The old adage is so true that you have to walk a mile in someone’s shoes to understand what they go through.
Or in this case, stand for a weekend in your own footwear and get blistered and swollen! We took our Zero X motorcycle to the Green Living Show and conducted demo rides and chatted up the masses all day Saturday and Sunday. Although I now have a better than average idea of what goes into putting such a show together – living with the Show Director for the World of Motorcycles Expo is very educational – now I really know how it feels to be on the other side of the aisle, in the booth.
If you don’t genuinely enjoy meeting and talking with people, faggettaboutit. Sure, you want to make sales and spread the word but you have to love what it takes to do that and fortunately, we both do. I can’t tell you how many times someone would walk away after hearing about the Zero and I’d think, wow, that person was cool! No matter the focus of the show – motorcycles, home builders or in this case, the ecologically minded – there are passionate people who are steeped in their particular genre of living and eager to share their knowledge. In other words, you get as much as you give at one of these things, even as the pads of your feet scream for relief and you loathe the thought of lining up again for another below average cup of food-service coffee.
Another definite plus for me is the teamwork. I know more than most about the electric Zero motorcyle but I knew less than anyone I was working with at the booth this weekend so I did a lot of listening and learning by osmosis. I also quickly realized that it’s not my style to develop a “patter”. I’ll have a conversation with a stranger and I can talk about the bike forever but I’d rather tailor that chatter to the person I’m talking to and let them talk too. Pretty soon you get to realize what their concerns are and which features of the bike most interest them. Those looking at scooters, for example, are tickled to find out the Zero S (S is for street!) has a top speed of 100 km/hr. Unlike their putt-putting scooter, this means they can keep up with traffic and feel less vulnerable out there.
The other thing I pledge to do is tell someone when I don’t know the answer to their question. A few times I had to call one of the guys over to respond to some sort of gearhead query that went over my head, and then I’d shut up and listen to the answer so I’d know it for next time. Not so long ago, if you asked me about the features of my X-Trail I’d say with a grin, “It’s green!” But despite my lack of interest in all things automotive, the Zero is pulling me into that world because, frankly, it interests me. That’s not even enough – it actually EXCITES me! I’ve never been so drawn to a product for all the right reasons so the enthusiasm is real and from the heart. I guess that’s the secret.
I don’t know that I can say the same about the woman who gave half my face a facial (without asking if I had 25 minutes to sit there!) and then tried to sell me everything for $600 after telling me how awful my “untreated” half-face looked by comparison! NICE! Or the Shamwow! woman who got into a sales stream that most other product hawkers would envy but got a little grumpy near the end of the day if you just continued walking past. Or maybe it started out for them like it has for me but an endless sea of weekends full of people saying “no” to their sales pitches hardened them to the value of just being human about the whole thing. I can’t say, because I’m a newbie who knows a) I wouldn’t want to do this every weekend and b) it’s enough right now just to spread the word and increase interest in the Zero because it won’t be long before they’re all over the streets and word of mouth is doing the talking for us.