Mike Miazga 2017-11-15 08:46:42
A HEALTHIER INDUSTRY ASA’s NETWORK2017 in Nashville features an abundance of quality educational and networking interactions. The American Supply Association’s recent NETWORK2017 in Nashville, Tenn., took the PHCP-PVF industry’s biggest event of the year to an even higher plateau. ASA reported record attendance to the event held at the Omni Nashville Hotel, including a record turnout for the Bradford White opening night reception held at the famous Wildhorse Saloon in the heart of downtown Nashville. As has become standard, NETWORK mixed networking opportunities with many educational sessions. On the education side, prior to the show Peter Ricchiuti, who delivered the 2018 economic forecast in Nashville, joked “most people would rather have a root canal than hear an economic speaker, but this won’t be the case.” Ricchiuti, who has taught at Tulane University for more than 30 years, was spot-on in his assessment. He mixed in economic facts with some welltimed humor for the packed house. “The overall economy is quite good and has been for the past 98 months,” he said. “This is the third-longest economic expansion in U.S. history. Politics and the media’s preference for negative news have unfortunately shaped peoples’ perception. Corporate profits and stock prices are at all-tim e highs. The GDP has been growing at 2-2 1/2% annually. It will be very difficult to get us up to the 3-3.5% level for several reasons but mostly because we don’t have enough workers.” Ricchiuti noted the stock market “has always been a strong economic indicator,” and that means further good news. “You can see better times for these industries as the stock prices for industrial and economically sensitive companies are generally heading up.” MORE EDUCATIONAL GOLD Paul Reilly’s “Reinforcement for Profitable Sales” education session hit on the subject of differentiation in the marketplace. “Seventy percent of sales and marketing executives say the biggest threat to growth is the inability to differentiate,” he said. “Buyers are 57% through the buying process before they ever reach your company. Coach your salespeople to get there earlier in the sales process.” Reilly said sales executives need to move past the price products are being sold for. “Change the conversation from price to cost,” he said. “If you talk cost you can sell value. If you talk price, all you can do is lower it. Build value and build expectations. When is the last time you put on the headphones of your customer? When you view the world through their eyes, you will get a much clearer picture. If you can define value for your customers, they are going to pay for it.” Reilly cited statistics from a study that shows 57% of respondents bought from a company because of the product; 18% did so because of the company; and 25% did so because of the salesperson. “The salesperson brings more value than the company they work for,” he said. “Be a person of value. Inspire and go out and create more value for your customers. When you create more value, price becomes less of an issue.” In another study, Reilly noted 90% of salespeople queried were willing to give a discount on a product unprompted. “When we make a difference for our customers and create more value, we will create more sales,” he said. “Would you rather find a way to lower the price or find a way to increase value? When you provide better service and better quality and can reduce total cost of ownership for the customer, that’s when you don’t have to discount. Exceeding customer expectations is the most powerful differentiator. Ask one simple question. What else can I do for the customer?” During the InSinkErator ASA annual meeting and member luncheon, speaker Jon Acuff had plenty of sound business advice packed into his “Do Over: Investing in the 4 Things Every Great Business Needs to Navigate Change” presentation. When talking about effective leadership, Acuff said to lead with empathy. “Understand what someone needs and act on it,” he said. “Care about what the people you care about care about.” Acuff told attendees to never be afraid to dig deeper on subjects. “Read less minds and ask more questions,” he said. And he added the human interaction with customers still is a staple of doing business. “People don’t like to do business with businesses,” Acuff said. “They like to do business with humans. Your customers want to know they are seen.” Ken Gronbach kicked off the conference’s general session talking about the importance of knowing your customer demographics. “People have value because people are real and need your products,” he said. “If you don’t understand the size of your market, how can you do business?” Gronbach cited how McDonald’s coming up with the idea for its Egg McMuffin breakfast sandwich helped move that company forward in a big way. “Is there an Egg McMuffin in your industry?” he asked. “If you say there isn’t, you are crazy.” Former NFL quarterback Joe Theismann was the keynote speaker during the Industrial Piping Division breakfast presented by Anderson Metals. Theismann, a businessman himself in the restaurant industry, told attendees to be aware of another type of customer. “Customers don’t just buy products,” he said. “Customers work in your office. How hard would it be to buy a birthday cake for an employee and celebrate?” Theismann closed up with these two impactful anecdotes worth remembering: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” “It’s nice to be important, but it’s a lot more important to be nice.” ASA NOW AND IN THE FUTURE During the ASA Board of Directors meeting, it was revealed the association is devoting a budgeted $141,000 to new initiatives in 2018, including a substantial expansion of its business intelligence platform that includes the hiring of a full-time staff person for that important pillar. “ASA is reinvesting money back into our industry,” current ASA President Scott Robertson, of Alliance, Ohio-based Robertson Heating Supply said. In terms of the financial health of the organization, ASA budgeted $120,000 of net income for 2017 and projections have the number finishing in the $200,000 neighborhood. “ASA is awesome and definitely is on a momentum rise,” Robertson said. “I’m very proud to say ASA is in great shape right now.” ASA has experienced net membership growth for a sixth year in a row and supplier-partnership revenue has exceeded expectations in 2017. The ASA Education Foundation’s current initiative to raise additional funds for the Karl E. Neupert Endowment continues to gain momentum. It was announced during NETWORK that more than $600,000 already had been raised through late September. The goal is to infuse $3 million of new money into the endowment to further bolster ASA-EF’s already robust products and services. It also was announced during the board meeting that the longstanding Pacific Southwest Distributors Association (PSDA) will become a direct region of ASA going forward. Longtime PSDA Director Bob Bluth is retiring. NETWORK2018 takes place Oct. 31-Nov. 2 at the Fairmont Scottsdale (Ariz.) Princess. ASA celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2019 with NETWORK taking place in Washington, D.C.
Published by SupplyHouseTimes. View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://digital.bnpmedia.com/article/NETWORK2017+Recap/2937482/453896/article.html.