Harley Davidson Exec Headlines PPAI Expo

Dressed In Jeans, Blue Striped Button-Down And Leather Jacket

Harley Davidson Exec Headlines PPAI ExpoRiding onto the stage yesterday morning on a Harley Davidson motorcycle, Ken Schmidt rapidly got the attention of his PPAI Expo audience. "My story is clear," he said. "What's your story? You better figure it out before you go home."

Dressed in jeans, a blue striped button-down and black leather jacket, Schmidt implored attendees to create differentiators for their businesses that are better than the traditional sayings. "When you say you have great service or quality products, you're just repeating the same old story that the guy down the street is saying," said Schmidt, the former director of communications for Harley Davidson Motor Company. "Your company's story needs to be more invigorating than that. It needs to be more energizing to the people you're talking to."

Schmidt said the key to creating a good story is the energy and passion distributors have for their businesses. If you come off as bored or aloof or overwhelmed, he said, then that's exactly how your clients will feel when they interact with your business. "The single most magnetic trait among humans is passion," said Schmidt during his speech at the PPAI Expo, which is being held this week at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. "People are attracted to others who are outwardly passionate about what they do. If you're not tapping into this fact in your business, then you're failing."

Schmidt pointed out that within an economy that's so dependent on word-of-mouth for business, companies today can't afford to have customers who aren't advocating for them with people they meet. "Do you know what your customers say about you when asked? You should. People buy from who they like, and if they like you, they'll be more likely to give you referrals and introduce you to others who would be interested in your services," Schmidt said. "That's when you know your customers aren't just customers – they're disciples. That's the holy grail in business today."

His speech took place on the first day that the exhibit floor was open at the PPAI Expo, which continues through Friday. Counselor's cameras caught up with Schmidt after his speech. Click here to see the video. Also, be sure to follow Counselor Editor Andy Cohen on Twitter at @asi_andycohen for updates and product highlights from the PPAI Expo all week long.