IGA Heads South for
by Penny Beverage
The Independent Glass Association (IGA) is known for celebrating its own special holiday each April—Independents’ Days. The group spends three days of the early spring gearing up for the year and focusing on retaining its independence—and strength as a group—in this age of mergers, “marts,” and giant super chains. This year, the IGA will head to Orlando, Fla., for the 2002 Independents’ Days National Convention and Glass Show. These three days of education, exhibition and collaboration as independents will take place at the Hyatt Orlando—just a mile and a half from Disney World—April 4-6.
First and foremost, Independents’ Days are a time for education and this year’s event will be no different. Independents will have the opportunity to learn about a variety of topics, including:
• insurance billing alternatives;
• anti-steering tactics;
• marketing strategies;
• getting the most out of limited marketing dollars;
• how a web page can increase business;
• how to protect technicians from new hazards;
• how the revised Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard (AGRSS) will affect the industry;
• how to win customers’ trust;
• how to convert an inquiry into a sale;
• selling value in a price world;
• insurance agent sales strategies;
• how to handle rust in the pinchweld;
• how to measure the bottom line;
• how to find good employees;
• how new car designs will affect the industry (see "Evolution Detroit-Style" for related story).
These seminars will be held each morning from 8 a.m. to noon and will be led by a variety of speakers in the industry.
John Fransaway, a victim’s relative who was featured in ABC’s infamous 20/20 report on auto glass safety, will lead “The Story Behind the 20/20 Story.” Fransaway will speak about the crash that led to the death of his sister, what went wrong and what the industry can do to prevent such a tragedy from recurring.
Continuing the theme of safety, a panel of AGRSS members will distribute the final draft of the AGRSS standard as it was submitted to the American National Standards Institute and will answer questions related to the standard. The panel will include chairperson Carl Tompkins of the Sika Corp. in Madison Heights, Mich., Cindy Minon-Ketcherside, owner of JC’s Glass in Phoenix and Debra Levy, publisher of AGRR magazine.
Chuck Lloyd, an attorney who has participated in a number of cases involving independent auto glass shop owners and an AGRR columnist, will hold his own seminar, “Insurance Companies and Networks: Get the Jobs You Deserve.” He will share strategies for combating steering, including plans for working with state legislatures on consumer choice bills and tips for enforcing your own rights in this arena.
Lloyd will continue on the following day with “Pricing and Billing: Get Paid What You’re Worth,” in which he’ll lead a panel of advisors in discussing how to get paid fair and reasonable prices for quality work.
Friday, April 5, will kick off with an “IGA Town Hall Meeting” led by IGA CEO Tim Smale. Smale will update members on its many new programs, including e-direct™ bill, the AmeriCare™ Nationwide Guarantee program (see January/February 2002 AGRR, page 15, for related story), AmeriGlass™ Savings Club, Auto Glass Excellence™ hands-on training and a brand-new property and casualty insurance program.
For those who don’t yet have a state chapter of the IGA in their respective homes, Marc Anderson of All Glass Minnesota and a founding member of the Minnesota Independent Auto Glass Association will lead a discussion on how to organize the auto glass shops in your state. Once united, these shops work together to introduce new state legislation, affect pricing, improve the playing field for legal battles over networks and steering and bring hands-on technical training to a location nearby.
The final day of Independents’ Days will bring another educational opportunity, “How to Buy Better”—led by Tim Smale. With the assistance of Toledo, Ohio-based Pilkington North America’s e-business manager, Bill George, he will discuss how to buy better and cut costs, along with some inventory management and ordering tips.
Brad Welling, a trainer with the Performance Achievement Group of Madison, Wis., will follow with his lecture, “Customer Service Sells: The Front Line is Your Bottom Line.” Geared toward independents, the seminar will explore how to transform your front-line staff into an effective sales team.
Finally, Bill Davies of Strategic Media Solutions Inc. and Michelle Walseth of All Glass Minnesota will share accounting tips in “Accounting Secrets for Auto Glass Shops.”
In addition to the seminars and glass show (see box for more info), Independents’ Days will offer a number of opportunities for socializing, networking and learning tips from other independents.
On the day before the show begins, Tuesday, April 3, participants are invited to relax for a day at the Orange Lake Country Club, where the Independents’ Days 2002 golf tournament will be held.
In addition, the show will end by 5 p.m. each day, giving participants plenty of opportunity to see the sights of Orlando—which include Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, EPCOT Center, MGM Studios, the Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Wide World of Sports, Kennedy Space Center and Busch Gardens—while networking with colleagues and learning tips from fellow independents.
Penny Beverage is the editor of AGRR magazine.
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