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How many people are going to the 13th annual symposium?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Mick76, Mar 9, 2010.

  1. Mick76

    Mick76 2000 Club Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,157

    Thought I would post this here since there tends to be more traffic..... Just curious as to how many people are going? As for myself, being from Maine, I'm finding it pretty hard to dish out the $300 for the symposium, plus extra $ if I'd attend any "special" events, PLUS the $150 per night for the hotel...... being from Maine, I don't know if I can justify the costs associated with this... am I wrong? Would the networking be really beneficial as to I live in Maine? I really WANT to go but don't know if it will have a good ROI for my company ..... Any thoughts?
     
  2. MIDTOWNPC

    MIDTOWNPC PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,452

    what is this that you are talking about?

    I looked up symposium online
    Symposium originally referred to a drinking party (the Greek verb sympotein means "to drink together")

    Drinking party?


    Fill us all in with some more details what is this all about?
     
  3. dieseld

    dieseld Senior Member
    from 90210
    Messages: 628

    I went last year, spent the money for the drive, food, lodging, etc. hoping to reap tons of info, and my friend and I left very disappointed in all the classroom lectures. I know, you get out what you put in, but I tried to put in but just felt like it was a good guys club for the SIMA top 50.
     
  4. Knockah22

    Knockah22 Senior Member
    Messages: 240

    I will be attending this year. I went to last years event and loved it. I didnt learn as much from the classroom lectures as I did from the Snack and chats. Although I personally dont have to pay as i work for a company who covers the cost. People at the event are great, and networking with everyone makes it all worth while. If you dont learn alot, your not asking enough questions.

    For those who dont know what the symposium is. http://www.sima.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=7
     
  5. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    And if you haven't join SIMA you can use me as a referral to get 50 bucks off your membership.

    www.sima.org
     
  6. albhb3

    albhb3 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,510

    Already have thanks to plowsite pics!:drinkup:
     
  7. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,045

    I agree. This will be the third show I will attend. It's not just about the snow, it's nice to get away and have a good time. I don't think we got home much before 4 am for the 3 nights we were there. Good times.
     
  8. Peterbilt

    Peterbilt Senior Member
    from IA.
    Messages: 745

    Yeah, I think I am going to go. It was a good time last year, but the class room stuff was kinda boring. The whole show should just be snack and chats and a trip to help some fine young ladies pay for college.

    Plus meeting Norm and the boys from Mariani was worth the trip to Louisville!!!!!!

    J.
     
  9. snobgone

    snobgone Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 122

    You can learn a lot and meet some great new ppl. A lot of good ideas come out of those symposiums and the snack and chats. Good time to sit for the CSP too.

    We also contribute to the college girl fund. I feel obligated.
     
  10. Chrisxl64

    Chrisxl64 Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 574

    I attended a SIMA build a bid and I'll agree the classroom stuff is pretty damn lame,,,,,but weekend retreats are the ultimate in ROI,,,stress blows.
     
  11. Neige

    Neige Sponsor
    Messages: 2,197

    I will be going again, my third also. The snack and chats are great, and I found the classes on using liquids very informative. Usually we have a plowsite meet and greet, while we are there. Unlike JD, midnight is as far as I can make it, but my brother continues on for me :laughing:. Have met lots of guys fom here,and I nave no idea who the top 50 big boys are from SIMA. Unless you are refering to me,JD, Peterbuilt, Camden, Grandview, Bike, those are just a few that pop into mind right now, sorry if I missed some of you.:drinkup:
    Just a hint if you want to save some money, if you prepay, you can stay at the hilton for $111.00 a night.
     
  12. Mick76

    Mick76 2000 Club Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,157

    Thanks for the comments guys.... You've all be very helpful with your insite.... I was really hoping this would be beneficial but it seems as though is more of a vacation then a learning weekend. Networking might be worth it but I'm from Maine. If your able to weed out all the BS on this site, You can probably gain just as much in site as going to the SIMA show and "blowing" hard earned $. I think my $ will be better suited in my kids 529 funds.

    Thanks for the comments guys, I do appreciate it!
     
