevant to people that are at home and aren’t able to attend games?
Jon Spoelstra: Well, they’d be marketing themselves, but not publicly. So let’s say like tickets or sponsorships, you’d be going out to see, uh, businesses still.
So you should go out and see a company and talk to them about the sponsorship opportunities. You could go out and see a company about ticket packages. It makes it more difficult not knowing if when the season is going to be, but you could still go out and do things. Like right now, I think it’s an opportune time for golf courses, uh, that need to sell memberships is right now is the best time.
This is an opportune time for golf courses who are, are membership and they need to sell. Let’s say they’re, they’re lacking 50 members. Right now is the perfect time to go out and sell people because, uh, like in Portland, the weather’s been terrific. The golf course has been open. In Oregon, you could call on businesses, you could invite people to go out and play golf, uh, to try out the course.
Uh, I think there’s, this is a time that, uh, A course could really turn things around. In Oregon golf play is up 78% this year because people are laid off. They don’t have anything to do during the day. The courses are open, the weather’s been terrific and Washington, the state of Washington is right across the river from us.
So the state of Washington, they shut down our golf courses. Uh, there was caravans coming from Washington to play the Oregon golf courses. And, uh, Washington just opened up last week, uh, and the caravans stopped. They’re playing at their own courses now.
Mark Kinsley: There was a moment in time when they had that window of opportunity.
Let, let me, John, I wanna back up a little bit. And you know, most of our audience here, they’re independent retailers working in the mattress business or maybe the furniture and mattress business. Uh, they’re people in the mattress industry and we’ve, you know, faced our own, uh, challenges. But I, I wanna back up and do a quick reset because I, I, I wanna talk about principles and I read on your website, you wrote my most important book is, success is Just One Wish Away because the concept of the book changed your life.
Can you tell us about that concept?
Jon Spoelstra: In fact, I’m gonna reissue that, um, with a different title in about a month. Uh, the concept is, well, to distill it down is, and I’ve done this for most of my adult life, is. Lemme tell you a story first. Uh, and I talked about it in marketing out outrageously new as a way of life.
Uh, I called on and I got to know the president of Sony when I was president of New Jersey Nets. And I called on Japanese companies direct. I’d go over to Tokyo two or three times a year. And I said, over dinner one night with the president of Sony. I said, your engineers must be under terrific pressure every year to come up with new ideas, new products.
And because once you come out with it, it’s uh, copied quite quickly. So there must be a lot of pressure on your engineers. And he said, John, he said, at Sony New is a way of life. If we don’t do new, we perish in the marketplace. And I said, wow, can I write that down? And I wrote it down and on the flight back from Tokyo to New Jersey, which was like 14 hours, All I was thinking about is new as a way of life and marketing is what I did with the New Jersey Nets.
And so it really didn’t come out to be where I’d invent new things. But I, I’ll give you for instance, uh, every team in the nba in those days, they would, their brochure, ticket brochure was the trifold, you know, an eight and a half by 11 piece of paper. And that was their ticket. Nobody ever sold tickets off that.
So I asked a friend of mine, Joe Sugarman, who invented the blue blocker sunglasses, you guys remember? Mm-hmm. the blue block or, sure. And I said to Joe, I said, cuz he has a catalog company of, you know, gadgets. And I said to Joe, I said, how come you don’t use this trifold to sell your products? You always use the catalog?
He said, well, the trifold doesn’t work. He said we’d love to do it except cause it’s, it’s very efficient. It doesn’t cost very much to put it together. You can make it colorful, you can do all you wanna do. But he said it doesn’t pull, it doesn’t sell the product, the catalog does. So in New Jersey, we made up an eight page ticket catalog and on each page there was a different ticket package and it appealed to a different type of fan.
And we sent that out and we measured it one way, as for every dollar that it cost us to put that catalog together. How many dollars did we get back in ticket sales? Pretty simple way of measuring. And we are getting back a 10 to one ratio, which is phenomenal. Uh, so that’s new as a way of life. That’s part of it is thinking about how can you do things a little bit differently instead of doing the, the trifold, which had failed every team.
They never sold tickets off of it. How do you do it better? So what I, but I, what I’ve done since, oh, a long time, is I want to initiate something new that would improve what I do for a living. Uh, every 90 days it’d be up to three things. So when you think about that, what thing can I initiate over the next 90 days to improve what I do for a living?
And I can do up to three things. When you start this idea, the first thing is pretty obvious. The second thing is pretty obvious. You know, well, I’ve gotta do this. And if I improve that for 90 days, but I’ve been doing that for 30 years now, it comes up to be a challenge of every 90 days I’ve gotta come up with something new that improves what I’m doing for a living or initiate something new.
And so like, I’ve got a new book that’s gonna be coming out. I’ve just been sitting on it because I’ve been waiting for, so the economy and business to go back to normal. I hope it’s, uh, around sometime this summer, but that’s part of that 90 days and that’s what success is. Just one wish away. That’s what it’s about, is developing every 90 days something new to initiate or improve upon.
And when you, John, when you think, you think about also, if you did that, if you did that every 90 days, at the end of the year, you had done four things. If you only did one for 90 days, yeah. But what if you did two oh oh, then that’s eight after one year, after two years, 16. So you’re sort of remaking what you do for a living.
Just sort of like one little step at a. You know what I love
Mark Quinn: about that, John, is the fact that it also helps keep, number one is that it gives you something to do, but it also helps keep you focused because I think a lot of people get out here and, you know, they’re, they’re thinking of five and 10 things to do and they’ve got this long list and one, but if you, if you simplify that right, then I think there’s a lot of value.
Kinzie, I could tell you were about to say something. So what, where were you going with that? Yeah,
Mark Kinsley: I, I was thinking, John, how do you define improvement and, and what made you focus on, I I heard you say, improve what I do for a living, right? To help help people define that for people
Jon Spoelstra: who may be a little bit, well, I think the key to happiness is being successful in what you do for a living.
I think if you’re successful in what you do for a living, and by the way, success is measured with your parameters. , it’s your judgment not, so, it’s not a, a necessarily a dollar amount. It’s not. But if you’re successful in what you do for a living, I think that overflows into the other parts of your life and makes it, uh, everything fine.
So what you do for a li improve what you do for a living. That’s your judgment. You’re the sole and jury on which thing you select. Like it’s not your boss or would select what you should improve upon or, or initiate. It’s you selecting what you think you should improve or initiate and you get 90 days.
And, you know, I started to do this with the, uh, Portland Trailblazer with my staff and I meet with every staff every 90 days. They didn’t exactly know what to improve. So there, there was a conversation, but, but let’s say like an assistant would say, well, I’d like to improve my typing. I’m, I’m a type 40 words a minute.
I’d like to get it up to 80 words a minute. So I’d say fine. And then I wasn’t judgemental on what they wanted to improve upon. I said, how are you gonna do it? And that’s, I said, you know, that’s where they would sort of stop. They wouldn’t know how to do it. And I said, well, you can take a typing school, we’d pay for it.
