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NCI Summit: Three-day Focus on High Performance Sales and Delivery

Nearly 200 contractors, preferred partners, and other industry luminaries gathered in what was a record-setting event. 

Performance-based contractors took center stage in Orlando, FL on April 15th, as National Comfort Institute (NCI) convened its 16th Annual Summit Conference. Nearly 200 contractors, preferred partners, and other industry luminaries gathered in what was a record-setting event. 

This year the focus centered on the High-Performance Sales and Delivery Cycle. Once again Summit was open to the entire HVAC Industry with the intent of shining a spotlight on like-minded people willing to share their performance-based experiences with their peers. 

In accordance to the theme, all the workshops concentrated on one of the key elements of the sales and delivery cycle process: Lead Generation, Lead Turnover and Setting the Appointment, The Sales Process, Hand-off to Your Installation Team, and Selling High-Performance Service Agreements. 

The excitement could be felt even during the pre-conference business planning boot camp conducted by Goodman Air Conditioning and Heating, and Amana Heating and Air Conditioning. 

Then it was three days of seminars, networking events, an exciting keynote by Jennifer Bagley, CEO of the CI Web Group, and followed up with the yearly awards dinner and banquet. 

Workshops 

Summit 2019 included six workshops taught by Performance-Based Contractors to an audience of Performance-Based Contractors. These sessions include: 

Generate High Quality Leads with Performance Testing – presented by  Michael Hartman of Thomas E. Clark, Inc. and David Richardson of NCI 

Turn High-Performance Leads into Appointments – presented by Nancy McKeraghan of Canco Climate Care and David Holt of NCI 

Performance-Based Selling in 12 Steps, from Test to Proposal – presented by Michael Hyde of Hyde’s Air Conditioning and Rob Falke of NCI 

The Handoff Can make All the Difference – presented by Dawn Vickers-Mroczek of GV’s Heating and Cooling and John Puryear of NCI 

Sell High-Performance Maintenance Agreements — presented by Jim Ball, Ball Heating and Air Conditioning and Tom Johnson of NCI. 

Games, Idea Sharing, and Coaching 

In addition to sessions, all general sessions were held in the same room with the preferred partner trade show. This kicked off Tuesday morning, April 16th, as all attendees gathered and were treated to a rousing multimedia introduction, followed by an interactive game show called “Reach for the Summit.” 

The game show began with the selection of two random contractors from the audience to answer multiple-choice questions from real-world installation and service scenarios. The audience then had the opportunity to vote, via the National Comfort Institute (NCI) Summit 2019 mobile app, for which answer they thought was correct. The contractors earned points for correct answers with the winner taking home a new NSI 3000 Low-Level CO Monitor. 

Each question was followed up with commentary by David Holt and David Richardson, who discussed the merits of each answer and which way they felt the audience would vote. The winner was Frank Copeland of Copeland and Son AC and Heating Service, Nashville, TN. Coming in second place was Jose Montes of Kennihan Plumbing and Heating, Valencia, PA. 

After the morning breakout workshops, contractors reconvened for the very popular contractors-only Idea Meeting, hosted by David Squires of Vincent’s Heating and Plumbing and Mike Weil of NCI. This hour-long meeting was divided into two sessions: one dedicated to High-Performance Lead Generation, the other one to Sales. 

Attendees presented their ideas on each topic and then voted for those they felt were the best. The winning ideas were from: 

• Jim Betlam, John Betlam Heating and Cooling 

• Corrie Johnson, TM Johnson Bros., Inc. 

Immediately following the Idea Meeting, NCI hosted a new event called Ask the Coaches. This panel of five HVAC Industry coaches -- moderated by NCI’s CEO Dominick Guarino – worked interactively with the audience to answer key customer-facing topics, including sales, marketing, and customer service. 

The coaches on the panel included: 

Drew Cameron, President, HVAC Sellutions, Inc. 

