The AHR Expo wrapped up last week, but for the HVAC industry, the conference season continues. Multiple shows will be going on in the next few months, including the ACCA conference in St. Louis that will take place March 16-18.
There is a significant cost to attend these events. Of course, the cost of registration and travel expenses are easily identified. However, there is also the cost of missed productivity at the office. With that in mind, it is important for contractors to make sure they are getting a return on their travel investment. Here are five tips to make sure you do.
- Research and pick your event. There are a ton of events on the industry calendar — some local and others national. Certainly, you do not have the money or time to attend them all. Pick the ones that speak to you and your business.
- Stay on task. This can sometimes be a tough one, because these events tend to be located in a tourist trap. I speak from personal experience. Escaping the Michigan winter for a few days at a conference in Las Vegas or Arizona is certainly appealing. Sometimes the pool is much more enticing than a session. Resist that urge! You never know when you are going to hear that nugget that can change your business.
- Don’t overdo the ideas. This might seem a little odd based on the last bullet point. But you can’t go back to your business and implement 46 things you learned at the ACCA show. It is not feasible, and it will drive your employees absolutely nuts.
By all means, listen to all the ideas that are being raised. Write them down and decide if they apply to your business and if you would be able to implement them. Then, on the plane ride home, go over all those ideas and boil it down to a precious few that make the most sense for you. No need to completely dismiss the ideas you did not choose, but they are for a different day.
- Stay social. The training and education does not need to be relegated to the keynote speakers and breakout sessions. Go to the meals and cocktail hours to connect with other contractors that likely face the same challenges you do. You will be amazed how many good ideas you will pick up in these settings. It’s probably one of the rare times you will hear a good idea from somebody who is drinking.
- Hit up that trade show. Most conferences have a trade show, where the manufacturers are showing their products and technologies so contractors can look at the new items being introduced. This is helpful in two ways. First, it is a great way to stay on top of the new technologies entering the market that you can introduce to your customers. Secondly, for most shows, those exhibitors are helping pay the bills for all the education and training you are receiving during the conference. It does not hurt to make sure they get a ROI.
The time has come in this column for the shameless plug. The ACHR NEWS will be hosting a CEO-Contractor Forum once again from the Main Stage at the ACCA 2020 Conference & Expo (March 16-18). This will be a great opportunity for contractors to ask questions of the executives of the major manufacturers. Scheduled to be on the panel are Quan Nguyen of Lennox, Steve O’Brien of Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US, Brandy Powell of Emerson, Randy Roberts of Rheem Manufacturing Co., Nathan Walker of Goodman Manufacturing, and Philip Windham of Nortek Global HVAC.
As the moderator, I will also be able to ask this esteemed panel questions that are affecting the HVAC industry. If you have any question suggestions, please email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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