The Value In Listening

The Value In Listening

An event tailor-made designed from listening to your needs? ASCA Executive Director Kevin Gilbride outlines why Executive Summit is right for you.

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June 22, 2018
Director's Column

One of the first sales concepts I learned is to listen to your customers and then provide them with solutions to meet their goals. This concept is the bedrock for our annual Executive Summit because it is an event tailored to your needs as a member of the snow and ice community. Let me explain.

In 2011, Snow Magazine was working with an industry partner on an advertising program.  In discussing their goals for the upcoming year, we learned the client’s desire to get to the know the people on the Snow Magazine Top 100 list.

So, we proposed organizing an event they would sponsor that would bring the Top 100 companies together in one location. In building the event and the proposal, we reached out to some of the Top 100 companies, to learn from our readers (another customer) what they desired in such an event. At the time, Snow Magazine readers overwhelmingly cried out for an event centered around high-end business education and executive training. They were already Top 100 companies, so they knew how to plow snow. What they needed with guidance on how to better build and manage their businesses to a high level.

In 2011, we launched Snow Magazine’s Top 100 Conference.  It was held in Downtown Cleveland with a dinner and reception at the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Needless to say, the even rocked. As a bonus, Marvel was filming its first Avengers superhero movie and had transformed downtown’s Public Square – where our conference was being held -- into a movie set. So, there was an added amount of excitement filtering about the host hotel where the action stars were said to be staying.

The conference was a 1½ day event, a seminar followed by a workshop the next morning. A consultant delivered a seminar on Blue Ocean Strategy, based on the business book and focused on how to separate yourself from the competition. Near the end, we included an open-forum discussion with attendees on industry issues.  This conversation was a unique opportunity to listen and learn directly from industry leaders what they found important and how we could better serve them. 

Building on its success, the Top 100 event was held again the next year, again in Cleveland.  This is the year we launched ASCA, and again, we paid close attention to attendee feedback. We learned while they loved the education, they held equal value in the networking time.  Therefore, there is plenty of time built in throughout the conference to network, either at receptions, around the pool, or on the golf course. 

We went to Florida the next couple of years and continued to listen to ASCA members and Snow Magazine readers to build and improve the experience. We learned some conference attendees love the beach (about 50%) while others like a more mountainous, or rustic location (the other half).  So, for the past few years, we have been alternating between the mountains and the beach. 

This year, we are excited to be heading to Hilton Head, South Carolina, August 1-3.  We continue to listen to the customers of this event and have built a conference tailor made for attendees.  Yes, the number one response on our attendee surveys for location was a Carolinas Beach.  But we also listen to the type of education and speakers people are looking for.  We are very excited about this year’s line-up:

  • David Rendall, whose clients include the Air Force, AT&T, and State Farm, and who will talk about taking weaknesses and turning them into positives;
  • Hunter Lott will dive deep into the topic of personnel acquisition, development and retention, perhaps the number issue facing the industry today;
  • Barry Pruitt will give you great insights on what you need to focus on to achieve your goals;
  • Bart Basi brings very energetic and insightful look into the numbers, including the top things you need to know about the new tax laws.

Executive Summit was developed for you, by listening to you.  Our all-star line-up of speakers, along with the ability to network with other top-tier professional makes this a must-attend event for snow and ice management companies serious about their business and how to successfully take it into the future.