  13. ColumbiaLand

    ColumbiaLand Senior Member
    Messages: 790

    Mick, It is worth it to go. You can learn a ton if you are there and hook up with someone on here and split a hotel. Thats the way to do it. You at least have to try it once and you can also have a good time with friends. Its not all partying:). The trade show is always the best though other than the new liquids class.
     
  14. MSS Mow

    MSS Mow Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 983

    I would love to go, but it is always scheduled at the worse possible time for my mowing business...the week before the 4th of July is my busiest/most important week of the year. 90% of my mowing customers must have their lawn cut fresh just before the 4th. The 4th is a big holiday here, and is celebrated with many festivities and even more visitors from out of town. Therefore, everyone of course wants their lawn looking it's best. I just can't justify taking several days off at this time. Perhaps some day, I'll have enough employees that I'll be able to sneak off.
     
  15. CSP#1

    CSP#1 Member
    Messages: 59

    I am not sure what being from Maine has to do with becoming more or less educated.

    However, for anyone out there - I might ask what you were hoping to learn at the Symposium that you did not learn. What types of educational sessions would be more suited to your sized company? What specific components or aspects of the Symposium seemed to be for the "good guys club for the Top 50"?
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2010
  16. Mick76

    Mick76 2000 Club Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,157

    I was refering to the networking possibilities..... We have a few Mainers on here but it seems like the majority of sima members are from MI....
     
  17. Neige

    Neige Sponsor
    Messages: 2,197

    Here is what is going on.



    SIMA concurrent sessions are 1 1/2 hour educational sessions held at the Symposium and designed to help you learn more about snow & ice management in the following tracks:

    **SPECIAL 2010 TRACK: Risk Management
    Operations & Techniques
    Sales & Marketing
    Management & Leadership
    Administration

    Consider attending sessions under each of the tracks, or split up your group and have everyone attend a full set of sessions under one track. The choice is yours!

    New in 2010! Risk Management Track: In the next decade, snow and ice professionals will see increased pressure to offer comprehensive risk management services for their clients. In order to successfully operate in this environment, snow professionals need to understand fundamentally how to protect their own companies, and how to help protect their clients. The days of simply plowing and salting are over; especially in the corporate and commercial sector, risk management as a service in snow is going to separate the highly innovative and successful companies from the average. This track includes three sessions tackling Insurance, Contracts & Legal, and Data Collection with a focus incorporating a comprehensive risk management strategy. Each session which can be attended stand-alone, or attend all three for a comprehensive approach to risk for your company. All risk management sessions are indicated with this icon:


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Concurrent Sessions by Day

    Thursday, June 24, 2010 - 9:45am-11:15am
    Friday, June 25, 2010 - 1:30pm-3:00pm
    Friday, June 25, 2010 - 3:30pm-5:00pm
    Saturday, June 26, 2010 - 8:30am-10:00am
    Saturday, June 26, 2010 - 10:30am-Noon

    Thursday, June 24, 2010 - 9:45am-11:15am

    Leading Effective Meetings (Management & Leadership Track)
    Bob Coulter, JP Horizons
    >>Sponsored by Pro-Motion Consulting

    It is the job of the leader of any meeting to provide an atmosphere where everyone leaves energized and focused, regardless of the topics discussed. When a meeting is properly prepared and facilitated, even the most serious discussions can be appreciated and built upon, sending participants away feeling like they were part of a positive gathering. In this session Bob Coulter will explore the three reasons to hold a meeting: Share Information, Build Morale and Change Behavior or Problem Solve. You will leave prepared and energized to make every meeting you hold significant and productive through great communication practices.

    Demystifying Deicers: Ice-melt Products, Characteristics and Application Techniques (Operations Track)
    Bill Oestmann & Mose Sacarry, Dept of Public Works, Highway Division, Town of New Canaan, CT & Robert George, International Salt Co.

