Maximum Comfortech

If you aren’t planning on attending Comfortech in Baltimore next week, it’s not too late to reconsider. If you are attending, there’s a few changes you should be aware of to maximize your Comfortech experience.

The Value Proposition

The Comfortech value proposition is a three-legged stool, with the value from education, exhibits, and interaction. The seminars are the primary reason Comfortech exists and they’re the best in the industry.

Education

Everything starts Wednesday afternoon. In fact, some of it starts Wednesday morning. Women in HVACR meets. Also on Wednesday, the Service Roundtable’s Retail Contractor Coalition holds its Brand U seminar on contractor branding.

The seminars start at 1:00 p.m. this year with three sessions held before 6:00 p.m. That’s a change. If you’re used to kicking off your Comfortech experience with the Welcome Reception, you’re going to miss more than one third of the educational opportunities. Click here for a full list of the seminars.

If you’re new to Comfortech, don’t miss the First Timers Meeting at 6:30 p.m. In this meeting you’ll get the inside scoop that’s unfit for CB Hotmail.

Psst… Here’s a secret. If you’re interested in social media and attend my seminar on Thursday morning or Friday afternoon, you can get a free copy of my book Social Media for the Service Contractor, courtesy of Jackson Systems.

It’s simply impossible to attend all of the seminars. You’ve got to pick and choose. The seminars will repeat, so you’ll be able to attend the seminars most important to you.

Make your selections in advance. If you’re bringing more than one person, divide up the responsibility.

If a seminar is not what you expect, don’t stay. Quietly leave and enter another. You’re paying to attend. Don’t continue to attend a seminar where you aren’t getting value.

People select seminars based on the speaker, the topic, the handout, and popularity. Popularity comes from contractors talking with each other about which session was good.

In addition to the seminars, Comfortech has dynamic keynotes on Thursday and Friday. Sponsored by The Trane Company, Thursday’s features Mike Eruzione, captain of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team that performed the “Miracle on Ice.”

A gold medalist is a tough act to follow, but Friday’s General Session keynote is no letdown. Popular industry consultant and author of the best selling book, Freedom From Fear, Mark Matteson takes the ball.

There’s also a pair of Innovations and Opportunities sessions with seminars sponsored by Dr. Energy Saver, Emerson Climate Technologies, Sage, ClimateMaster, the Climate Talk Alliance, Service Net, and G.E. Money. In these seminars, you can learn about new products and services that will make or save money for your company.

That’s not all. The National Comfort Institute’s PerformanceTown USA will be held on the show floor Thursday and Friday.

Finally, Friday has two seminars specifically for technicians. If you can get your techs to Baltimore for Tech Day, do it!

Exhibits

The tradeshow accompanying Comfortech has grown every year. Today, hundreds of companies exhibit. Look over the list of vendors and pick 10 to 20 you want most want to see. See half of them on Wednesday and the other half on Thursday. After you’ve hit your target, walk the show floor. Walk it each day, looking for new things of interest.

The show represents a rare opportunity. Many of the vendors bring their top executives to the show. This gives you a chance to make contact and build relationships with the people running the companies that manufacture the products used by your company. The business card you pick up could be invaluable if you need to resolve a problem down the road.

Interaction

Despite the quality seminars and expansive show, most contractors tell people the best thing about Comfortech is the peer-to-peer networking. It’s the chance to talk with contractors from across the country in a laid back atmosphere. Comfortech provides a lot of opportunities for interaction.

Everything starts with the Welcome Reception, sponsored by Emerson Climate Technologies on Wednesday night. Bring your appetite. Traditionally, the food is terrific. Following the Welcome Reception, print this ticket, and stop by the “Best Darn Hospitality Party at Comfortech,” hosted by the Service Roundtable.

The festivities continue with the Thursday Night Extravaganza at the Maryland Science Center, sponsored by LG Commercial Air Conditioning, Rheem, and Ruud. Once again, bring your appetite and get ready for fun.

Late on Friday, Mike Weil’s love of chocolate has led to the establishment of the “Sweet Endings” Dessert Party, presented by Contracting Business and HPAC Engineering magazines. If you worry about weight loss, the Dessert Party is your answer.

Finally, LG Commercial Air Conditioning is sponsoring Comfortech Gives Back on Saturday where a group of Comfortech attendees will work with Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake to build a house. Unfortunately, registration for Comfortech Gives Back closed several weeks ago.

To maximize your networking, attend all of the events, wear your name badge, introduce yourself, and mix with people at coffee breaks. Bring your business cards and freely hand them out. Make contacts for the future.

Insider Tips

Each day, pick up a copy of the daily schedule. It covers any changes (and they do happen from time to time). If you’re interested in what a speaker said, introduce yourself. Get the speaker’s business card. Trust me, the speakers are happy to answer your questions at length.

Comfortech provides you with a large seminar workbook. Look through it, but leave it in your room. Take notes on a notepad or note cards and transfer them to the workbook in the evening. You’ll retain more this way.

When you’re in a seminar, turn your cell phone off. People can wait an hour for you to call back.

While the interaction is fun, interact with moderation so you can make 8:00 a.m. seminars the next morning. And if you spot someone interacting with little moderation, remember the first rule of Comfortech… “What occurs at Comfortech, stays at Comfortech.”

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Matt Michel is a Comfortech veteran. He’s attended every Comfortech and Comfortech Roadshow and has spoken at nearly all of them. Be sure to attend is seminar, “Social Media Strategies for Building Your Brand” Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. or Friday at 5:15 p.m. Remember to pick up your free copy of his book, Social Media for the Service Contractor and stop by the Service Roundtable’s booth 434 to get it signed.

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