And if you set your market 80 words a minute, that’s fine. But let’s say you get up to 70 and you find out you’re typing like a maniac then, and that’s terrific. You can stop there. You’re the sole judge and jury of what to do and where to stop. But every 90 days you gotta come up with something new to do.
Mark Kinsley: are some of the examples from your own career? Like what are some of the things you concentrated on or maybe concentrating on now? Now?
Jon Spoelstra: Uh, well part of it was like, I read an article oh, a few months ago where they said the trend in business books, uh, a trend is shorter books. , you know, not 300 page books, but 80 page books.
And I thought, Hmm, I could do that. You know, I could knock on an 80 page book and instead of a full subject matter, you pick one. I thought, yeah, I could, I could do that. And so I felt that my best attribute was that I was able to get my ideas approved by my bosses. And I’ve had some pretty, what people think are pretty crazy ideas.
And actually when I thought about ’em, they were pretty crazy too. But I’ve got the, even crazier, I got my bosses to approve it. So I wrote this book called Get Your Ideas Approved. The subtitle is, uh, job Skill number one, how to Get your Boss to Approve Anything you wanna Do. And it turned out to, it turns out to be a 78 page book.
I’m gonna sell it on Amazon for $2 and 99 cents Audible. Uh, how to get things approved. So that was the thing, the 90 day. So John, are you married? Yeah. So
Mark Quinn: does it work at home? I just gotta know. , can you get your wife to approve your ideas? I just gotta know, you gotta tell the
Jon Spoelstra: audience. If you applied the principles of my book, you probably could.
Mark Quinn: Uh, .
Jon Spoelstra: That’s good.
Mark Kinsley: That’s good. It’s a, it’s a, it’s a great principle and it’s, and it’s one I hadn’t heard. Uh, now inside the business world, I’ve, I’ve used this extensively. You know, let’s concentrate on one thing every quarter so that we can look back at the end of this year and we will have accomplished things as a team.
But if everybody’s concentrating on some different objective or major, you know, focus point goal, then everybody’s doing different things and the group doesn’t move forward. But I hadn’t thought about it in terms of, you know, what are you gonna improve? So tell us how, how did writing that book. Improve what you do.
Was it something like that was in your soul? You had to get outta your head?
Jon Spoelstra: Yeah. So well improve or initiate. So that was initiation and initiate something new. And like a few years ago, I wanted to take 90 days to figure out how I could hit a golf ball. 300 yards . Okay. Now when you, it’s sort of like that typing thing, well how, where do you start?
How do you learn how to do that? So I go online, I did, I looked into this a lot. I can’t hit it 300 yards, but there have been times I’ve been able to hit it two 70. And so like the typing thing, when you say you wanna type it 80 words a minute, but you find out that 70 is sufficient. So I found out that with golf it’s all in the hips.
And if you do certain hip exercises, uh, that your distances just improve. Quite dramatically and quite quickly. So that’s what I, I learned that over that 90 days and I go out and play golf.
Mark Quinn: So. So Jen, one of the things that we find in our business, especially now, um,
Jon Spoelstra: it
Mark Quinn: with independent retailers, some people are just stuck.
And I’m sure you’ve, you’ve come across this in the b a and uh, companies that you probably have consulted with. But what do you say to the guys who, like, not only are they not doing the, you know, the every 90 day thing, but they just find themselves kind of stuck in the same place. What kind of comments or advice are you giving to those people?
Jon Spoelstra: I don’t think I could help them. Mm-hmm. , I think, I think it’s sort of like an alcoholic. The only way they’re gonna get dry is when they hit bottom and they say, I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna be an alcoholic anymore. And they go and get help. Okay. Somebody that’s stuck in business. I think when they start to get so dissatisfied that then they start to do something and maybe something that’s negative that causes them to do that, uh, maybe the virus is gonna make them to think a little bit differently.
But take a look at the restaurants. I was reading the locally here where restaurant tour, who owned several restaurants saying that they never really did carry out or delivery. And now since people can’t go in there, 30% of their revenue, of what, 30% of what they were doing is now coming from carry out and delivery.
So that was a whole new thing. And it was brought about because of the virus. You wouldn’t have done it without the virus. And I think with any type of retailers, if you feel that you’re stuck, this would be the time to get unstuck. It was with the virus coming in, because this is, once they start opening up, it’s not, it’s gonna be a gradual opening up.
Uh, but there’s gonna be challenges that we’ve never seen before, particularly for retail.
Mark Kinsley: What’s your take on retail right now? You know, you, you to, you told us your story before we started recording about your recent mattress purchase and you purchased a mattress online. You didn’t go into a store, and then you talked about a tire business and you kind of made, uh, kind of connected those two things.
which we’re very familiar with. What’s your take on retail and how that, how that might change or what that might look like?
Jon Spoelstra: Well, I made a comparison to tires and mattresses because it’s not a frequent purchase, you know, it’s not like you go into a tire store every month or like you might go for, into a clothing store or a bookstore.
So, I mean, I, I haven’t been, yeah, it’s about the same frequency, tire and bed bedding. Um, so. We bought a bed online cause of my reluctance to walk into a mattress store and just be assaulted. I’m used to that if I go and buy a car, cause I know a little bit more about cars so I can sort of fight back and I know a little bit about finance, I can sort of fight back.
Um, but I know nothing about beds except to sleep on them and I’m not sure if I sleep on them. I dunno if I’m an expert on that. So,
Mark Quinn: but John, had you been shopping for a bed before and been assaulted? I mean, had you had that experience before or had you just heard that that’s kinda what the game Oh, both.
Jon Spoelstra: I bought, uh, uh, a bed at, uh, vacation home a few years ago. Okay. And I think, holy smokes, look at that. Just , you know, I’m a nice guy. Don’t treat me that way, you know, but they need to make the sale. And so that led me to look well Consumer reports. Said that, uh, avocado brand was number one. And that, because I didn’t know anything about beds, I took consumer reports word as gospel.
Mark Kinsley: Well, and I think, um, one thing you also mentioned, and we apply this concept and this principle online or offline, is absent of value. People make decisions on price. And I think avocado is one of the brands that builds an incredible amount of value in the product and the service and the follow up. Right?
And they don’t fall short on making sure they tell people as much information for the detail-oriented consumer. Right. And they build value in it. They do a very fine job of that.
Jon Spoelstra: See, that’s the great thing about the internet is you’re able to give a lot of information, way more information before a person would walk.
The trifold. Now, if you wanna know more about beds, you can go on to a and you like avocado. They had a lot of information about beds and so I spent a lot of time online. I was selling myself. I thought it was very well written, and I thought there was, uh, a lack of phony hype in their copy. You know, I really, if I’m reading some phony hype in there, then it sort of discounts the copy for me and that, that convinced me.