Brigham Dickinson, Trainer and Coach, Power Selling Pros 

David Holt, Director of Business Training and Coaching, National Comfort Institute 

Dennis Mondul, consultant, HVAC Contractor Solutions 

Tom Piscitelli, Sales Coach, TRUST® Training and Consulting. 

Partner Tradeshow 

Just under 30 exhibitors managed their table-top displays all around the general session ballroom, so contractors had the opportunity to talk with them during breaks and regularly scheduled tradeshow hours. Exhibitors also participated in NCI’s annual Preferred Partner Prize Drawing where attendees received “game cards” that had to be stickered by each exhibitor, then turned in to be eligible for the drawing. 

State of the High-Performance HVAC Industry 

Tuesday morning, April 17, the morning general session was headlined by NCI CEO Dominick Guarino who discussed the state of the High-Performance HVAC Industry and NCI’s role in it. 

In fact, Guarino told the group that he sees an increase in the number of Performance-Based Contracting™ firms across North America as well as “an increasing awareness among consumers that there is a better way.” 

Guarino said this is just the beginning, and he feels there are some positive steps to take to make true performance more than a niche in the overall HVAC Industry. 

“For starters, we need to recognize this is not an add-on service or product,” he said. “It must be integrated into your company culture. Furthermore, we have to educate consumers with every chance we get. Testing needs to be integrated into every maintenance visit and service call.” 

Awards and Recognitions 

The highlight of every Summit is the presentation of National Comfort Institute’s annual awards to deserving High-Performance contractors from around the country. This is the 13th year that NCI recognizes excellence in the Performance-Based Contracting™ industry. 

Each year, NCI presents three Contractor of the Year Awards based on company size – Small (less than $2 million in volume), Medium ($2 to 6 million), and Large (more than $6 million). 

Winners include: 

Small Contractor of the Year — Punbar LLC, Houston, TX 

Medium Contractor of the Year — GV’s Heating and Cooling., Inc., Glenview, IL 

Large Contractor of the Year — Contriol Point Mechanical, Shrewsbury, MA 

In addition, NCI recognizes individuals for their contributions to the Performance-Based Contracting™ industry. These awards and the winners include: 

David Debien Award for Technical Excellence — Michael Greany, All Pro Plumbing and Heating, Air, and Electrical, Ontario, CA 

John Garofalo Implementation Excellence Award — Jim Ball, Ball Heating and Air Conditioning, Biloxi, MS 

Scott Johnson Training Excellence Award — Michael Davis, Davis Services, Inc., Spartanburg, SC 

High-Performance Sales Excellence Award — Corey Osborn of Getzschman Heating LLC, Fremont, NE 

Industry Partners Award — Goodman Manufacturing, Houston, TX. 

During his acceptance of the Preferred Partners Award, Goodman President Saturo Akama (through a translator) thanked NCI and its members and commented how very important Performance-Based Contractors are to the Goodman strategy. 

He said, “We assemble products from steel, aluminum, and copper, but you, the contractors, are the ones who bring them to life.” 

“What an open, honest, and unfiltered statement from a manufacturer,” says NCI CEO Dominick Guarino. “I could see almost everyone’s mouth in the room drop in unison. Obviously, I wasn’t the only one who was floored by this amazing admission and compliment. It was truly a historical moment.” 

The highest award NCI gives out recognizes a contractor who is a strong supporter of NCI and its mission, who implements all aspects of NCI’s methods on service, sales, and installation, and who goes above and beyond when it comes to advising NCI regarding ideas, energy and time. 

This award is known as the Chairman’s Award and this year’s recipient was Ron Getzschman, Getzschman Heating LLC, Fremont, NE. 

You can find additional details on the Summit event at ncilink.com/Summit2019

Preparations for the next Summit are already underway. Mark your calendars for April 5-9, 2020. Summit returns to Scottsdale, AZ, at the We-Ko-Pa Resort, which features a world-class golf course and casino. 

Registration info and a hotel reservation link will be available at GoToSummit.com very soon. 

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