    This session will provide attendees with the opportunity to learn about the various traditional and special-blend ice-melt products available in both the commercial and municipal marketplace, including sodium chloride, calcium chloride, potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, and special-blend ice-melt products. The session will include an overview of each product’s characteristics, melting capabilities, effectiveness in various winter weather events, and appropriate application techniques. Various winter weather maintenance techniques utilized by the Town of New Canaan, Connecticut will be presented, as well as information on how the processes and products utilized by New Canaan can be applicable in the commercial winter-maintenance provider market.

    How to Get Insurance Companies to Fight Over You (Risk Management Track)
    John Hodapp, Hortica Insurance & Employee Benefits


    The reality of today’s strained financial markets has insurance companies scrutinizing existing and prospective customers as much as ever, and writing competitively-priced policies only for businesses that exhibit themselves as prudent and risk worthy. Those companies have the potential to have more insurance companies competing for their business, at lower rates, particularly during “hard” insurance markets. The objective of this program, presented by a seasoned commercial insurance expert, is to provide attendees involved in their companies’ risk management decisions, with valuable insights and useful, takeaway ideas designed to help them better understand and manage their relationships with insurance providers.

    The Referral Advantage (Sales & Marketing Track)
    Jeffrey Scott, Jeffrey Scott!

    Grow your business on relationships and referrals. Learn how to get your entire company to ask for, earn, inspire, network and market for more referrals than you have ever before received. You will come away with specific tools, a process, and a systematic approach for building your referral base with community influencers, VIP’s, professionals, the trade and your customers. Learn how to exercise and strengthen your “relationship-building muscles,” in order to drive the growth of your business for years to come. This session is based on the Jeffrey Scott’s successful book, “The Referral Advantage.”


    Friday, June 25, 2010 - 1:30pm-3:00pm

    Inside the Head of the Property Manager (Administration Track)
    Moderator: Richard Churchill, The Grounds Keeper Inc.
    Property Manager Panelists: To be Determined

    A solid relationship with your customers takes more than a written agreement; it takes relationship-building through honest dialogue and open communication. Attend this session in order to gain a solid understanding of snow & ice services from the property manager’s point of view. Panelists include property managers from several different types of properties. Learn more about some of the decision processes that they go through in choosing snow contractors; how snow plays into the overall realm of services that they provide for their properties; and how this information can create some challenges and opportunities for snow contractors.

    Managing Snow & Ice: A Portfolio Approach (Operations Track)
    David Furbeck, North American Salt Co

    Many snow and ice professionals in the commercial deicing industry use the same solid deicing strategy and product year after year, with only minor changes in rates depending on weather; however, many commercial snow and ice professionals are wondering what new innovations in the municipal area may have value in the commercial side of the industry. With this presentation, we will examine the types, availability and use of liquid products to enhance ice management professional’s bulk deicing portfolio and systems. Topics covered will include pros and cons of various types of salt, treated salt and liquid products.

    Lessons in Contract Language & Liability (Risk Management Track)
    Deb Mattson, CSP, Allied Snow Removal Corporation
    >>Sponsored by Snow Dragon


    As a risk management professional, one of your key roles is to protect your snow company contractually as much as possible. In an increasingly liability-driven society, the wrong contract language can represent a major threat to the health and vitality of your business. Join Deb Mattson, CSP, an experienced snow and risk management professional, as she reviews the major challenges and opportunities associated with contractual and liability issues in snow, including: additional insured clauses, primary non-contributory clauses, and waivers of subrogation; examples of how good contract language can save you, and how it can kill you; signing your customers contracts—do’s and don’ts; specific discussions about target markets, including government and commercial accounts.

    Low-Cost, High-Impact Marketing (Sales & Marketing)
    Jeffrey Scott, Jeffrey Scott!

    Create an easy-to-implement marketing system, based on five low-cost strategies that will drive business to your door. Learn how to systematically: 1) brand yourself as an expert, 2) use public relations to promote your brand, 3) Use relationship marketing to solidify your brand, 4) use direct marketing to stay top of mind, and 5) employ e-marketing to up sell your customers once they have become a client. Learn how to measure your results and ROI every step of the way, so that you are always on track.