And we did go to one store. There was, and, uh, I couldn’t tell differently. I laid down the bed. Uh, we, the salesperson was a nice salesperson, was not pressurized, but I got sold on that copy and the presentation online.
Mark Kinsley: Tell, tell us that story that you told us before we started recording. Because there’s a parallel between buying tires and buying a mattress.
And we call it a grudge purchase. Nobody wants to buy tires. Very few people want to buy a mattress because they treat. See it as something that’s very utilitarian. I, I gotta have tires in my car. These are bald, my mattress is bad, or I’m moving into a new house, I gotta buy it. But you have had experiences where you prefer a certain tire provider and you don’t mind going there.
Jon Spoelstra: Right. I’ll pay the premium. I mean, I’ll go into, my wife goes in there and, uh, we don’t even ask the price. We need four tires. What do you think we need? Put ’em on. Let me know what it costs afterwards. Uh, and it, because, Well, I told you about the experience that I had. I was in Vancouver, Washington, which is just, uh, 15, uh, 20 minutes away.
I was driving, traveling, dri, riding my, uh, driving my car to meet a guy for lunch and the tailpipe. And it was a relatively recent car. The tailpipe started to drag on cement, make all this noise. I pulled into Les Schwab tires and they put it up on the hoist and they said, well, the bracket came undone.
And he said, we can put, we put a new one up there for you. But he said, uh, this will fix you in a short time, but you should probably take it to some garage and have it, or take it back to your dealer. It’s probably under warranty. Have it fixed. And I said, fine. I said, how much does that cost? And I said, oh, that’s no charge.
I said, really? I said, no, that’s charge, no charge. Um, and he didn’t even say, when you need tires, stop, stop back. It was just, their service was so tremendous. And since that, Time. We’ve probably spent several thousand dollars on tires. That guy in that store in Vancouver didn’t get credit for it. The tires.
Cause we bought ’em in the Portland area Tires.
Mark Quinn: So John, there’s Les Schwab. There you go. I just wanted everyone to see that. And since we have the
Mark Kinsley: ability, if you’re listening on the podcast, mark just pulled up his screen and he’s got the the les schwab.com
Jon Spoelstra: website. Yeah, that’s a great line, isn’t it? If you need to be on the road, we’ll help keep you safe.
Well, and that’s what I wanted
Mark Quinn: to talk about. I just love John, kind of your experience and Kinsley, you and I have talked about this actually, how they kind of come to your car. . And, uh, it was a discount on tires, if I’m not mistaken. And they come with your, your, your, your, your car with a pad of paper. And then they sh they make it super easy for you to understand, here’s what your tire looks like, here’s what it should look like.
Here’s a green, uh, green, yellow, and red. You know, you’re at the yellow. So it’s a warning. And then, so anyway, they made it simple. But what, what you’re saying about Le Schwab is, um, the service aspect. But another thing we talk about in our industry is the fact that their tagline will help keep you safe.
It’s not about buying a tire, it’s about making a purchase decision about something that will keep you safe. So they’re really driving hard on the emotional element there. Um, how, how important do you think that is for people today as they look at their business? Well, you have to choose, make it about something more,
Jon Spoelstra: right?
You have to choose what, are you gonna be discounter? Are you gonna be full serviced? Um, , it seems like the mattress stores, it seems, my impression is it’s always based on price and the ending. The newspaper advertising, it’s always priced to sale this week. And the same thing with tires, except Les Schwab doesn’t run ads just on price.
So they probably don’t get all the business cuz there are other tire companies, but they get the ones that they wanna get.
Mark Quinn: So, Jen, Jen, is there something that people, that you see in the normal course of business today that they’re getting wrong in terms of how they’re marketing their companies? And it doesn’t have to be mattress category of course, but is there anything that you consistently
Jon Spoelstra: see?
Well, if you’re, if you’re local and if you don’t have a big ad budget, uh, I, by the way, I’ve never been with a company that had a big ad. Uh, like in the end, even on NBA teams. No kidding. No, no teams. I would like the New Jersey Nets had no money. , so like other teams were spending 2 million a year on advertising to promote their team.
And it seems low, doesn’t it? Kinsley 2 million bucks. Oh, this, but this was back in the nineties. Okay. Right. So this, but the New Jersey Nets had $50,000 and that was to buy some billboard ads. Uh, and I told those guys, they said, there’s seven owners of the Nets. I said that $50,000, they’re not gonna be spent for billboards.
They like to see the billboards. So when they drove to work, it would be the New Jersey nuts up on a billboard. And I said, if you guys wanna have that billboard, you can do that, but you gotta Annie up on your own. The $50,000 we’re gonna use this. And we used it for a direct response and we ran advertisements in the newspaper.
Where it was all based on direct response. So let’s say an ad cost us $2,000. We wanted to get $8,000 in ticket sales within two days. And if, and we’d do two a week, two ads a week. We’d never advertise on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Um, it was always Monday. We’d like Monday and Thursday if we could get it.
And it was always on page three. In the sports, it was on page and the four in the sports section, it wouldn’t pull, page five wouldn’t pull, but page three would pull. So under those conditions we would do it. And we spent the 50,000 and we got a quarter of a million dollars in sales. And then we were able to off some of that and spend some more.
So, or like that, uh, catalog, the ticket catalog. Um, we just didn’t send that out indiscriminately. We had to gather our own bliss to where we sent it out to think that people, we thought at least were, had a chance of buying. Tickets if we presented ’em the right ticket package. So like a smaller retailer, like I would think like in a mattress business, most people don’t drive more than three miles from the mattress store to buy a mattress.
I, I have no idea is that people drive 15 miles to by a mattress. If you
Mark Kinsley: live in a more rural area and you’re like a bedroom.
Jon Spoelstra: But let’s say like Corland, Oregon or Chicago, or, uh,
Mark Quinn: it probably depends. I don’t know that we have the data on that, but I think it depends if the voice of the retailer is such that there’s a compelling reason.
But yes, I think you’re right. Okay. Let that, they’re gonna stay really close to their
Jon Spoelstra: home. People, people we know
Mark Kinsley: the Google Mattress store near me, they Google Mattress Store near me a lot,
Jon Spoelstra: right? So let’s say if it’s a huge one like that, we’re talking about that, uh, retail store down in Houston. Jim Macin
Mark Quinn: Valley Gallery Furniture,
Jon Spoelstra: right?
Gallery Furniture. Okay. People might drive 50 miles to go there. Right. Let’s say for a mattress store, I would just guess that your market is probably a five mile radius around that store. It might be a little bit bigger than that. It might be mm-hmm. seven miles, but I bet it’s probably not much more than seven miles and I don’t know that business.
So if it, let’s say if it’s seven miles, you say, okay, that’s my market right there. What am I gonna do of tho those people in that seven mile radius that need, that’s gonna need a bed? Which ones are gonna need a bed in the next year? 10%. And I want to get those people, uh, So that’s, I would start thinking that way of saying, okay, how am I gonna get that 10% in that seven mile radius or five mile radius?
