I am not a huge TV-watcher, but I do enjoy a handful of programs that are kind of like my relaxation and decompress after a long day of having to think and “do” for multiple people. American Pickers is a family favorite. I even had a chance to visit their Nashville location in 2016 and was amazed at what was on display there.
|“||“I’m Mike Wolfe. And I’m Frank Fritz. And we’re pickers. We travel the back roads of America looking to buy rusty gold.We’re looking for amazing things buried in people’s garages and barns. What most people see as junk, we see as dollar signs. We’ll buy ‘anything,’ we think we can make a buck on. Each item we pick has a history all its own. And the people we meet? Well, they’re a breed all their own.
We make a living telling the history of America…one piece at a time.”
These two characters have been on TV since 2010 and their fan base has grown right along with shop manager Danielle Colby’s tattoo collections (I have a girl crush on Danielle). A huge part of American Pickers stars, Mike Wolf, and Frank Fritz’s appeal is that they are honest and super-authentic. They are the kind of people you would love to just hang with for a day.
As businessmen, this company is seemingly doing well. When Mike and Frank were asked how they were successful in finding their never-ending Antique Archeology “honey holes” their “rusty gold” finds, their answer was simple; “we asked.”
This show is such a fav of mine for a variety of reasons. One is that I love seeing the artifacts of America’s history and hearing the stories behind them. I love seeing the beauty in simple, old things that now look like pieces of art. I adore watching Mike “honey badger” his way through piles of junk cuz…well, the guy looks darn good in jeans.
I also appreciate the fact that much of how they conduct business with the characters they encounter is right in alignment with the solid principles that all companies can take a lesson from.
Lessons on Being Genuine from The American Pickers Guys
The Ask: Going back to my initial comment about how they find their leads and connections; they ask.
The Lesson: This super-simple principle can apply in business from everything to new clients to sponsorship for your upcoming event. New clients could be possibly gained by just asking your connections, Likers and if they know of anyone who may have an interest in your services or products. Clients could be retained by asking what they feel they need help with when it comes to the aspects of business or what you could do differently to serve them. “The ask” is a powerful tool because…well…you’ll know of opportunities unless you do so.
Honesty, Transparency and Handshakes reign Supreme: In one episode Fast Eddy (a Minnesotan like me) wanted only ten bucks for his gas-and-oil related sign, but Mike revealed that the sign was worth far more and offers Fast Eddy a hundred dollar bill for the sign. Trust gained along with a genuine connection for life.
The Lesson: Because Mike was less focused on a high-profit margin and more on building a relationship with Fast Eddy. He will most likely not only get invited back for a second pick, but Eddy will also refer him to family and friends. Treat people fair the first and refrain from burning bridges just over a couple of extra bucks.
Be Genuine: While freestyling Mike and Frank encounter an older gentleman with a “mega pick” but this gentleman isn’t ready, or interested, in selling. Mike and Frank linger, asking the gentleman about his life, his past and his passion for collecting.
The Lesson: instead of walking away with the tails between their legs, muttering about the “grumpy bugger who won’t part with his junk” the picking duo work to create a solid relationship before leaving and keep his name on file, or “on the board, to keep the connection alive and followed up on periodically. They build the relationship first; the deal-making will come later.
Take-Aways on Why the American Pickers Guys Rule.
1. They listen to people’s story and reflect their passions.
2. They know when to hold em and know when to fold em (rare car, son got emotional and overwhelmed, they didn’t push. They acknowledge, hugged, moved on
3. Pay fair prices. Even offer up $50 when the seller is expecting $10 (build loyalty and trust)
4. Don’t whine about the dirt, poop, dust, and grime; they embrace it.
5. Everyone parts ways with a handshake, wave, and a good thing to say
6. They may exercise good intentions, but those intentions are still inter-twangled with the desire to turn a profit.
7. Pushy is for bulldozers, not business people. Nothing is a being deal killer and bride-burner than stronger arming someone into something they don’t want to do.
All of this is so easy to achieve. And I know that’s the kind or person/business I want to leave my hard-earned money with.