    Friday, June 25, 2010 - 3:30pm-5:00pm

    Getting Paid for Your Work: When Bill Collection Turns Complicated (Administration Track)
    Steven Sager, Esq., Sager & Schaffer, LLP

    Bill collection may seem like a simple process: send an invoice and collect on payment. It turns complicated when a customer does not pay, and you must maintain a balance between steady cash flow and a positive working relationship with your customer. Usually, this can be handled in a fairly efficient and effective manner. But attend this session to learn what you can do and what your rights are if a customer refuses to pay; what implications termination of service may have on your contract; and how to write your contract to help you take action if needed. Although they differ among states, some resources on lien laws will also be addressed.

    People First: Optimizing Human Resources in Your Snow & Ice Management Business (Management & Leadership Track)
    Phil Harwood, CSP, Pro-Motion Consulting, LLC

    Every snow business needs three things: customers, equipment, and people to do the work. While much effort is put into sales, marketing, equipment and operations, the “people” side of a business is often neglected. It should be no surprise that managing human resources is often cited as the most challenging and frustrating aspect of running a snow business. This session will help you understand the human resources function and how to optimize your human resource investments—your people—and build a strong foundation for growth and profitability.

    Using Weather Intelligence to Better Manage Your Business (Operations Track)
    Bill Kirk, Weather Trends International

    The focus of this session is to provide snow and ice management companies with a better understanding of how they can use weather intelligence in their strategic planning process. The presentation will include a review of macro level weather patterns (i.e. – El Nino, La Nina) and meteorological terminology (i.e. - relatively humidity) and the potential impact that various trends and conditions can have on businesses. Bill & Richard will share practical examples of strategic, proactive decisions that can be made using various types of weather information provided.

    Grow Your Business Without Shrinking Your Profits (Sales & Marketing Track)
    Kirk Armstrong, Gerry Weinberg & Associates / Sandler Training
    >>Sponsored by Pro-Tech Manufacturing

    Tough economic times require tough sales people that can sell value over price alone. Come to this session to learn how to create a sales culture that will attract more customers and close more deals, without making you act, sound or behave like a “typical” sales person. Walk away with new questions to ask that put you in control of the sale, how to qualify and disqualify potential customers, and how to create a selling process that will win more orders in less time.

    Saturday, June 26, 2010 - 8:30am-10:00am

    Creating an Exit Strategy: How to Prepare for the Inevitable Transition of Your Business (Administration Track)
    Moderator: Phil Harwood, CSP, Pro-Motion Consulting, LLC
    Panelists: Jason Case, CSP, Case Snow Management Inc.; Robert Smart, CSP, Smart Scapes, Inc.; and Alan Steiman, CSP, Alan Steiman’s Landscape

    Every business owner faces the inevitable challenge of exiting their business—either by closing its doors or transferring ownership to others. Unfortunately, most business owners find themselves addressing these tough decisions at a time when it is less than optimal—after a crisis occurs. This session will help you understand the challenges of various exit strategies and how to overcome these challenges. This session will also include real-life examples from business owners who have worked through such difficult transitions.

    Weather Coverage Options: Managing the Risk of Too Little or Too Much Snow (Administration Track)
    Jeff Hodgson, Chicago Weather Brokerage & Robert Holmes, Vortex Insurance Agency

    Unpredictable weather is one of the largest risks facing snow and ice contractors. Heavy snowfall reduces the profitability of fixed-price contracts. Mild winters lower revenue from per push or per event customers. There are several companies in the snow industry who offer tools, from weather insurance to commodity traded contracts, to manage unpredictable weather. This panel presentation will feature two of these companies. Join us for a lively discussion and explanation of these tools available to you.

    Data Collection & Your Snow Risk Management Strategy (Risk Management Track)
    Rich Arlington, CSP, Rich Arlington & Associates
    >>Sponsored by CrewTracker Software


    Having insurance and a decent contract is great, but these are components of a larger risk management strategy. Rich will share his experiences as an expert witness and snow contractor to illustrate some tools and techniques to managing risk for your snow company. He will discuss examples of cases where snow contractors got burned, and when they were appropriately protected; helpful tips on managing data and long-term record retention; discussion of specific cases where risk management was a major factor in winning the bid; and techniques to help snow companies decrease their liability through effective coordination of company policy, partnering with insurance, safety and training programs, contract review processes, and sales and customer support processes.