Mark Kinsley: And back on the Dose Marcos podcast, Sarah Bergman with Pure Care. What’s up Sarah?
Jon Spoelstra: Hi everybody. It’s so nice to be
Mark Kinsley: here. It’s great to have you here. I’m obviously, we’re living in unprecedented kind of crazy times. And you know, people are hyper-focused right now on staying clean and staying germ free.
And the bells and the whistles start going off in my head about pure care and what you offer and that’s really gonna connect with consumers.
Jon Spoelstra: I think so too. You know, we have built a brand that is focused on creating a cleaner and more hygienic sleep environment. And we’ve got a lot of different touchpoints in that, that are naturally built into our products today.
Protectors, we are the only protectors that can be washed and dried on hot settings for total sanitization. Whenever we’re developing pillows, we think about how do we design this with a zipper so that you can take anything you need to out of it, wash it, clean it. So all of those stories are built into our products.
Our antimicrobial silver product protection story. Um, just a lot of great things that we do naturally. Uh, I also though just wanna touch on some of the things that we’re thinking about. You know, as retailers begin to reopen, what is the experience like for their consumer in their. Um, post covid, what, what happens?
How do we help them create a cleaner experience while people are in the store testing products? So we’re really applying every good thing that we’ve done in the hygiene arena to make sure that even the mattress testing experience, the pillow testing experience is cleaner and better for retailers. Um, so a lot more to come from that on the pure care side and, and we’ll be, um, kind of dispersing a lot of information to the industry itself.
Um, but as always, check on our website, go to pure care.com, learn more about what we’ve been doing for two decades, to bring cleaner, more hygienic sleep, um, to, to customers everywhere.
Mark Kinsley: I’m gonna tie some stuff together here, but it’s gonna be a, a circuitous route. Okay? So you are a legend in the sports industry for dramatically increasing revenue for the trailblazers, for the nets, and you’re also a legend for the rubber chicken.
So you gotta tell the rubber chicken story and about the principles underlying the rubber chicken,
Jon Spoelstra: the rubber chicken, uh, of the things I’ve done, that’s probably one the most effective. But I was with the New Jersey Nets and, um, the fans there. Would not renew their season tickets until about two, two days, three days before the first home game.
They’d, they’d renew ’em, but they wouldn’t pay until two days before the, because it, some of them would then decide, no, this is not what I want. The team’s gonna be crummy and they would never pay and they’d never go to the games then. But the problem is that seat location would, would then be empty and it was always choice seat locations.
And we’d rather move the current season ticket holders who up a little bit closer into those than to sell that to a Johnny come lately. So it’s more of an internal thing. And I told the VP at the Nets, I said, these stand out, there’s probably 15 season ticket holders that would do that. And I said, I’m gonna send out a letter to them telling our plight and that we’re gonna give them 48 hours.
To renew or we’re gonna yank their season ticket. He says, well, we’ve done that in the past. He said, they don’t even open up the letter. He said, you can send it out registered letter. They, they don’t even open that up. I said, I bet I could get them to open up the letter. And he says, how you gonna do that?
And I think it’s over there. Just a second. Lemme just walk away for a second.
Mark Quinn: Zel, you know this is reminding me of Chicken Stanley .
Mark Kinsley: I’m in. Hey, you know we did find a replacement for Chicken Stanley and we have Chicken Stanley as well
Jon Spoelstra: there. It’s, there’s the rubber.
Mark Quinn: Oh, he’s got a, a noose around its neck.
Mark Kinsley: He’s got a little lanyard. Okay.
Mark Quinn: Hi John, we, we gotta get an autographed rubber chicken. That’s what’s coming.
Jon Spoelstra: Here’s the rubber chicken. and we put a little paper out, uh, paper jersey on it that said, don’t fall out. F O W L . Read the letter and attached to the bottom of the chicken’s foot was a letter from me.
And we put this in one of those three feet FedEx boxes, triangle ones. Put that in and send it out to those 15 season ticket holders. So can you imagine if you were a season ticket holder for the New Jersey Nets and you’re not getting a registered letter, you’re getting this FedEx box. You wonder, tell me which person would not open up that box.
So they open up the box and they pull out this rubber chicken that says, don’t fall out. Read the letter. Tell me the person that wouldn’t read, couldn’t read the letter. And the letter was ba basically just very point blank saying, we need to know are you in or out? And here’s why we’d love to have you.
But if you decide that the nets aren’t for you this year, we understand this. And within 48 hours, if you don’t let me know that you’re in, I’m gonna say you’re out. And I signed each the letter, um, and the VP said, you can’t send that to our season ticket holders. Um, I said, well watch this. And uh, I get phone calls, guys laughing, and they said they’re in.
Um, I get a call from an indie, uh, from a doctor who had an Indian accent, India from India, and he said, why did you send me a dead duck? ? I guess the rubber chicken doesn’t translate over to India. Um, We got a hundred percent response and we solved the problem. Uh, so that now that you couldn’t do to what we’re talking about with that five mile radius, uh, it would be too expensive.
Although these things only cost like two, two or three bucks, uh, the FedEx box and all, that’d be too expensive. But there’s something that you have to just start thinking what your market is. And in this case, it’s a five mile radius. There’s a local store going to get somebody that’s 15 miles away.
Mark Kinsley: There’s a, there’s, there are principles at play here too. And, and one of my favorite principles in marketing is creating a mystery. And so mystery number one was what’s inside this FedEx box? mystery number two was, What’s in this letter that it’s tied to a rubber chicken and why is it tied to a rubber chicken and why am I gonna foul out?
What did I do to foul out? So you layered mystery after mystery after mystery until they’re like so curious that our brain gets open
Jon Spoelstra: loops. It just, it just, it just wasn’t fair. .
Mark Quinn: No, definitely not. But what I like about it too is we’re an, an attention based economy, John, and so you earned my time to open that up and give you my attention.
And not just that, but you also earned my reaction to that. Right. And so you, when one thing, one thing is to get ’em to open it, but it’s entirely different to get into, act on it. Right? Right. But because of your creativity, That’s exactly where you went. Do, do you have any, we talked about a, a good example there.
Um, do you have a failure, John, that you can think of over your time in the N NBA that maybe you tried something and it just, not only was it not good, but Oh wow. It was like really not good. Do you have any fun stories
Jon Spoelstra: for us? Well, I’ve, yeah, I’ve had plenty of failures. Um, , . But like, okay, let’s say like, uh, let’s say like, uh, I told you about the advertising.
All the advertising we did, we had to measure it. If we couldn’t measure it, we wouldn’t do it. So, um, and I’ve tried everything with advertising, but we’d measure. So let’s say you’d run an ad. I’ll tell you what, we, um, after I left the Nets, I joined a company where we owned, uh, seven minor league baseball teams.
