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Make Your Company Stand Out in a Crowded Field at ACCA 2022

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Keynote speaker Gerry O’Brion will share big-brand strategies at the ACCA 2022 Conference & Expo

Your HVAC company depends on loyal customers to provide the revenue that keeps the lights on and the employees paid—even if that employee is you alone. You want to grow your business—but it’s challenging when you’re competing in a crowded field where numerous companies like yours offer the same services.

“The foundation of every business is one simple thing—you must get customers to choose you versus all the other options out there. The number one challenge faced by companies is getting customers to purchase,” says Gerry O’Brion, keynote speaker, branding strategist, franchise expert, and owner of What Big Brands Know

Gerry will present the keynote address, Becoming the #1 Choice in a Crowded Market: They Buy Your BECAUSE, sponsored by Rheem and Ruud, at the ACCA 2022 Conference & Expo, to be held March 28-30 in St. Louis, MO

“I teach a framework of influence that demonstrates how companies can close more sales in a crowded, competitive, commoditized market. The keynote will outline four questions every company should be asking to create a company that is the leader in their market and a profitable, growing business,” Gerry says.

Innovation leads to success

Gerry started his career as a brand manager for Procter & Gamble, working with brands such as Crisco, Tide, Mr. Clean, and Spic & Span. Gerry was also at one time employed at Coors Brewing Company, where he managed Coors Light, a $2 billion business. He later was Vice President of Marketing for Quiznos, and most recently was Vice President of Marketing for Red Robin Gourmet Burgers.

“Brand management teams lead and influence every function of a business,” he says. “That includes research, innovation, engineering, production, purchasing, and more. Today, I’m an entrepreneur running my own business, and my career in Brand Management not only helped me develop the framework of influence I’m known for, but it also honed my business skills.” 

Gerry’s framework helps business owners, executives, and sales teams learn how they can influence customers to purchase in a crowded market like HVAC. “The number one challenge faced by companies is getting customers to purchase—or in some cases, getting employees to work for them,” he says.

“Regardless of who you are trying to influence, the framework is the same. It turns out the framework of influence can persuade customers to buy from you, employees to work for you, or investors to invest in your business.” This kind of big brand marketing strategy isn’t complicated, he explains–you can use the same strategies to grow your own business, whatever its size. 

His experience as the Brand Manager of Coors Light is one example. “We operated in a very competitive, crowded market. All light beers are essentially the same. When I started in the industry everyone was running ads that were either funny or raucous.”

Gerry and his team disrupted the reliance on emotion to influence beer sales to create the strategy still used today by Coors Light. “We launched innovations like the frost blue liner can and the mountains that turn blue when your beer is cold enough to drink. Coors Light grew over $250 million a year during that period.

“Everything in business starts with influence,” he says. “Everything else is the logistics that happen after you have closed the sale. Companies know how to do the work that they are hired to do—but the question is, how do they get chosen in a crowded and competitive market like HVAC?” 

Know what makes you stand out

People want concrete reasons to become your customer. They may be interested in your business story—but they buy your BECAUSE. Gerry explains, “What’s that thing that you’re doing that no one else is doing that gives (customers) a rational reason to believe you?” 

Keep in mind—people recommend products and services, telling their friends to use a business BECAUSE of something. “If you don’t know what you wish they would say after they say BECAUSE, neither do they,” he says, explaining that creating a well-crafted BECAUSE can attract more customers to purchase your services, more often, stand out in a crowded market, drive more referrals, align your organization’s branding messages, and drive innovation.

“Many times, we run our business on what we perceive is convenient or profitable for us, but many times those things are not the best for the customer. If we focus on only what’s best for the customer, not what is easiest, most efficient, or most profitable for us, our businesses can grow long-term,” Gerry says.

“Think about this question: what are you willing to do that your competitors either can’t do, won’t do, or haven’t done? The foundation of innovation and disruption lies here. What are you willing to do that is valuable to your customers that your competitors can’t or won’t do?”

Frontline experience is everything

Employees are a critical piece of a branding strategy, particularly in service industries like HVAC. “In a company where you are entering people’s homes and having close personal relationships with individuals, the frontline experience is everything. Lots of people can do the technical side of the business but the people side of the business can be more challenging,” he says.

“The front line is where your brand is built. The people on the front lines either make or break your business, and they make or break your profits. Companies that focus on the frontline experience regularly outperform those that do not. Many times our frontline workers are the lowest-paid employees in the company—but they have the highest impact,” he says. 

Roll up your sleeves and take action

Gerry’s presentation is among the highest-rated keynotes at numerous conferences. “It combines a fun and engaging presentation with an actionable framework that will literally change your business if you implement the strategies. It will turn on light bulbs and challenge the way you think about how customers are influenced to buy from you,” he says.

In addition to his keynote address, Gerry will present a follow-up workshop, “Become the #1 Choice in the Crowded HVAC Market.” 

“The workshop will allow attendees to roll up their sleeves and apply the influence framework directly to their business. They will get feedback and guidance not only for me but ideas from the other business owners in the room,” he says.

Be sure to register for the ACCA 2022 Conference & Expo!

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