    Negotiating in a Frozen Economy (Sales & Marketing)
    Kirk Armstrong, Gerry Weinberg & Associates / Sandler Training

    Are you worried when prospects tell you, "Your price is too high" or "You'll have to do better than that?" Or, even, "We're going to have to go with the low bidder." Does what you say next end up costing you dollars? Would you like to plant your feet but don't know how to without offending them or losing the sale? Learn what to ask, how to ask it and the do's and don'ts of simple negotiation. Don't be so eager to give away your hard earned dollars. Learn techniques to spot projects where price is not the only factor. The rules in negotiation have changed. Have you?

    Saturday, June 26, 2010 - 10:30am-Noon

    Overview of the Subcontractor Relationship (Management & Leadership Track)
    Ed Laflamme, Harvest Landscape Consulting

    The subcontractor can be advantageous for both parties, if you take the guesswork out of the relationship and communicate expectations upfront. Join Ed for an in-depth look at subcontractors as a business strategy. He will discuss the pros and cons of hiring subcontractors, how to recruit and retain good-quality subs, how to protect your legal and risk management interests, as well as provide sample subcontractor agreements and worksheets.

    Is Your Plow Truck Safe & Legal? (Operations Track)
    Craig Kemmerling, Meyer Products and John Murphy, Douglas Dynamics

    This panel, composed of representatives from major plow manufacturing companies, will address key issues related to plow and deicing equipment and vehicle modifications. Manufacturers and dealers of snow removal equipment must navigate a stringent set of federal regulations related to vehicle modifications and safety. Many dealers are asked by their customers to modify equipment in ways that are not in line with federal regulations, modifications which potentially could create unsafe conditions.
    The panel will discuss the following, the open the session up to equipment-specific questions: a review of the major regulations applicable; examples of testing procedures for compliance; specific examples of common ways equipment is misused or altered.

    Working with National Service Providers: The Challenges and Opportunities (Administration Track)
    Rich Arlington, CSP, Affiliated Maintenance Group; Jason Case, CSP, Case Snow Management Inc.; Sean Hartnett, USM; Grant Mitchell, Divisions, Inc.

    This session will feature three representatives from companies that help manage national or large regional snow service brokers, along with one panelist representing a large, local snow contractor firm. The goal of the session is to foster strong, productive dialogue regarding both the challenges and opportunities for local snow contractors working in markets that are seeing consolidation through services offered by national or regional service brokers. Items to be addressed will be: contract language, negotiations, and risk; developing processes to meet payment requirements; strategies for taking on national work in ways that make sense for your company; adapting to changing markets and customer needs.

    Selling a Balanced Portfolio of Snow Contracts (Sales & Marketing Track)
    David Gallagher, LandOpt, LLC

    This session will take a look at a portfolio approach to selling snow agreements. We will look at the concepts of seasonal, per service and per event (storm) pricing structures and how to build a balanced portfolio of these agreements to spread risk and maintain profits during your winter season. Attendees will realize the business risk associated with having a mono-culture of service agreements.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Concurrent Sessions by Track

    Special 2010 Track!: Risk Management
    Operations
    Sales & Marketing
    Management & Leadership
    Administration

    Risk Management

    How to Get Insurance Companies to Fight Over You (Thursday, 9:45am)
    John Hodapp, Hortica Insurance & Employee Benefits

    The reality of today’s strained financial markets has insurance companies scrutinizing existing and prospective customers as much as ever, and writing competitively-priced policies only for businesses that exhibit themselves as prudent and risk worthy. Those companies have the potential to have more insurance companies competing for their business, at lower rates, particularly during “hard” insurance markets. The objective of this program, presented by a seasoned commercial insurance expert, is to provide attendees involved in their companies’ risk management decisions, with valuable insights and useful, takeaway ideas designed to help them better understand and manage their relationships with insurance providers.