And we would run these ads, which were, let’s say a quarter page in the paper. Let’s say like the date and daily news or uh, Dallas Morning News, . And it would be equivalent of a quarter page ad and it would be all copied. Sometimes wouldn’t even have a picture. And we’d look at the ratio for every dollar we put into that ad, how many dollars did we get back?
Or we wanted to get a minimum of $4 back. So if the ad cost 2000, we wanna get $8,000 back. And we measured it. If it didn’t pull, we wouldn’t run it again. And I know some people say, well, it takes time for advertising to work, but not direct response. It’s either polls or it doesn’t. Uh, so I had general managers, I was president of Mandalay Baseball Properties.
I had general managers that said, geez, these ads are really crappy. They’re all copy little pictures. Uh, I wanna run an ad that’s got more pictures, uh, less copy. I said, okay, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll let you do it. We’ll pay for it. Um, knock yourself out, run the ad, but we gotta measure it. And so there were times when we spent $2,000 and it got no response whatsoever.
And the general manager said, well, it’s gotta breathe a little bit. You know, people have gotta assimilate it. And, uh, so I’m pointing out to somebody else’s failure than my own . But, but I also had duds of my own ads. There are certain, certain times I thought, gee, this is one of the all-time great ads I’ve ever seen in my life.
And it pulled, pulled poorly and I, it just hurt me that I had to kill the ad. But that’s been the truth, is you run an ad ad again, it just doesn’t pull. And if an ad does pull, uh, we had one in, uh, Dayton with Dayton. Uh, Dragons Minor league team. And the headline was, it was basically a playoff of, um, that movie.
Uh, the headline was, is this Heaven Kevin Costner movie? Sure. Oh yeah. And that thing started to pull 10 to one, and it consistently pulled seven to eight to one. We’d run it on Monday and Thursday on page three, week after week after week. And Bob Murphy, the president of the team, he said, I’m getting so sick of that ad.
He said, can’t we run a new ad? I said, sure. Um, so I wrote another ad, which I thought was better, and I said, we’ll try this one. And it pulled really poorly. And he says, what do we do now? And I said, go back to the first. You know, is this heaven? We ran that thing and it just kept on pulling again. So I found out, and then we took that same ad and we did it in Frisco, Texas, and we did it in the different markets we were in in that poll.
So I found out that certain ad, if it’s pull, if it’s, if it’s working for you, just never stopped. If I was still in baseball today, I’d be running that ad and the only way I’d stop is if the fans stopped buying tickets. Have you heard of
Mark Quinn: the John, have you heard of the Savannah Bananas?
Jon Spoelstra: Yeah, I was, uh, uh, part owner for a while.
Was that right? Well, we’ve had funny,
Mark Kinsley: we’ve had Jesse Cole on the podcast. He, he kicked off the first of this year. You can go back and listen to it. Jesse was on the podcast. Phenomenal. We had a great time. So, so
Jon Spoelstra: Jesse came, Jesse came to us, uh, cuz he had a team, uh, outside of, uh, Charlotte Gastonia. . He had Gastonia and he was going to a Savannah and he wanted us, me and Steve delay to consult with him, but he didn’t have any money.
And we said we’d consult for a piece of the action. And, uh, so we said the whole key in this business is selling every ticket, every game. And Jesse’s, you know, this, this huge personality and uh, but he let us do the shape up the business. Uh, and we sold every ticket to every game. Jesse’s an amazing showman.
And now they sell every ticket. Well, they’re not playing right now, but they will be playing this summer. So, like Steve and I then, uh, did a team, the and Bacon,
Mark Quinn: Everybody likes Bacon.
Jon Spoelstra: John. Yeah, you’ve heard of it is a bacon man. You can buy a bacon suit in.
Mark Kinsley: Well, and I love the fact that the Savannah Bananas have made the Macon Bacon, their arch nemesis, , so not have focused on these two teams. I think it’s brilliant. Yeah. So
Jon Spoelstra: like our guys, our guys wanted to do something about that, and I said, look, we can’t compete with Jesse.
I mean, he’s just so creative. Our guys, we had Macon. good guys, but Jesse is, I mean, he’s just like way up there. So I said, just let him build this thing on his own. It’s gonna help us. And, uh, he’s having fun with it, uh, and we’re gonna benefit by it. But
Mark Quinn: you, you know, that’s good advice though, John. First of all, Kinsley, how funny is it and, and how, uh, what are the chances that John here was somehow connected to the Savannah Bananas, who we also had on this show?
That cracks me up. So I love that. Thank you, John. Um, but I think something you said there is so important because it’s something Kinsley and I talk about, which is be who you are, number one, know who you are. Uh, in second, if you’re not Jesse Cole, don’t try to be Jesse Cole. Right. Uh, figure out your own path and, um, and, and, and go that way.
But I think a lot of people make that mistake, don’t you? They try to, you know, play the other guy’s game and then fail. I mean, I’m sure you’ve
Jon Spoelstra: run across that. Yeah. But I’m thinking if I’m retail, I’m saying, what’s my market? What, how big is it? Right. Do I have big enough? Do, do I have a big enough budget to go on television a lot?
Do I have a big enough budget to go on cable TV a lot? Um, or what is my market? And if it happened to be a five mile radius, then that’s my market and I want to, I wanna dominate that market. What’s it gonna take for me to dominate that market? It can’t be TV advertising cause you can’t segment that small.
Um, how would, how would I do it? And I don’t have the answers for you right now, but, um, that’s, that’s the way my thinking would be.
Mark Kinsley: Yeah, I think that’s a, that’s a great way to kind of position it, you know, what is that piece of real estate I’m gonna own physically and then what’s the piece of real estate I’m gonna own in people’s minds?
So, positioning your business and, you know, with all the, you. Pretty much like the geotargeting and the way that you can tailor an audience with Facebook and Google and search. There are lots of ways to do that digitally now and then. But let, let’s, let’s actually brainstorm real quickly. So if you don’t have any money, let’s, or very, very limited budgets and you can’t do any broadcast advertising or, or bigger budget stuff, have you seen any kind of ground and pound marketing that works out there today?
Has anything come to
Jon Spoelstra: mind? Well, I’ll tell you, a friend of mine, uh, used to have a restaurant and, and I asked him this question. I said, every mopa restaurant that I go into at the, sort of like a diner type restaurant, they’ve got a fishbowl by the, by the checkout, by the cash register where you drop your business card.
In there, you can win a free lunch. But I always ask when I see that I said, I asked the person there, I said, what happens to the losers? And I say, what do you mean losers? And I said, well, you pick out one person who wins their free lunch. What about those other 20, 30 cards in there? They didn’t. They didn’t win a free lunch.
