Nexstar Network’s 2015 Owners’ Spotlight event was held Thursday, March 5 to Saturday, March 7 in Kissimmee, Fla. at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center. The event began with a Nexstar Legacy Foundation workshop moderated by Brad Krause, president of The Service Professor, discussing the successful finding and hiring of veterans. The workshop began with the question: Why hire a veteran? The group listed qualities a veteran would have that were also sought out in a good employee — such as loyal, team player, leadership skills, disciplined, structured, follows instructions, handles stress, punctual, accountable, etc.
The workshop then addressed some common concerns owners might have in finding, training and paying the veterans. Attendee’s learned about the Troops to Trades program and how to register their business as a GI Bill approved on-the-job training facility. This would allow working veterans to use the bill’s benefits to supplement their income. Afterward a veterans’ panel discussion took place in which four veterans and two employers who have been helped by the Troops to Trades program told their stories.
Attendees then split into four different breakout sessions held by Lennox, which discussed maximizing your profitability; Goodman, which hosted a myth busters discussion featuring Nexstar members; Barnett, discussed five ways to reduce inventory costs; and a joint session by ServiceTitan and NSPG, which discussed bundling software for success.
Following the breakouts, attendees regrouped at the first-ever Owners’ Spotlight Tradeshow. The pirate-themed event featured strategic partner booths, a golf simulator and prizes ranging from headphones to $3,000.
The following day the meeting began at 8 a.m. with Jack Tester, Nexstar Network president and CEO, welcoming everyone and asking everyone what they really want — double digit profits, revenue growth, customer service growth, etc. He discusses how to lead a team to master essential customer interactions by getting the job done right the first time by send the right guy at right time to the right job for him and by creating relationships with the customers.
The events Keynote Speaker Scott McKain discussed how attendees could make their business stand out by creating distinction. “Great isn’t good enough to grow,” he said. “Great today will not ensure great tomorrow. If all you’re doing today is what you did yesterday, then it’s a recipe for failure. Familiarity breeds complacency. ”
He then went on to discuss the four cornerstones of distinction: clarity, creativity, communication and the customer experience. He encouraged attendees to create goals that were specific, realistic and written down somewhere they could always see it. McKain received a standing ovation from attendees.
Next up was Tom Merriott, Nexstar Network’s Call Center Excellence coach, discussing the importance of making sure the company’s greet step helped them book the call. The first thing he addressed was the call center environment. “How does the space make the call center employees feel,” he asked. “What are the noise levels in the room? Do they have all the necessary tools? The environment will affect the person’s mood and therefore their performance on the phones. Could the room use a new paint color or décor? Could the employee use a new headset or chair? Be sure to check in with your employees and see how they are.” Another point he touched on was to know what the greeting sounded like. He encouraged owners to call their own centers and listen to the greeting for themselves.
Once the call is booked, it needs to be prioritized. Dave Boduch, Nexstar Network’s master trainer, discussed how to maximize opportunities by prioritizing calls. “Take all calls and always say yes,” he said. “Establish a priority system. Redefine what it means to be busy. By not taking calls you are handing money to your competition.” Boduch also discussed the importance of customer updates.
The second day closed with Keith Mercurio, Nexstar Network’s training manager, giving a nod to the previous night’s Nexstar Legacy Foundation workshop on Troops to Trades, how it can be beneficial — as it was for Thad David, veteran and ride-a-long coach for Allen Services.
The last day begins with Mercurio addressing how to overcome objections with transparency. “If understanding is not there, confusion sets in and a confused mind will say no,” he said. “We create objections in our customers by failing to address all their questions. We must understand that we are worth it and portray that to the homeowner. Install with pride, transparency and integrity.”
Rob Buckley, Nexstar Network’s business coach, continued the conversation by advising how to lead an awesome install team. Each team member should be able to wear a variety of hats. They should be a safety expert, a teacher, a revenue producer and a craftsman as opposed to a tradesman. Where tradesman is defined as “a person engaged in a trade,” a craftsman is “a person who is practiced or highly skilled in a trade.”
Also discussed was following a six step process: prepare, greet, explore, execute, present and wrap-up. “Being prepared mentally and physically (with job site folders, photos and videos) will set your team up for success,” Buckley noted. “In addition, a great greeting will make a positive first impression. When the work is complete, take the homeowner on a walk-through of everything you did and demonstrate pride in your work.”
Attendees then learned the proper way to respond to online reviews. Nexstar Network’s Marketing Coaches: Ed Cerier, Susan Kimball and Melanie Tauring encouraged owners to show reviewers they cared by responding within 24 hours. Key things to remember while writing a response to a review are: don’t be defensive; personalize it by using your name and addressing the reviewer by his; be genuine, honest and sincere; keep it short; understand and empathize with what the reviewer is saying; and remember the customer is always right. These tips are not just for negative reviews, but positive ones as well.
Keynote speaker, Scott Stratten, author of “UnSelling,” talked about the difference between being a leader and being a boss, about being the brand, and about what social media is good for. “You have to improve your front line in order to improve your bottom line,” he said.
Mercurio and Julian Scadden, Nexstar Network’s training implementation coach wrapped up the event asking attendees to create an action plan and write down a very specific goal, how they were going to accomplish it and a deadline that they will be held accountable for by their respective coaches. “For all the knowledge you can gain, it won’t create a result,” Mercurio said. “However, putting your action plan into place will.”