    Lessons in Contract Language & Liability (Friday, 1:30pm)
    Deb Mattson, CSP, Allied Snow Removal Corporation
    >>Sponsored by Snow Dragon

    As a risk management professional, one of your key roles is to protect your snow company contractually as much as possible. In an increasingly liability-driven society, the wrong contract language can represent a major threat to the health and vitality of your business. Join Deb Matson, CSP, an experienced snow and risk management professional, as she reviews the major challenges and opportunities associated with contractual and liability issues in snow, including: additional insured clauses, primary non-contributory clauses, and waivers of subrogation; examples of how good contract language can save you, and how it can kill you; signing your customers contracts—do’s and don’ts; specific discussions about target markets, including government and commercial accounts.

    Data Collection & Your Snow Risk Management Strategy (Saturday, 8:30am)
    Rich Arlington, CSP, Rich Arlington & Associates

    Having insurance and a decent contract is great, but these are components of a larger risk management strategy. Rich will share his experiences as an expert witness and snow contractor to illustrate some tools and techniques to managing risk for your snow company. He will discuss examples of cases where snow contractors got burned, and when they were appropriately protected; helpful tips on managing data and long-term record retention; discussion of specific cases where risk management was a major factor in winning the bid; and techniques to help snow companies decrease their liability through effective coordination of company policy, partnering with insurance, safety and training programs, contract review processes, and sales and customer support processes.


    Operations

    Demystifying Deicers: Ice-melt Products, Characteristics and Application Techniques (Thursday, 9:45am)
    Bill Oestmann & Mose Sacarry, Dept of Public Works, Highway Division, Town of New Canaan, CT & Robert George, International Salt Co.

    This session will provide attendees with the opportunity to learn about the various traditional and special-blend ice-melt products available in both the commercial and municipal marketplace, including sodium chloride, calcium chloride, potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, and special-blend ice-melt products. The session will include an overview of each product’s characteristics, melting capabilities, effectiveness in various winter weather events, and appropriate application techniques. Various winter weather maintenance techniques utilized by the Town of New Canaan, Connecticut will be presented, as well as information on how the processes and products utilized by New Canaan can be applicable in the commercial winter-maintenance provider market.

    Managing Snow & Ice: A Portfolio Approach (Friday, 1:30pm)
    David Furbeck, North American Salt Co

    Many snow and ice professionals in the commercial deicing industry use the same solid deicing strategy and product year after year, with only minor changes in rates depending on weather; however, many commercial snow and ice professionals are wondering what new innovations in the municipal area may have value in the commercial side of the industry. With this presentation, we will examine the types, availability and use of liquid products to enhance ice management professional’s bulk deicing portfolio and systems. Topics covered will include pros and cons of various types of salt, treated salt and liquid products.

    Using Weather Intelligence to Better Manage Your Business (Friday, 3:30pm)
    Bill Kirk & Richard Wooley, Weather Trends International

    The focus of this session is to provide snow and ice management companies with a better understanding of how they can use weather intelligence in their strategic planning process. The presentation will include a review of macro level weather patterns (i.e. – El Nino, La Nina) and meteorological terminology (i.e. - relatively humidity) and the potential impact that various trends and conditions can have on businesses. Bill & Richard will share practical examples of strategic, proactive decisions that can be made using various types of weather information provided.

    Is Your Plow Truck Safe & Legal? (Saturday, 10:30am)
    Craig Kemmerling, Meyer Products; John Murphy, Douglas Dynamics

    This panel, composed of representatives from major plow manufacturing companies, will address key issues related to plow and deicing equipment and vehicle modifications. Manufacturers and dealers of snow removal equipment must navigate a stringent set of federal regulations related to vehicle modifications and safety. Many dealers are asked by their customers to modify equipment in ways that are not in line with federal regulations, modifications which potentially could create unsafe conditions.
    The panel will discuss the following, the open the session up to equipment-specific questions: a review of the major regulations applicable; examples of testing procedures for compliance; specific examples of common ways equipment is misused or altered.