What do you do with them? Generally the answer is they throw it away. Now you’re talking about that radius. If you say, okay, there’s 20 people in there, most likely if it’s just like a diner, most likely most of those people come from a radius. They’re probably not more than five miles away. So I put that, I started building a database, but I would send them a letter.
Now you can do it with an email. I’d send them a letter that same day. Thank you for stopping in at John Steiner. Next time you come in, uh, I’d like to offer you a free dessert or free coffee. Just mention my name and I’ll give you free coffee. Um, the idea being, can I in increase the frequency? This is with a restaurant where there’s frequency is very important.
If I can increase a person’s frequency from one time every month to twice every month, that impacts my business a lot. So how do you get to know those people in a, like with a tired or with a mattress, which is not as frequent as a restaurant? By the way, the guy did that idea, sent out the letter and he said the business just exploded on it.
He said, nobody goes any anymore. It’s too crowded. Yogi . Yeah.
Mark Kinsley: Right. Yeah, I remember that one. No, that’s good. I mean, it’s even thinking about when you run contests, how, how are you gonna build your list? How are you gonna use that, that list to, to mine for selling opportunities, whether you’re in a high frequency restaurant environment or an infrequent, durable good.
Jon Spoelstra: I would, I would probably do a direct re if it’s like that confined area, I’d probably do a direct response. But it would be a letter from me. Like Mark would be a letter from me directly to you. You wouldn’t be able to tell the difference that it went to everybody. Mm-hmm. . I mean it would, um, and it would be sort of like Les Schwab.
We’re here to, if you have to drive, uh, we wanna keep you safe, it’d be that tone for sleep. Yeah. How you gonna make it emotional? How you gonna make it? Well, lemme ask you, when I drive down the street and I see in front of a mattress store, there’s a lot of times they’ve got a guy outside that’s waving something.
Get you to, does that work? He’s,
Mark Kinsley: he actually says something. He’s saying, please God, come to my store. , .
Jon Spoelstra: We think he’s praying actually, John. Well, I see that all the time. And I’m wondering, does that work?
Mark Quinn: It does. It’s an attention grab and Go ahead. Yeah, it, it does. And so I think it grabs your attention and makes you aware of them being there.
But, but does it get
Jon Spoelstra: people in the store? I haven’t, I haven’t once gone, oh geez, look at that guy. I better go in there and see what the mattresses they’ve got. So
Mark Quinn: I haven’t run a store where I’ve had people doing it, but I know this, I know enough to say this, that if it wasn’t working, they probably wouldn’t be
Jon Spoelstra: doing it.
Oh no, I agree on that. Cause I think people do things Well, I, I can tell you I’ve seen that in the sports business where they Okay. The, the, the trifold. Yeah, they do. Every year without question. Okay. You have a good
Mark Quinn: point. Um, I, I’ll tell you this though. So Mattress Firm in Tulsa, Oklahoma, uh, Mr. Yellich, um, Michael, um, owns those stores out there along with our good buddy Harry Roberts.
And they had a grand opening I went to, and they had a guy dressed up and they were out on the corner for the grand opening. And it definitely did bring people into those stores. Now, that was a grand opening, but the attention did drive
Jon Spoelstra: traffic. Can we go, we go back to that, uh, that, uh, the gallery? Mm-hmm.
how important, okay. Like a typical mattress store, if I went and bought a mattress today, what’s a typical time when they de how, how, how long does it take them for to set it up? Um, days. Weeks. What? Oh, you mean to
Mark Quinn: d actually, once you buy it, to actually deliver it right to your home? Yeah, those guys are pretty good nowadays, I’d say within a couple days by the end of the
Jon Spoelstra: week for sure.
So, but if I was at a mattress store, yeah. And again, that confined area and I sent out that really personal letter. , I would put in there, you buy it before three o’clock, we set you up for that night. Mm-hmm. , you’re sleeping on it that day. That night I think,
Mark Kinsley: think you’re spot on. I, I think here’s what I’ve noticed about the world in which we live.
Whenever you go about solving a problem, you want to solve it right then. So I have a friend who works in, uh, at in-home senior care. He has a franchise. He has a really great business and their team is set up to immediately answer phones and respond online to emails within like 60 seconds to an email.
Cause they know that whenever somebody’s trying to find a place for mom or dad, they’re trying to solve that problem right now. I think the same thing applies with tires or mattresses or anything else. So the response time and the ability to solve the problem in a very narrow window is a huge competitive advantage.
But it’s not only competitive advantage, it’s table, it’s gonna be table stakes.
Jon Spoelstra: Well, and also you can beat your competition cuz the competition isn’t doing that
Mark Kinsley: and they’re probably not gonna think it through stem to stern enough to outline and design that experience so they can beat you. It’s being more thoughtful about it.
This is, let’s put this on your 90 day list.
Jon Spoelstra: Yeah. Right, right. But
Mark Quinn: you know, the other thing Jan making good point is on something like a mattress for a tire, you don’t want it, you need it. So you buy it, you kind of need to have it. And so I think that’s a good way to, it’s a good thing to focus on is the, is the time that you from
Jon Spoelstra: purchase to, but if you’re talking about like that company that’s, uh, a little bit worn down and it’s not inspired and they say, oh, that’s gonna be too much work.
Mm-hmm. and it would be, cause you got you guys to rearrange everything, you know, to be able to jump on it like that.
Mark Kinsley: Well, one of the questions I love from your book, is what have I done to make money for my company today? Tell, tell us about developing that question. That’s a great question for any person I think to ask themselves each day.
Jon Spoelstra: Well, sometimes we just get caught up during the day and at the end of the day, you’re exhausted. You might have put in 14 hours, 12 hours and any, you looked at, what did I do today to make money for my company? You say, wow, geez. I met with lawyers, I met with the accounting department, uh, met with the ad ad agency, which theoretically could provide, but what did I do today to make money?
So this is when I was with the New Jersey Nets and I decided that I was gonna make a sales call a day for the rest of my life, for the rest of my business life.
Um, Which was relatively easy for me to do because we had 20 ticket sales meeting when we had, uh, three sponsorship sales guys. So I could, uh, go along with any of those guys. And I decided to do that, that I would physically go out on a sales call every day. And it’s not because I felt that I was a far superior salesperson, just that I thought I’ve gotta get out just into the marketplace.
And this forced me to do it once a day to go on, on a sales call. Well, I got to know the young ticket salespeople, by the way. They were just scared to death about this in the beginning. But the president of the New Jersey net, what’s going on in the sales ticket? Sales call with them? Um, and they found out that, that it wasn’t, uh, bad at all.
And I got out on sponsorship sales. And then when I joined, I did that every day. Um, so what did take me out my day? Maybe an hour, an hour and a half. And I got to spend time with the salespeople, got to know them a little bit better, and it showed that the, that I felt the emphasis of the company was that the president was going on, on sales calls, that this was important.
