SMACNA contractors packed the Market Sector Forums and learned bright new marketing tips, what general contractors need, what drives virtual design, and about profitable industrial markets at the Maui convention.
Residential Forum: Getting into people's heads, hearts, homes
"What's the first thing your technicians should do when they come to your house?" asked Dr. Kerry Webb, whose crowded session, "Profit Strategies for a Successful Future," brimmed with smart marketing ideas. "Smile!
"Second thing, look them in the eye and say, 'Thank you for calling our company today.' Because they could have called someone else."
"Media marketing must be super sticky and highly targeted. It has to make it to the customer's kitchen drawer. Media marketing gets you in people's heads. It keeps you in people's hearts. It puts you in people's homes."
HVAC Forum: “Accountability, trust, collaboration”
“Clients are demanding high-quality, schedule certainty, commitment to labor, and sophisticated technology,” explained Richard Henry, McCarthy Building Cos., during the HVAC Contractors Forum, “GCs to HVAC Mechanicals: In the Building Process Together.”
“High technology has taken us by storm and those who are not involved in technology are going to left by the roadside,” added Mr. Henry. “Engineers and architects are being squeezed and forcing us as partners to step up and take a little more responsibility. It’s about accountability, trust, and collaboration.
“We want to have strong relationships. If you don’t have strong relationships to get you out of trouble, you’ll be in the penalty box forever.
“Things will go wrong and people have a choice what they’re going to do with that,” agreed David Pometta, Peterson Mechanical Inc. “Are they going to work together to fix it? The key is working together, even on very difficult problems.”
Architectural Forum: Visualization, integration, automation
“Cloud computing is using remote networks and remote computers,” said Tom Zahner, A. Zahner Co. Inc., during the Architectural Contractors Forum, “Getting Out in Front of Virtual Design.” “Everyone is going to connect to it. Cloud computing is the next shock wave in construction.
“Three key drivers of virtual design are visualization, integration, and automation. Visualization results in better communication, more effective meetings, and stakeholder involvement. Integration ensures prompt decision-making. Automation means quicker to manufacturing.”
Industrial Forum: Market is attractive, profitable, robust
The Industrial Contractors Forum panel, featuring Jim Page and Mike Harris of the International Training Institute, shared how to make the most of new profitable industrial market opportunities.
They also discussed the attractive prospects in the rebounding automotive industry along with nuclear facility retrofits and rebuilds for energy efficiency during the session “Industrial Mix: Training Technical Resources and More.” SMACNA's Technical Resources Department provided an update on new SMACNA industrial manuals and standards and a lively question and answer session followed.