Raise the sales…
‘You have to be a marketing organisation that happens to do restoration.’ Tim Miller
While it acknowledges that the Australian restoration industry is maturing, Network Restorers believes it presents great expansionary business opportunities for its members. Hence, the group’s 11th annual conference was themed ‘raise the sales’ and its information laden content focused on how to build a sales program.
Network Restorers held its 2014 conference at the Sofitel, Gold Coast (Qld) on 12 to 14 June. The fast-paced event was MC’d by Network director Duncan Bennett and hosted by CEO Ashley Easterby.
The highly educational program was led by keynote speaker Tim Miller, CEO of Chicago-based Business Development Associates (BDA). He was complemented by a number of other guest speakers including Australasian Institute of Chartered Loss Adjusters’ Keith Patterson, Suncorp’s David Hearn, Worksafe Training Centre’s Bill Lloyd, IICRC’s Megan Ogier and Richard Jay’s Brian Clark.
A number of the Network team also delivered presentations that covered internal group initiatives and updates of day-to-day procedures and protocols.
“This conference is about your business, and helping it to grow,” stated Bennett as he set the conference’s tenor when he welcoming members and guests.
He then explained that the 2014 conference was the second in a ‘trilogy’ – 2013’s theme being ‘Evolution’ and responding to change; 2014 was about coping with and operating in a more competitive environment (through marketing); and 2015 will cover how, having built the firm, to exit a business successfully and profitably.
CEO Easterby then took to the podium and reviewed 2013 and crystal-balled 2014 and 2015.
“We have enjoyed our biggest year ever,” he said, noting that, “we have dealt with some 14,000 claims. Network has renewed its contract with Suncorp; taken full ownership of Network Glaziers; and added to its staff.”
He introduced recently appointed Brisbane-based project manager Rocky Larsen and Sydney-based NSW business development manager Nick Bredhauer.
Easterby then outlined the group’s focus for 2014/2015, which in essence is better scoping and estimating. They are vital ingredients in Network’s project management initiative that was later covered by Aaron Nicol.
Miller’s logical approach to implementing marketing and sales program
Keynote speaker Tim Miller did four presentations being ‘Raise the sales, Why?’, ‘Understanding differentiation’, ‘Building your sales program’ and ‘How to get everything you want’.
Miller, a marketing consultant to the US restoration industry, took his audience through a logical process of analysing the US and Australian restoration industries; observing the need to drive business growth (and from sources other than ‘traditional’ carpet and restoration services); how to prepare for threats; implementing business differentiation; and then putting in place a sales program, with all that it entails.
As with previous Network conferences, this year’s offered an excellent mix of topics and speakers – often complementary.
Easterby and Bennett carried on with the sales theme – tapping new revenue sources – by talking about a couple of ‘advanced education options’ being Winners Circle Training and Water Loss Specialist Program. These US ‘schools’ are very hands-on and can help technicians move to higher levels of expertise.
Of course needing to know what the clients are thinking and acting is always of great interest to service providers. Senior loss adjuster executive Keith Patterson told delegates of the imperative to communicate in the ‘Insurance response triangle’ (insurer, contractor and loss adjuster). Suncorp’s David Hearn updated his audience on the insurer’s internal structure and its performance managed process.
Perhaps Network’s most significant ‘internal’ move is the creation of a project management unit that will handle larger and more complex jobs to the advantage of both Network and its service provider members. Aaron Nicol explained that “a project manager would be inserted into jobs as we deem it is required. Project managers will set scopes and draw up project plans.”
Nicol will be supported by Rocky Larsen and Nick Bredhauer in this project management unit.
‘Event response’ was another presentation conducted by Nicol. He discussed ‘claim surges’, selecting an appropriate plan to fit the event, and challenges faced – supporting technicians, remote locations, stretched resources and logistics.
Bredhauer, in his NSW business development role, will assist members to secure jobs that have, to-date, been perceived as being too hard to tackle. Or, as Bredhauer said, “we need to avoid leaving $20,000 on the table.”
With valuable experience of having worked in the Canadian restoration industry, Larsen covered a couple of topics including ‘Smoother sailing with better reporting’. He said it was important to put in place a report (and supporting communications) “that answers customers’ questions before they have a chance to ask them.”
On the risk front, Fae Daunt’s ‘Risky business upon the seven seas’ reminded delegates of the critical need to back-up data (properly); and further protect their businesses against hackers and outages.
To keep Network’s admin wheels turning smoothly, Natalie Young took her members through the day-to-day processes required to maintain efficient and rewarding business relationships.
WHS is good for your business
An important topic, workplace health and safety, was given plenty of exposure with Bill Lloyd covering ‘Mandated workplace requirements’, ‘Workplace health & safety – Documented Procedures’, and ‘Risk assessment and control’.
Regarding applying risk management principles, Lloyd stressed that, “you do it because it’s good for your business”, not just to protect yourself.
Returning to a theme of opportunities, Richard Jay’s Brian Clark delivered ‘Dirty laundry – cleaning profits’. He covered the critical aspects of selecting the right commercial washers and dryers; the latest laundry technology; and finishing equipment such as mattress drying machines and dust mite tents.
IICRC Asia Pacific’s Megan Ogier was on hand during the conference for delegates to register their attendance. Just as importantly, she outlined recent developments in the organisation including Oceania’s office now being responsible for Asia Pacific.
Ogier detailed the latest information on standards in revision or about to be released new standards; the body’s latest literature (including The Journal), and digital initiatives.
From the ‘coal face’, the always well received presentations from Network member delegates were delivered by Kevin Harty (‘Stuff that old guys know’) and Gary Jackson (What works for me’).
Interestingly both Harty and Jackson emphasised that the secret to their businesses’ success was their employees. Both spoke with passion about their people, their commitment and the need to retain them.
“This conference was a great success, not only due to the quality of its content but also to the involvement of our members. And having a keynote speaker of Tim Miller’s quality and credentials was a real bonus,” concluded Easterby.
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