This week we take a look at Demon’s Cycle of Pompano Florida. Demon’s, which originally started in Cranston Rhode Island, has been in business for over 20 years and specializes in selling custom Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts both locally and online. They have had countless reviews and have been featured in magazines around the country and have sponsored many events all over the USA.
One of the things that make this company unique is the design of their business operations. Owner Tom Steinbacher hires people with a passion for Harleys and then teaches them the business side of things rather than the other way around. The reason for this is because he feels it is important that his employees can relate and work with any customer whether it is in person or over the phone.
“Bring me a guy who knows everything about business but nothing about a Harley Davidson and put him in front of a customer who needs information on a front fender. He is going to be completely lost, no idea what the customer is asking. Bring me a guy who has a passion for Harleys and no business sense whatsoever I can teach him customer service and he can sit there and walk a customer through dozens of parts, what they need, how to install it and they can do it over the phone as well. I can teach business to anyone, I can’t teach Harleys that is a passion you have to have if you want to sell parts.” Tom Steinbacher.
Steinbacher has an interesting business model because of what he sells and it shows in the company’s customer service. By having a customer service team that has a passion and knowledge of motorcycles and motorcycle parts, it helps the customer get the information they need as fast as possible.
“You would be amazed how many people call us from around the world or place orders online and they are ordering the wrong part. There are literally thousands of custom Harley Davidson parts to choose from so mistakes are going to be made. I want a team that can recognize those mistakes on an email or from a phone call and work with the customer to make sure they get the right part. I hate, I seriously hate when a customer has to send a part back because they didn’t order the right one they needed or when I have someone run up to me with questions about motorcycles and parts. I hate it because it means things aren’t going well right from the beginning. When that would happen I knew the entire way we did business needed to be under review. That’s why I hire the people who know the motorcycles and then I work with them on the business side of it.”
The reason the Demon’s Cycle strategy is unique is that it focuses on people’s passion rather than experience and education. Most companies want a degree, they want experience, they want references and they want people who can do the job from day one. Demon’s Cycle focuses on finding people who are passionate about Harley Davidsons and other types of motorcycles, and then will teach them the other aspects of the business. We live in a time where there has to be a college degree at the top of your resume’, otherwise you probably will not even get an interview. It is refreshing to see a business that looks for passion over education history and experience. This is what Steinbacher looks for when he reviews applicants.
“Bring me a guy with a business degree who rides a Harley Davidson to work that he customized and works on himself and I will hire him that day. But those are hard to find. Bring me someone with a degree in business who has never even sat on a Harley and I won’t be able to teach them anything. It will take me a week to teach them what ape hanger handlebars are. But bring me some kid who didn’t even graduate high school but has been working on his Dad’s motorcycle since he was young and I can take that person and work with them. Those are the people our customers respond best to, people who know the business. When you call Demon’s Cycle and need to order wheels or a gas tank and it is the wrong size I want a guy who can recognize that even over the phone and tell you that’s not going to work. Tell me what’s better customer service, the person who is perfect with customer service skills and sends you something you can’t use because they don’t know anything about motorcycles or the person who gives you good customer service but they can tell a customer over the phone they are ordering the wrong part? Personally, I would want to be told I’m ordering the wrong part.”
Building a company from scratch, relocating to South Florida, staying in business through a tough recession and having thousands of customers all over the world, Steinbacher may be on to something. His company has thrived for two decades under his guidance and he will tell you the first time you meet him for a job interview he wants people who are passionate about what they are doing, otherwise it is a waste of time. The ironic part is he is not alone. Many businesses, even some corporations, are now focused on hiring people with a passion for their respective industry rather than those who have the more impressive resume’ or look more favorable under review. The reason is part to do with bad or unfavorable tendencies taught in college or other companies that can hinder someone’s progress at a new job. If you were taught how to do something in school and then learned the same exact thing at your first job you are probably going to struggle with your next job if they do things differently. Every business, no matter what industry they are in, is a little different and does things their own way. So getting someone with a passion for the industry but has raw business skills seems to be more favorable than someone who has been taught to do things one way that may not be compatible with how your business does it. It is an interesting concept and Demon’s Cycle has thrived for over 20 years using it.