So when I joined Mandalay, where we had seven minor league baseball teams, I traveled around to visit them. One of the things, if I went to the Frisco team, Frisco, Texas, I wanted to go on a sales call that day and date, and I’d go on the sales call and uh, wherever we were at, I’d go Staten Island. I’d go out on a sales call and it just reinforced how important sales were to the teams.
We had a lot of young employees and the president of the company thought it was important enough to go on a sales call. Maybe they should step, step up, step it up a little bit,
Mark Kinsley: and then you could say to yourself, what did I do to make money for the company today? I went on a sales call. So for sure you reflected every day you had something to check that box.
Jon Spoelstra: and,
Mark Quinn: and I’m sure you, the, the amount of, um, information you were able to gather from that and what you were learning from that frontline experience, right?
Jon Spoelstra: Yeah. I mean, it was like I was doing, uh, product research every day, right? And company research about your whole staff. I mean, you get to know these people and they get to tell you all these different things that you didn’t know what was going on.
And, um, you know, I thought it was terrific. I thought it was one of the best things that I, that I did.
Mark Quinn: So, so John, one of the things that we talk about a lot is, so I, I love because you’re talking a lot about direct response. Um, and so that’s one way of promoting for sure. But the other part of it too is connecting to the consumer, right?
So when you’re part of a ball club and it’s the important part of, and, and, and, and sports is so fun and it’s emotional, and so you got that going for you for sure, and they connect to the players and all that, but. What were you able to do to, to, or how much time did you spend thinking about connecting, not just selling to them and the direct response and getting them to react to your advertising, but can you, can you think of some things in terms of like, like literally connecting with them in terms of experience or getting them to connect with the team on a deeper level?
Jon Spoelstra: here’s one thing. I never had anybody intercept any of my phone calls. Right? Okay. Anyone call me, they can call me and I talk to ’em. Mm-hmm. , if they, if I wasn’t available, I left my voicemail would, would say, this is John Spolstra, uh, gimme your name and number and I’ll call you back within 24 hours.
And I always did. Um, and in the ticket department, the box office, if there’s, I said if you got any complaints from people that sometimes because it’s a sport and it’s emotional, sometimes people can really get nasty. And I said, you get into customer that’s really angry. I said, send ’em over to me. I’ll talk to him on the phone.
And so, you know, what would happen is by the time they’d get to me, you know, they’d call up and they’d be angry about something. And, and a person in the box office said, well, if you wanna talk to John Spon, the president of the Nets, you’d be glad to talk to you. And he’s, he’s in the office and he’s available.
And they’d, oh yeah, sure. Uh, now I can connect you right now. By the time they connect, the guy was just, uh, had laid down, you know, it was just, you know. But, um, so I think probably just answering my own phone mm-hmm. . Um, and I would then call back if I was in, you know, I’d, I’d probably do 20 call backs a.
And the way I’d handle it would be otherwise I’d be calling back all different times the day I’d call back at 1130 in the morning. So if you call me during the morning, if I was on a sales call or I wasn’t available, I’d get back and I would, uh, personally get the eight phone messages and write down the phone numbers and keep track.
Then I’d call him right back at 1130 and the next time I’d call back, it’d be at four o’clock, but I’d call back twice a day so that at least I had some type of order that’s stumbling to order to it. This is, uh, yeah. That’s great. There’s a simple, you know, I was just thinking about this, you know, because we had that connection with Roy Williams.
Roy Williams is big in, uh, he’s got a lot of jewelry clients and I gotta believe that’s sort of akin to tires and mattresses, if not the frequency of purchase. Uh, maybe a little bit more for jewelry than mattresses, but, uh, Roy and I, Roy is the master of radio. The stuff that he does on radio, it’s just absolutely spectacular.
And if I was in the mattress business, I had several stores, I think I’d hire Roy right away. Or if I had a big mattress store, I’d hire Roy. Cause he, you know, he believes that it’s the long play, uh, with my stuff is direct response. And I believe you gotta order today. So, like Roy and I have come to accept each other’s, uh, style, but for some of this long play stuff like mattress, yeah, I mean that’s just like perfect.
And his, his style of radio. Spots that he does for jewelry. I wanna buy some jewelry, I wanna hear radio spots. And, but they’re in town, like in Tulsa, Oklahoma, or
Mark Kinsley: he’s got these great, um, teachings around the idea in, in the vein of radio about if you’re selling insurance or something that is a longer sales cycle or more of what we were talking about durable goods.
He says there, you know, there’s, there’s the emotion, there’s building value in it, there’s dialogue, there’s all these different techniques you can use. But one of ’em I love is this idea of some sort of audio, uh, stinger or indicator that is unique enough to remind you whenever you finally do have that need, you hear that gong going off.
That, that, that goes back to the mattress. So I, I thought that was a really cool way of thinking about it. You know, if somebody opens up their mailbox and then they finally see that mattress flyer or that direct response piece, maybe the gong goes off in their head that maps back to something they heard on the radio.
It gives you some more frequency out of it. Yeah. Well, um, I, I gotta ask you something. Switching back to sports a little bit, uh, the last dance documentary is going on right now. Uh, that’s about obviously the Bulls and Michael Jordan and Phil Knight and the entire team in the nineties leading up to the sixth Championship.
Have you, I can ask this, I think, without leading you on, so even if you haven’t watched it or if you have, what do you see or remember about that time that maybe the average viewer is not picking up on?
Jon Spoelstra: Great question. Um, well, it reinforced what a great competitor. Michael Jordan was like crazy competitor.
And there was a point, cuz I was general manager of the Portland Trailblazer about that time, Michael Jordan and what I was going to do and I didn’t do it and I fault myself. I wanted to get four autographs and put ’em on just one area and, and four greatest competitors. Michael Jordan was one. Um, David Stern was gonna be another, but David Stern while commissioned the nba, he was really, really good competitive.
S o b I mean really terrific and I love David. Uh, but boy he could really compete. Uh, the third one was Bill Gates. Bill Gates looked like this scholarly guy, you know, that was above the fray. He was in the fray. He was the afraid, you know? And the fourth one, I think maybe it was Tiger Woods, when Tiger was the young tiger at that point.
Then there’s four real competitors, Michael Jordan. Then this last dance, I mean this revel in the fact that this guy really competes. I mean, I dunno if any NBA player maybe except for Larry Bird who competed at that level.
Mark Kinsley: You, you watched Jordan play, you saw Jordan play right up close. Uh, was he, was he a mean guy to other guys in the court?
You know, I used to hear about him talking trash to Mugsy Bogues, the shortest player in the league. .
Jon Spoelstra: He talked trash to everybody, I think. Yeah, he and Larry Bird were the king of trash talking King. Uh, and Michael Jordan would come up with these where his feelings were hurt somehow. You know, and just punish the opponent.
I mean, he would invent ways of getting himself psyched up. And I just loved, love him as a competitor. Michael Jordan. I never recalled him taking plays off. He always played hard. And I’ve seen current players who were superstars take plays off and this idea of, what do they call, uh, managed, uh, where they take games off.
