Earlier this week I noticed a flyer on Earl Small’s Facebook page for a Service Seminar…
I figured if nothing else, it would give me a reason to get out of the office before 7:00 p.m. on Thursday night and I might learn a few tricks of the trade that aren’t obvious in my Dyna Service Manual. So, I gave the store a ring and, as always, had a wonderful chat with Earl Small’s receptionist Pat Zinicola: I just love talkin’ to Pat, she just makes you feel like family every time you talk with her! Pat signed-me up, shared what she knew about the seminar and told me I was a shoe-in for a free Battery Tender. While I didn’t really need the free Battery Tender, I was looking forward to whatever the seminar might bring.
So, fast forward to Thurday… I headed out of the office around 6:15 p.m. for the short 1.5 mile ride from the Lockheed plant to Earl Small’s and headed in to the service area to find the seminar. I think it was Eddie Smith to directed me around into the service bay where I found a bunch of folding chairs set up around a Street Glide sitting on a service lift and next to a couple of tables with all kinds of snacks and swag, and a mannequin wearing some H-D branded Gerbings heated riding gear.
The event was being sponsored by “myinvestmentbroker.com” so seated behind the table were Phil and Jennifer Calandra, and directing traffic and getting folks signed in was Jamie Landers, Earl Small’s Marketing Director.
I got myself signed-in, received my raffle ticket from Jamie, passed on the swag and found a front row seat on the left-side of the Street Glide in the hopes that I’d be able to see what was going-on. Frankly, it was not quite the best set-up for a true “training seminar”. It would have been better to have moved the lift out from its normal position a bit so that folks could have been invited to stand around the bike and the service tech and “see” what he was doing. Perhaps they’ll tweak it a bit for any future seminars.
Jamie introduced Phil & Jennifer and then introduced Jim Vadner, Earl Small’s Service Manager, who did his best to introduce Lori Lewis, their Motorclothes Manager.. but was bound and determined to make her the Parts Manager.
Lori was there to pitch the H-D line of heated clothing to the group, which kind of struck me as a bit odd and unexpected. But, as she made her pitch it began to tie-in to the Battery Tenders that 10 folks would receive and the service seminar theme as their service tech, Orie Cain, would show everyone how to wire-in a Battery Tender harness that could also be used with the heated gear, noting that Earl Smalls’ began installing Battery Tender leads on all new motorcycles this fall. Bless her heart, Lori did her best to pitch the heated gear but I didn’t get the impression she’d actually used it all that much. I chimed-in as did another one of the seminar guests on some of the things we’ve learned about the gear, i.e., the need for a heat-troller and benefit of have a dual-control heat-troller, the value of heated gear in general (it can really expand your riding season by weeks or even months… I ride year-round with mine, down into single digit temps) and the outstanding service you get from Gerbings.
After she finished her pitch, it was either Lori or Jamie who mentioned anyone who attended the seminar could get a 10% discount on H-D heated gear for the next 30-days before introducing Orie who was going to show the folks how to install a Battery Tender wiring harness on the Street Glide. It was at this point I had an “ah hah” moment, as I vividly recalled how Killer Creek Harley-Davidson in Roswell, Georgia had focused one of their recent, “This Is How We Do It” seminars on Headed Grips & Gear back on October 8th:
Come see how our PhD Certified Technicians work at our hands on, interactive demonstration series, This Is How We Do It. 11:00am. Everyone welcome. Free. Topic: Installation of HEated Grips and Heated Gear Pigtail. How To Topic: Installation of Heated Grips and Heated Gear Pigtail. Sales: 10% off Heated Grips and 15% off Heated Gear. Grips offer valid on in-stock, regular priced merchandise. Special orders will be accepted for Heated Gear with payment in full. Sales valid Saturday only. Offer not valid in conjunction with any other offer. For more information, click.
Anyway, Orie Cain stepped in and spent the next 45 minutes or so going through and showing folks how to get to the battery and install the wired-in accessories, and then how to change the fluids and do a basic 5,000 mile service on their Harley-Davidson’s using the Street Glide as a model. The only downsides to a lot of the folks was most did not own a Harley Touring bike so things on their own bikes were a bit different, and it was hard to see what was actually being done by Orie.
However, Orie was a wealth of information and experience when it came to Harley-Davidson’s and he easily fielded a number of questions from me and other seminar guests with very candid and honest answers… with no up-selling! I liked that, and I liked Orie’s confidence in his skills… so I will be making an appointment to get our ’11 Wide Glide tuned by Orie in the very near future!
In summary, and at least for me, the hidden value from attending the seminar was being introduced to Orie. As for the Battery Tender and heated gear pitch, it was of minimal interest and in some respects I could have probably led a pretty detailed discussion on both, given I’ve been using Battery Tenders and Gerbings gear for over 12-years. In fact, if the seminar had been co-billed as a chance to see how to use and install heated gear, I’m not sure I would have signed-up… so in some respects I’m glad they didn’t, otherwise I would not have been introduced to Orie. Finally, as one of the 1st to sign-up and show-up for the seminar, I received one of the free Battery Tender Jr’s, courtesy of Phil and Jennifer Calandra but gave it to one of the other seminar guests who seemed very appreciative of the gift: nice young man who also works out at Lockheed.
FWIW, I’ve included a couple of photos, below, that show how our Battery Tenders and heated-gear tied into both the Harley and BMW R1100S, and of some changes I’ve made to my Gerbings gear.