One Record of Success: Marketing & Sales Optimization Conference

In an association magazine, you would expect it to say nice things about a recently held conference. But what do you say when you realize after the event that it blew the roof off when it came to attendees’ expectations and feedback?

That’s precisely what happened at the recent Marketing & Sales Optimization Conference. Let’s push aside any hyperbole and get to the facts:

The conference held, June 22 to 24, at the Lake Lawn Resort, Delavan, Wis., broke the association’s record for the number of attendees and distributor companies in attendance. Most important, both attendees and HARDI staff could say: “Mission accomplished.”

“We successfully accomplished the mission of the event, bringing relevant sales and marketing information directly to the sales and marketing leaders within our member organization,” says Emily Saving, HARDI’s director of education & research foundation.

There was a solid mix of C-level attendees and functional leader who expressed their “high satisfaction” on written surveys completed at the end of the conference, Saving explained.

And what is business if you can’t have a little fun? Opening speaker Sam Richter, author of Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling, dazzled the audience by announcing little known facts of various board members to demonstrate how much information is available publicly if you know where and how to search on the Internet. Richter’s presentation focused on using search techniques to build relationships and increase sales.

The event closed with the light bulb burning bright with ideas as Norm Clark, Texas A&M University, demonstrated a valuable lesson in the real world of distribution: how both the sales and marketing group are separated but can work together to increase effectiveness.

In the end, it is through the eyes, ears and sense of satisfaction on the part of the attendees that matter most.  One first-time attendee was particularly impressed:

“This was my first HARDI event, and I loved it,” says Tracy N. Martin, director of marketing, 2J Supply Co.  “The speakers were exciting and engaging and they really got my wheels turning. It was great to come together with peers in the HVAC industry and hear similar stories, share ideas and build friendships. So many times, we attend conferences, and they become a distant memory once we return to our office and the daily grind. But not this time. I was able to apply techniques and ideas I learned at the HARDI MArketing & Sales Optimization Conference immediately, and I have made reference to this conference numerous times since my return. I can’t wait for next year. Great job, everyone!”

The setting might be idyllic with Newport, Rhode Island’s mansions and reputation as the summer residence of presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, but from Sept. 14-16, the slumber of summer turns into serious business for HARDI members.

This seaside town, which boasts the most colonial homes in America, is the site of the Purchasing Optimization Conference, designed to raise the level of anyone involved in the purchasing or selling of HVACR products.

A highly respected group of four speakers will cover the gamut of purchasing related topics. They include:

Procurement Performance Metrics

Sohella Lunney, Ph.D.

President, Lunney Advisory Group

It’s a cliché, yet we also know it’s a truism. How can you improve unless you measure where you are and where you want to be? Leading procurement companies are very successful at the application of performance measurement tools. If you’re successful at procurement and measuring yourself, you’ll be even better when you leave because you’ll better understand how to manage your department, improve supplier performance and have a positive effect on profitability.

Inspire Your Suppliers: Developing Supplier Scorecards that Bring Out the Best

Karl Manrodt, Ph.D., professor

Dept. of Marketing and Logistics, Georgia Southern University

There’s no better way to align your supplier with your goals (and how you might fit into theirs) than with a supplier scorecard. This practical session will show which types of scorecards work well and what to avoid when customizing your own scorecard. Best of all, you’ll leave with a benchmark to measure where you wish to be.

Find the Balance: Inventory Turns and Customer Service

Jason Bader, Managing Partner

The Distribution Team

On the surface, the math is simple. If you want to improve cash flow, decrease inventory. Then comes the big, “what about?” That “what about” is customer service. It’s a subtle yet complex problem fraught with risk. Jason Bader shows that there is a reliable approach to achieving both goals.  Bader offers a way to provide top-notch service and conduct prudent inventory management decisions.

Real World Negotiating™

Joe Rice, Trainer

Benedict Negotiation Seminars

While negotiation classes or seminars are common, they usually offer techniques linked to general tactics that simply don’t apply to your business. Not Joe Rices seminar. It focuses on individuals in the procurement, purchasing and supply fields. When asked to offer specific details about his class, Rice told Distribution Center, “Most people don’t know how to prepare.  As children, we are taught to prepare for tests and quizzes, athletic tryouts and contests. As adults, we learn the value of preparation in everything we do, whether it’s our churches, our civic organizations or our community.  However, no one teaches us how to prepare for a negotiation.  This affects our confidence and makes us less effective as negotiators.  But there is a remedy.

 “We will cover how to begin a negotiation, putting you, the buyer, in control of the agenda, and “who controls the agenda controls the negotiation,” says Rice. “By having a process, it also allows salespeople to understand that you know what you are doing, and they then know how they need to proceed to respond to an opening.  This sets up the optimal “win-win” scenario.

“Our coverage of negotiations will also give the participants the “10 Laws of Negotiating.”  By following the “Laws,” the buyers prevent the other side from distracting them or manipulating them away from the agenda and givehelp in controlling and focusing the other side on the buyer’s position.

“The last item we will cover in the session is what we call the “Tools Of The Trade.”  Here we will focus on the tools that buyers can use and more importantly stop the other side from using.  They include:


• How to deal with a negotiator who uses the old “good cop-bad cop” routine.

• How to deal with the other side when they suddenly go silent. 

• How to keep our options from falling into “deadlock.” 

• How to respond when they say, “take it or leave it.” 


“It will be a fast-paced three hours that will have everyone leaving with specific tips that will help them to become a “More Effective Negotiator.” And that’s a promise we will deliver.


Why Attend? Ask Charlie.

“I’ve been in the industry for more than 30 years and have watched the industry evolve. I’m attending the Purchasing Optimization Conference because it will highlight the skills needed to perform my job duties when conducting business with vendors, from negotiating preseason orders to balancing our inventory levels, and having the right inventory at our locations. I wanted to strengthen our company’s relationships with suppliers by achieving these goals.”

Charlie Ferrera,  API of NH/Delta T,  Manchester, New Hampshire

What: The Purchasing Optimization Conference

When: Sept. 14-16, 2014

Hotel Cut-off: Aug. 13

Where: The Newport Harbor Hotel and Marina, Newport, Rhode Island

For more information, including registration, visit: