ST. LOUIS - I just returned from the first-ever National HVACR Residential Sales Managers Forum. Prior to attending seminars and conferences, I always think to myself, “If I can walk away from this event with one good idea, it’s worth the trip.”

Little did I know that I would be traveling home from the forum with 10, 11, or 12 great ideas - and still counting. I know the dozens of new industry friends I made felt the same after leaving the forum.


Jim Ackerman kicked things off with a lesson on some crucial marketing ideas.

“How many times are we in touch with our customers during the year?” he asked.

If it’s not at least six to 12 times per year, we’d better be prepared to lose that customer to the competition. Someone has to be acting as chief spiritual officer and handle the company culture. I realized quickly from many of the speakers how crucial and common a great marketing plan was to the success of an organization.

Dewey Jenkins of Morris Jenkins spoke about the importance of supporting your sales team with a great marketing plan. Tim Welch, of Peaden Air-Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing, also referenced the importance of their marketing strategy. Welch reminded us all about how you represent your company even when you’re not on the job.

He shared a story about how he helped a senior citizen load some groceries into her car one afternoon. He was done working for the day but had still been wearing his Peaden uniform. Some time later, the woman’s daughter called to schedule some work because of the goodwill exhibited by Welch.


As the forum progressed, I heard many new ideas and was reminded of some old ones. Drew Cameron of HVAC Sellutions and Larry Taylor of AirRite Air Conditioning gave great insight to our ever-changing marketplace. “When you try to be all things to all people, be very careful as you may become nothing to no one,” Cameron said. We heard valuable lessons on the importance of differentiating ourselves.

The Sales Managers Forum ended for me with some terrific information from Sharon Roberts, of Roberts & Roberts Associates, on selling to women, and from Larry Johnson on how to win the word-of-mouth game.

“Love equals loyalty,” Larry said. What are you doing to make sure that your customers love doing business with you?

This forum couldn’t have come at a better time for everyone. I think the Sales Managers Forum was just the wake-up call we all needed in this economy.

Publication Date:05/11/2009