    Sales & Marketing

    The Referral Advantage (Thursday, 9:45am)
    Jeffrey Scott, Jeffrey Scott!

    Grow your business on relationships and referrals. Learn how to get your entire company to ask for, earn, inspire, network and market for more referrals than you have ever before received. You will come away with specific tools, a process, and a systematic approach for building your referral base with community influencers, VIP’s, professionals, the trade and your customers. Learn how to exercise and strengthen your “relationship-building muscles,” in order to drive the growth of your business for years to come. This session is based on the Jeffrey Scott’s successful book, “The Referral Advantage.”

    Low-Cost, High-Impact Marketing (Friday, 1:30pm)
    Jeffrey Scott, Jeffrey Scott!

    Create an easy-to-implement marketing system, based on five low-cost strategies that will drive business to your door. Learn how to systematically: 1) brand yourself as an expert, 2) use public relations to promote your brand, 3) Use relationship marketing to solidify your brand, 4) use direct marketing to stay top of mind, and 5) employ e-marketing to up sell your customers once they have become a client. Learn how to measure your results and ROI every step of the way, so that you are always on track.

    Grow Your Business Without Shrinking Your Profits (Friday, 3:30pm)
    Kirk Armstrong, Gerry Weinberg & Associations / Sandler Training
    >>Sponsored by Pro-Tech Manufacturing

    Tough economic times require tough sales people that can sell value over price alone. Come to this session to learn how to create a sales culture that will attract more customers and close more deals, without making you act, sound or behave like a “typical” sales person. Walk away with new questions to ask that put you in control of the sale, how to qualify and disqualify potential customers, and how to create a selling process that will win more orders in less time.

    Negotiating in a Frozen Economy (Saturday, 8:30am)
    Kirk Armstrong, Gerry Weinberg & Associates / Sandler Training

    Are you worried when prospects tell you, “Your price is too high” or “You’ll have to do better than that”? Or, even, “We’re going to have to go with the low bidder.” Does what you say next end up costing you dollars? Would you like to plant your feet but don’t know how to without offending them or losing the sale? Learn what to ask, how to ask it and the do’s and don’ts of simple negotiation. Don’t be so eager to give away your hard earned dollars. Learn techniques to spot projects where price is not the only factor. The rules in negotiation have changed. Have you?

    Selling a Balanced Portfolio of Snow Contracts (Saturday, 10:30am)
    David Gallagher, LandOpt, LLC

    This session will take a look at a portfolio approach to selling snow agreements. We will look at the concepts of seasonal, per service and per event (storm) pricing structures and how to build a balanced portfolio of these agreements to spread risk and maintain profits during your winter season. Attendees will realize the business risk associated with having a mono-culture of service agreements.

    Management & Leadership

    Leading Effective Meetings (Thursday, 9:45am)
    Bob Coulter, JP Horizons
    >>Sponsored by Pro-Motion Consulting

    It is the job of the leader of any meeting to provide an atmosphere where everyone leaves energized and focused, regardless of the topics discussed. When a meeting is properly prepared and facilitated, even the most serious discussions can be appreciated and built upon, sending participants away feeling like they were part of a positive gathering. In this session Bob Coulter will explore the three reasons to hold a meeting: Share Information, Build Morale and Change Behavior or Problem Solve. You will leave prepared and energized to make every meeting you hold significant and productive through great communication practices.

    People First: Optimizing Human Resources in Your Snow & Ice Management Business (Friday, 3:30pm)
    Phil Harwood, CSP, Pro-Motion Consulting, LLC

    Every snow business needs three things: customers, equipment, and people to do the work. While much effort is put into sales, marketing, equipment and operations, the “people” side of a business is often neglected. It should be no surprise that managing human resources is often cited as the most challenging and frustrating aspect of running a snow business. This session will help you understand the human resources function and how to optimize your human resource investments—your people—and build a strong foundation for growth and profitability.

