Association News

Another Successful Connection

October 12, 2004
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Having attended the Connections Conference in Clearwater Beach, Fla., this past July, I have seen once again how this industry always comes through and impresses me.

A sold-out trade show, a sold-out hotel and 12 regional trade associations sharing in the success and profits of the show. I wrote in May about supporting your regional trade associations. For goodness sakes, please join the association in your area. Most of the annual registration fees are between $300-$400, the price of one or two decent cleaning jobs. So what is the hold up?

I've been a trade-association member for about the last 20 years. In my second year of belonging to the Ontario Professional Carpet Cleaners Association, a member by the name of Bruce Hubbs suggested we start to offer multi-tiered pricing to include cleaning, cleaning with pre-vacuuming, and cleaning with pre-vacuuming and a carpet protector. At the time, Bruce operated one of the leading firms in the Toronto area.

It seemed like a lot of work to make the brochures and explain it to my clients, so I was a little hesitant at first. However, after the first four months of our new pricing structure, I saw our sales were up by about $6,000. You do the math. We still offer multi-tiered pricing for our services, and we are still making lots and lots of money.

The bottom line is, I paid for the last 20 years of membership four months into our second year of involvement. The rest has been gravy. This is why I support the Connections Convention concept.

Years ago, when people like Larry Cooper, Lee Zimmerman, Mike Wheatley, Janet Yodice, Ruth Travis, Claudia Ramirez and myself were trying to form an alliance of trade associations, the International Cleaning and Restoration Alliance, we just could not get it to fly. The emphasis back then was to offer firms a unique marketing program so they could grow their businesses. It just would not fly. Like a bird with only one wing, there was something missing. It had huge vision, but not enough pizzazz to make it happen.

Now, look at where this going. You create a convention that draws well over 2,000 of the industry's leading professionals together to reap the benefits of learning from dozens of the industry's best educators, a gathering of schools and instructors with the most cutting-edge, technologically advanced programs. Combine that with the industry's major suppliers and manufacturers showing their latest and the greatest equipment. Hold it immediately prior to the IICRC semiannual meeting, and what do you get?

You get the opportunity to learn from the absolute best in the industry, and that spells success, plain and simple. It is a total win-win situation. Our suppliers and manufacturers get a large venue, so they can come large, bringing all of their goods. Industry trade associations participate, increasing member benefits and enabling them to grow.

Take a few minutes from your busy day and remind your colleagues why this is such an important event and encourage them to attend. And the best part is, cleaning professionals like you and I leave the convention with the tools to continue on our path to success. For this I thank Larry Cooper and the many professionals on the Connections team.

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