Uh, that wouldn’t have been Michael Jordan, but I felt at the time he was the greatest player that I’ve ever seen. I still believe that.
Mark Quinn: So I, I read a book by Tim Grover, who was, you probably know him. He was the trainer for Michael. And, uh, and, uh, uh, the late great. And, uh, anyway, I just love how he talked about those two guys and he, he calls ’em cleaners in the book and there’s just something different about them.
You know, just, they’re relentless. They’re just, there is, losing is not an option and Right. I, and, and I think it’s a great principle to apply to business too. It’s like, you know, you just, there are no excuses. And you talk about, I love what you were saying, John, about your every 90 days. It’s just a, it’s a mission.
It is a journey to continuously improve and always be looking for a way to, um, put yourself in a better position to win. And those guys did it all the time.
Jon Spoelstra: Like, uh, Larry Bird, every summer wanted to come up with the new. This is after he’d become an Allstar and become Larry Bird. As we, one summer he wanted to develop, become proficient, left-handed shooter, and they were on the West Coast trip and they came into Portland and the word came back to me.
Larry Bird is gonna unveil, he’s gonna score. He wants to score over 30, he’s gonna play against the Blazers. That night we had Clyde Drexler and some really great players, Clyde’s a hall of Famer, and he’s gonna play the game left-handed. He came out and scored 30 against us and all he did was shoot left-handed.
Now that’s the competitor. First of all, you think ahead to develop a skill and then you say, during the season, I’m gonna just use, I’m gonna test this skill. I’m only gonna play lefthand and get.
Mark Quinn: In trash talking the whole way. Who, who are the guys like that today? Do you think, John, are there, I mean, I’m sure there are, but can you think of any players today that, you know, kind of have that same attitude of uh, you know, when at all costs?
Um, anyone come to mind right off the top of your head?
Jon Spoelstra: Yeah. And there’s some really great players. I’d have to think about that. Mm-hmm. , but you know, like Larry Bird and Michael Jordan were, if there was a hall of fame, just for trash talking, Larry Bird, Gary Peyton and Michael Jordan. Uh, that’s the Mount Rushmore right there. . There’s a Mount Rushmore of trash talking.
Mark Quinn: Kinsley Kinsley trash talks me all the time. John, I gotta figure out.
Mark Kinsley: I’m trying to make it to up to the Mountain . Well, John, hey, it’s, it’s been really fun having you on the show. Thank you so much for kind of walking us, you know, down memory lane and giving us some really great insights into new, as a na, a way of life and how to treat every 90 days, and talking about being a competitor and being a creative, differentiated marketer.
All these things that we need, uh, you know, coming out of this crazy post Covid new normal, um, the creativity I think is gonna win and the resilience and being a competitor is where we’re gonna win.
Jon Spoelstra: So, thank you guys. So how, how do I find your podcast?
Mark Kinsley: Mattress podcast.com.
Mark Quinn: Okay. And, and, and John, it’s very important that, you know, uh, a good f a
Jon Spoelstra: good phone.
We’ll move on next. Who’s that? Who you gonna have next week? Uh,
Mark Kinsley: I’m gonna actually interview Mark and he’s gonna interview me next week, .
Jon Spoelstra: Okay. This was fine. Fun. We, we do that?
Mark Quinn: No, we, we’ve got some people, um, lined up. I think we’re just gonna be talking industry stuff and updating, uh, retailers about the Covid situation and the funding and all that stuff.
So it’ll be just kind of a house cleaning thing. But we, we did have on the
Mark Kinsley: show built so much value in that. That sounds really exciting. Well, I,
Jon Spoelstra: and I haven’t looked,
Mark Quinn: it’s gonna be fantastic cuz it’s just Kinsley and I and we’re gonna have our dogs on John. We’re gonna put little pictures of our, no. Um, so Chris Cassidy, who’s a, um, astronaut and a Navy Seal.
Um, he’s up on the Space Station right now, um, doing some work, Kobe living there for six months. We interviewed him on the show. Wow. And, and we did ask him, um, if he had ever, during his entire time in space, had he ever run across a Better Mattress Industry podcast. And he said he had not, because our tagline is, it’s the Best Mattress Podcast in the Galaxy.
And so that’s what you’ll see on the splash page of our website is Okay. The Mattress industry’s best Galaxy’s Best Mattress podcast. So
Jon Spoelstra: I’ll check it
Mark Kinsley: out. Well, thanks again, John. We, we enjoyed it. And how can people find you if they wanna, uh, find out more about your books or your work, your career? Is it john spolstra.com?
Jon Spoelstra: Yeah. Or you know, in my book, I put in my email address and yeah, find john msn.com. Find F I N D j O N. And that’s how
Mark Kinsley: I found, that’s how I found John
Jon Spoelstra: and, and,
Mark Quinn: and everybody listening to this kins and I talk about it a lot, but it’s really important. We think that we look outside of our industry for inspiration and examples of what to do.
Uh, you can’t get stuck. You can’t stay where you are. And that’s why, um, we’re so grateful to have John on. He can give us different perspective principles, don’t change tactics might. Um, but here’s a guy that’s, uh, been kind enough to give us time, so be sure to go out, get his book, read through it, uh, connect to him and pay attention because he’s done a lot of great stuff that you can definitely apply to what you’re doing.
And, um, and it’s worthwhile. John, and when is your next book, uh, heading? You had mentioned it
Jon Spoelstra: earlier. Yeah, well I think I’m gonna release it the middle of June. I’ve gotta wait and see how the economy’s going. Like right now, the business books I read are down 33% in sales. Wow. . And so I think America’s just sort of like waiting, you know, they’re waiting to see what’s gonna happen.
Mm-hmm. and like in the various openings, everybody’s sort of like waiting and seeing the book is finished, it’s ready to go. Um, but I wanna launch it when people are reading or want to read.
Mark Kinsley: I think people are hungry for information, information right now, but they also sense that business is changing and it’s kind of getting back to that place where I’m ready
Jon Spoelstra: to, and it’s, uh, the most important thing you can do is.
right? And it’s one of the most important things is, uh, how to get your boss to approve anything you wanna do. , , meaning your wife, mark.
Mark Kinsley: Well, let us know whenever it’s out too, and we’ll put it up on our website and we’ll let people know when it’s available, because, hey, guess what? There was a period in time when I had to try and get my boss to, to do what I wanted him to do, and Mark Quinn was my boss.
Mark Quinn: You did, you got to do everything you wanted
Jon Spoelstra: to do. Come
Mark Kinsley: on, . He usually took it and like made it bigger, and then I made what he did bigger and we just snowballed from there. So it was always fun. Well,
Jon Spoelstra: thanks again, John.
Mark Quinn: Okay, thank You’re, you’re awesome.
Jon Spoelstra: Appreciate it. You guys are terrific. This was fun.