    Overview of the Subcontractor Relationship (Saturday, 10:30am-Noon)
    Ed Laflamme, Harvest Landscape Consulting

    The subcontractor can be advantageous for both parties, if you take the guesswork out of the relationship and communicate expectations upfront. Join Ed for an in-depth look at subcontractors as a business strategy. He will discuss the pros and cons of hiring subcontractors, how to recruit and retain good-quality subs, how to protect your legal and risk management interests, as well as provide sample subcontractor agreements and worksheets.

    Administration

    Inside the Head of the Property Manager (Friday, 1:30pm)
    Moderator: Richard Churchill, The Grounds Keeper Inc.
    Property Manager Panelists: To be Determined

    A solid relationship with your customers takes more than a written agreement; it takes relationship-building through honest dialogue and open communication. Attend this session in order to gain a solid understanding of snow & ice services from the property manager’s point of view. Panelists include property managers from several different types of properties. Learn more about some of the decision processes that they go through in choosing snow contractors; how snow plays into the overall realm of services that they provide for their properties; and how this information can create some challenges and opportunities for snow contractors.

    Getting Paid for Your Work: When Bill Collection Turns Complicated (Friday, 3:30pm)
    Steven Sager, Esq., Sager & Schaffer, LLP

    Bill collection may seem like a simple process: send an invoice and collect on payment. It turns complicated when a customer does not pay, and you must maintain a balance between steady cash flow and a positive working relationship with your customer. Usually, this can be handled in a fairly efficient and effective manner. But attend this session to learn what you can do and what your rights are if a customer refuses to pay; what implications termination of service may have on your contract; and how to write your contract to help you take action if needed. Although they differ among states, some resources on lien laws will also be addressed.

    Creating an Exit Strategy: How to Prepare for the Inevitable Transition of Your Business (Saturday, 8:30am)
    Moderator: Phil Harwood, CSP, Pro-Motion Consulting, LLC
    Panelists: Jason Case, CSP, Case Snow Management Inc.; Robert Smart, CSP, Smart Scapes, Inc.; and Alan Steiman, CSP, Alan Steiman’s Landscape

    Every business owner faces the inevitable challenge of exiting their business—either by closing its doors or transferring ownership to others. Unfortunately, most business owners find themselves addressing these tough decisions at a time when it is less than optimal—after a crisis occurs. This session will help you understand the challenges of various exit strategies and how to overcome these challenges. This session will also include real-life examples from business owners who have worked through such difficult transitions.

    Weather Coverage Options: Managing the Risk of Too Little or Too Much Snow (Saturday, 8:30am)
    Jeff Hodgson, Chicago Weather Brokerage & Robert Holmes, Vortex Insurance Agency

    Unpredictable weather is one of the largest risks facing snow and ice contractors. Heavy snowfall reduces the profitability of fixed-price contracts. Mild winters lower revenue from per push or per event customers. There are several companies in the snow industry who offer tools, from weather insurance to commodity traded contracts, to manage unpredictable weather. This panel presentation will feature three of these companies. Join us for a lively discussion and explanation of these tools available to you.

    Working with National Service Providers: The Challenges and Opportunities (Saturday, 10:30am)
    Rich Arlington, CSP, Affiliated Maintenance Group; Jason Case, CSP, Case Snow Management Inc.; Sean Hartnett, USM Services; Grant Mitchell, Divisions, Inc.

    This session will feature three representatives from companies that help manage national or large regional snow service brokers, along with one panelist representing a large, local snow contractor firm. The goal of the session is to foster strong, productive dialogue regarding both the challenges and opportunities for local snow contractors working in markets that are seeing consolidation through services offered by national or regional service brokers. Items to be addressed will be: contract language, negotiations, and risk; developing processes to meet payment requirements; strategies for taking on national work in ways that make sense for your company; adapting to changing markets and customer needs.


    Then you have the trade show, snack and chats, + networking with others. :drinkup:
     
  18. Neige

    Neige Sponsor
    Messages: 2,197

    I understand its your biggest week, but the symposium ends a full week before July 4th The symposium ends Juin 26.
     
  19. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,935

    That just won the "Longest Post in the History of Plowsite" Award. Congrats Paul.
     
  20. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    If it was in French it would be longer.:D