PHOENIX — HVAC contractors, plumbers, and electricians representing the Service Nation Alliance and Service Roundtable discovered how true winners measure their worth at the annual International Roundtable event, April 14-16 at the Palomar Hotel in Phoenix.

The gathering, which welcomed 100 Alliance and 200 Roundtable members from the U.S., Canada, and Australia, featured nationally acclaimed speakers, industry experts, and highly successful contractors.

Numerous Networking Events

Alliance members arrived early for an Alliance-only meeting featuring a keynote address from former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Danny White and renowned author and speaker, Tony Jeary. Additionally, Vicki LaPlant of VLE Enterprises and Bob Viering of Service Nation spoke to the audience. Alliance members spent Monday night enjoying a western cookout in the Tonto National Forest.

Service Roundtable members joined up with the Alliance group for an evening reception at the hotel’s rooftop garden and pool, which overlooked the Phoenix valley and nearby Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and U.S. Airways Center, home of the Phoenix Suns, on Tuesday. The next day, all members listened attentively to Doug Hanson, a former Tony Robbins associate and former college football player at Sam Houston State. Hanson mixed good humor, life lessons, and business applications to impress upon the audience the importance of creative problem solving and branding strategies.

Several attendees opted to stay a few extra days to participate in an optional tour of Goettl Good Guys Air Conditioning Repairmen’s facilities in nearby Tempe, Arizona.

Amongst all the activities designed to keep Alliance/Roundtable members occupied in the desert sun, the general meeting flow had two main parts.

The Results Guy

Alliance members heard Tony Jeary, author of 44 business books, share his strategic vision and communication steps designed to help “grow our businesses and grow ourselves.” Jeary’s presentation was more like a workshop — very methodical, easy to understand, and laden with workbook forms that could be easily replicated back at the office. He also provided a large number of free books, online links, and lists to help attendees recall what they learned during their half day in the chairs.

Jeary, known as “The Results Guy,” stressed several times there is a big difference between doers and squatters — those who act upon newfound knowledge and those who simply squat on it until all remembrance fades away. “Results can take time,” said Jeary. “Some of your goals may produce relatively immediate results. But, if one of your personal goals is to help your daughter find the right person to marry, the result may be five, 10, or 20 years away. The doer understands the setting of such an important goal early in a daughter’s life can yield great results — but great results can take time.”

Jeary provided time for group learning using the workbooks that were structured as a practical tool for execution. One discussion centered on the creation of tools, so all of a contractor’s team members could be “presentation-ready all the time.”

A few highlights from Jeary’s presentation list include:

• Performance Standards: Have a list for your employees;

• Competitive Comparison Index: Top people and companies know their competition;

• Meeting Protocol: Don’t conduct boring meetings;

• High-leverage Activities: Be clear on what you should be spending most of your time doing;

• Scan the World for Great Ideas: You should be constantly mining other business segments; and

• Secure Mentors in Your Life: The right mentors help you see life better.

“You want to have a clear plan and a way to communicate it to your employees and your customers,” said Jeary. “And, therefore, you want to be intentional about every action you take, every day.”

Be a Godiva

“A compliment can change your life,” said Doug Hanson, owner, Doug Hanson Performance Group.

Hanson referenced a pair of compliments that changed his life — the first, as an 8-year-old church rabble-rouser, and the second, very similar in nature, 30 years later.

While in church, a preacher pulled a young Hanson aside, which led him to believe he had crossed the line. Though, to his surprise, the preacher said, “You’ve got something special in you.”

Many years later, while stumbling through his first public presentation, those same words came back to him from another mentor, and his career took a permanent turn for the better.

Hanson used this story to illustrate how positive reinforcement and encouragement can influence a contractor’s employees, friends, and family, while capturing the audience’s imagination.

On the subject of problem solving, Hanson said: “Think about changing how you solve problems. The traditional method is to approach issues by thinking, ‘How can I solve the problem,’ which usually renders one or two solutions. Instead, ask yourself, ‘How can I make it easier?’ or ‘How can I solve it and have fun?’ The results are amazing; you will usually find multiple options by simply changing your approach.”

Hanson used chocolate props — Hershey’s Kisses and a box of elegantly wrapped Godiva chocolates — to illustrate a point about branding. “It’s Valentine’s Day. Are you going to hand your spouse or significant other a big bag of $5 chocolates or are you going to present a box of Godiva chocolates? You might eat the bag of Hershey’s in the car, but you give away the $50 box of Godiva’s on Valentine’s Day. Why? Because of the packaging, the presentation — it says something more than a bag of Kisses. Don’t get me wrong, they taste good, but it’s not the top of the line, is it?

“In your personal life and in your business, you want your brand to be positioned as the top of the line. Your packaging and presentation say a lot about who you are, doesn’t it? Your people say a lot about your company every day,” added Hanson.

When considering branding, every visual encounter, phone call, and footstep inside a home says something about that respective brand. Hanson had the crowd spend a few minutes discussing how each was becoming a Godiva in their respective markets.

Hanson used a fast-food analogy while teaching the concepts of brand awareness, preference, and loyalty. “If I am driving down the highway and the kids are hungry for burgers, I might stop at the first place I notice a familiar sign that is close to a gas station. I am aware of the burger brand options, but none is particularly important to me. That being said, I happen to be a Burger King fan. It matters to me what kind of hamburger I eat, so I look for a Burger King sign. I have a brand preference. But, if there is no Burger King in sight, and the kids are impatient, we will stop somewhere else.

“If I am such a fan that I would drive away from one burger option in search of a Burger King restaurant, then I am representing what is called brand loyalty. Those are the customers you want to develop for your own businesses,” Hanson said.

Simple Secrets to Sales

Joe Cunningham, founder, SuccessTrack Network, stressed the importance of cashing in on every call. He shared numerous methods that could easily be replicated by the attendees once they returned home — if they wrote everything down. His discussion ranged from performance-based pay systems to thermal imaging instruments to radius marketing techniques. Nearly all the items on Cunningham’s list were simple, repeatable, and results-oriented.

Perhaps his best advice to attendees revolved around how to effectively network during a meeting, such as the one they were attending. He said: “Talk to people here to learn how they knock it out of the park. Don’t talk to the people you came with, or the same people you always talk with. You already know what they know. Find out what everybody else knows.”

Throughout the meeting, members did network with each other. One session was set aside for advisory board (AB) group meetings. An AB is comprised of a diverse mixture of contractors from any one of the three market segments served by the Service Nation Alliance. During the normal course of business, each AB is facilitated by a coach on a weekly conference call, and many of those groups huddled in Phoenix to embrace the face-to-face opportunity.

David Heimer, COO of Service Nation talked with The NEWS about the success of the Service Roundtable and the Service Nation Alliance. “I remember when we first started working on these concepts. Matt [Michel] and I might start working at nine o’clock at night and stay up until two o’clock in the morning. After a few years of hard work, the company started growing. There is a glaring need in the construction trade markets for information like this. It’s nice to see what the Roundtable and the Alliance have become for contractors, and we still have a lot to do.”

For more information on Service Roundtable or Service Nation Alliance, visit

Publication date: 6/1/2015

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