Electrical contractors from around the country discussed strategies to grow their businesses on Saturday at the Business Development Seminar at NECA 2018 Philadelphia.
The annual gathering included a talk led by Fred Sargent titled “Great Service Made Simple.” It was followed by a panel discussion on low voltage work moderated by NECA District 5 Vice President Vincent Real, who is the President of CEO of Big State Electric in South Central Texas.
The panelists included John Strohecker, VP Alarm & Detection, Cosco Fire Protection; Phil Myers, PE/RCDD, Vice President, Team Leader/Technology Division, Collins Electrical Construction Co.; and Frank Holleran, President, H.B. Frazer Company.
First, though, increasing market share through service work was the focus for Sargent, who is a longtime electrical industry expert and has a new book that is available online.
“It has helped our company grow,” said Real, who chairs NECA’s Business Development Task Force. “We’re excited about that.”
Sargent added, “It’s not only about gaining customers, but keeping them.”
One of the rewards of great service, Sargent said, is solving problems. And those implications affect many parties involved. Contractors must consider the questions:
- What is the most important year-end result?
- Who will you have to compete against?
- How can you gain a competitive edge?
Among Sargent’s answers: adopting a “last mile” operations profile; standardizing product lines; investing in education and training of employees; and joining the newly formed NECA Service Network. More information on the NECA Service Network will be released in the coming weeks.
The related theme of the panel discussion later in the session revolved around growing marking share thorough other forms of diversification. Strohecker, Myers and Holleran provided input about working in the low voltage business.
“It’s just a great avenue for business,” Holleran said. “It’s growing more and more in our world.”
Myers agreed with Holleran that one of the hurdles to getting started is proving to customers that they can do the work and offer value. He touted mentoring up-and-comers with support early on.
Finally, Strohecker said staying on top on technology has been very important for his company, while Holleran said to focus on having the right people in place. Myers said it’s all about commitment.
“You want to go all in,” Myers said.