The BTA held its Gateway to Success Event in Austin in mid-June, and, as is typical for a BTA event it was a great combination of education, networking and fun. The almost-day-and-a-half event featured a presenter lineup including dealers, analysts and experts and offered up yet another reminder of why BTA membership is a must-have in this industry.
The first-day afternoon keynote featured motivational speaker Ted Ma presenting “Unforgettable Leadership: How to Be the Leader Your Employees Never Want to Leave.” Ted got points for putting our Patricia Ames in handcuffs on stage and then teaching her to get out of them. Handcuffing employees to you may be a way to ensure they never leave – just don’t teach them the escape trick.
Digging down into other serious topics, John Hey, founder of Strategic Business Associates, talked about selling your business in “To Sell or Not to Sell – That is Not the Question.” Hey began his career with the former D.C. Hey Co. in 1973, grew the business from $5 million to more than $170 million in sales with more than 1,250 employees and completed more than 12 acquisitions, so he knows his stuff – and relayed some solid lessons with a good dose of humor. Mergers, acquisitions and planning for the future are hot topics right now – succession planning was a topic at the last BTA meeting — and there’s nothing better than getting tips from people who have been in the trenches.
Speaking of those who know their stuff – Sally Brause of GreatAmerica Financial Services is always a solid source of good information. In “Create a Foundation for Sales Success” she went over some of the differences between transactional and consultative selling, and shared tips for behavior-based interviewing.
Continuing the trend of “stories from people who have lived them” was Chip Miceli of … did you think I was going to say Des Plaines Office Equipment? … Pulse Technologies. Chip talked rebranding, which is something his company recently did — and since he wrote about it recently in The Imaging Channel, I’ll let you read all about it here. It’s not quite as good as hearing him talk about it in person, but it will do.
Next up was Andy Slawetsky giving an update on “What’s Happenin’ in the Imaging Industry.” There’s a lot happening – he just hit the high points in order to squeeze his presentation into an hour, which is impressive given how fast Andy talks. Lots of things going on these days, as you probably well know if you’re reading this piece, and Andy’s take is always an interesting one.
Andy had the pre-lunch slot, but we were equally excited to come back from lunch and hear Sarah Henderson’s panel on “The Evolution of MPS: What Has Changed in Dealer MPS Programs?” Sarah moderated a panel consisting of Advanced Systems’ John Dodge, Impact Networking’s Don Duvall and OneDoc MPS’s Kevin Morris, and between the four of them we learned a lot about how MPS has evolved. From pricing models to solutions and tool sets, the landscape today is very different, staying profitable is a challenge and keeping up with changes is more important than ever.
Jamie Bsales of Keypoint Intelligence spoke on a very hot topic – printer security in the IoT era. If you haven’t been keeping up with the latest in security, you’re probably out of business already — it may be the most important thing to pay attention to these days. Be sure to check out the June issue of The Imaging Channel — we have a magazine full of expert articles on the topic.
Rounding out the education portion of things, Luis Gonzalez of SalesScoreKeeper talked about something that’s always of interest to dealers — compensation plans — in “Ignite Your Sales for Your New Products & Services With the Right Sales Compensation Components.” He provided some solid examples and a good roadmap to follow.
Of course, the extracurriculars at BTA events are always an important part of the day, and during the Austin event we got the bonus of the MPSA award ceremony. Nine winners were announced for six categories, with MPSA President Tawnya Stone hosting the ceremony. Find out who the winners were here.
And then there was the big evening event — a night out at the famous Salt Lick BBQ. It lived up to its reputation with some great barbecue and a beautiful setting (complete with perfect weather — great job arranging that Brent, Valerie, Brian and company!) The icing on the cake? I learned to play cornhole. Yep – this was the first time I ever played cornhole, which I know may have been hard to guess if you watched my professional form, but it’s true.
The BTA understands well that all work and no play makes for a boring event, and is the best at mixing the two. It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the BTA, and the networking, education and entertainment at the Gateway to Success event were a perfect example of why. Great job guys, and we look forward to seeing you in New York!