On Sept. 24 and 25, the Certified Contractors Network (CCN) held its 2021 Fall Conference at the Brown Palace in Denver. EnerBankUSA, GreenSky, SalesRabbit, Zest, PI Midlantic and Shawn Feurer Consulting sponsored the event, which focused on helping contractors develop the skills, beliefs and behaviors to grow their sales teams and help their salespeople maximize output.
“CCN's events are by far the most impactful for me as an owner and as a leader of my company, both for my personal development, as well as giving me focus points for my team's development,” said Jen Silver, president of Roofing Utah, Inc.
The event kicked off with a welcome from CCN’s leadership team, including Scott Siegal, president; John Martindale, principal; Terry Buttchen, director of learning and development; Craig Leary, director of sales and marketing; and Catherine Honigsberg, director of logistics. “This is the first time that I can remember in CCN history that we’ve had really strong leadership and we are prepared to grow this network,” commented Siegal.
“You can see the knowledge that is in this room,” said Buttchen. “No matter what issue you have in your business, I guarantee you the answer is in this room.”
Learning to Overcome Adversity
Helping the group determine those answers was guest speaker Jeff Evans who shared the philosophy of having an “expeditionary mindset,” which allows soldiers and leaders to have success in the most challenging of environments.
Evans is an adventurer, speaker and author known for guiding the first and only blind climber to the summit of Mt. Everest and for being the chief medic/team lead for search and rescue teams on Mt. Everest and in the front lines of the war in Iraq.
With more than 25 years of experience guiding expeditions and leading teams in challenging terrains, Evans shared the importance of servant leadership and the Sherpa attitude, which is “nurturing others to help them identify their models of success or their routes up the mountain. It's leading from a place that is centered around fostering the success of other people,” explained Evans.
Evans shared with the CCN audience how to lead in a VUCA environment, which are categorized by:
Operating in VUCA environments requires, “Management of resources, management of time, allowing people to lean on you and not being cocky or arrogant but being quietly confident,” he said.
Setting Company Goals
Following Evans, CCN’s Siegal led a session titled “Process of Setting Company Goals.”
“We talk in business planning about setting goals, but do you know what goal to set?” Siegal poised to the audience.
To answer that question, Siegal coached the audience in recognizing their company’s wildly important goal. As Siegal coined it, a WIG is “a goal that makes all the difference. Failure to achieve this goal renders any of [your company’s] other achievements inconsequential.”
According to Siegal, companies can determine what their WIG is by doing screening for economic importance, strategic importance, and stakeholder importance.
“For me, the biggest ‘ah ha’ moment of the CCN conference was around having clear goals that everyone on the team knows and can articulate at any moment,” shared Roofing Utah’s Silver. I love that I can now name our main initiative the ‘wildly important,’ which will create clear delineation and direction for us all to achieve success.”
Throughout the event CCN members and guests also explored the idea of creating accountability in their businesses.
Guest speaker Merrick Rosenberg, co-founder of Team Builders Plus and Take Flight Learning, led the group in answering the questions “What is accountability?” and “How do you hold people accountable?” with the goal being to help business leaders create cultures of accountability within their teams.
“You create an environment where people are holding not only themselves accountable but also holding each other accountable . . . imagining a place where people not only care about their own world but about collective success,” said Merrick.
CCN’s Leary echoed this theme of accountability in his session “System for Managing Your Sales Team,” where he urged the contractors in attendance to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to sales management. Reactive sales management, Leary explained, can lead to many problems for contractors including:
- Lost opportunity cost;
- Cost of bad hires;
- Underperforming but capable reps;
- Rep turnover;
- Poor customer expectations
Leary explained the 12 traits of a great sales manager, which include a commitment to setting expectations with salespersons and setting great customer expectations.
In his session, “Managing Your Business by the Numbers,” CCN’s Martindale outlined common business pitfalls that can occur when business leaders don’t fully understand their company’s KPIs or key performance indicators.
Martindale shared how to create a performance “dashboard” and that metrics can “lie” to you if you don’t understand them. For example, gross revenue “can make you think that you’re doing more than you actually are,” said Martindale. Other “metrics that lie to us” include:
- Cash-based net income;
- Current cash balance;
- Recent sales or sales trends;
- The “right” price;
- Gross profit %;
- Close ratio
In addition to hearing from impactful guest speakers and sessions led by the CCN leadership, a standout of the conference was the “mastermind breakouts,” which allowed the audience to split up by areas of interest to have smaller, roundtable discussions. Topics included roofing, exterior remodeling, interior remodeling, sales, production, admin, and recruiting.
"As a guest it was refreshing spending time with like-minded individuals truly interested in helping one another,” said Daniel Pentikis, president and CEO of Honey Bees Roofing & Solar. “Spending time with peers was great and a strong reminder that “we” are stronger than “me.”
“The CCN Conference is always an inspiring weekend enabling people to become better versions of themselves,” said Matthew Collard, a project management consultant with Capizzi Home Improvement. “It’s a great time for self-reflection to celebrate your successes and find ways to work on your weaknesses. Collaborating with like-minded individuals who genuinely want to help you improve is why we travel across the country to come to these!”
CNN will be holding its 2022 Winter Conference Jan. 12–15 at the Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen Resort.
To learn more, click here.