2012 Event Marks 5th Annual Sales Meeting
Considering that DieQua has been in business for over 30 years it may not seem that a 5th annual sales meeting would be such a big deal. But after a structural switch several years ago, from a small direct sales force to a much larger independent rep force, the annual meeting has been a integral element for training, development and team building.
The 2012 event, held September 13-15, continued the attendee growth trend with 21 sales professionals traveling from LA in the west, Boston in the east, Minneapolis in the north and Houston in the south and a lot of points in between. Not only was every sales partner organization represented but several brought their entire sales force.
DieQua's Outside Sales Manager, Mary Delafeld, was instrumental in planning the event including logistics, agenda and entertainment. Agent feedback was once again stellar with many commenting that this is one of their favorite meetings.
This year DieQua changed to a Thursday to Saturday schedule as several representatives were already in the Chicago area for the IMTS show being held earlier that week. Those that weren’t in town traveled Thursday afternoon, arriving in time for the evening welcome reception at the Eaglewood Resort, the hotel everyone was staying at.
Unfortunately, the planned patio party around the fire pit was derailed by a thunderstorm. It likely didn’t matter as the majority of the contingent was glued to the inside sports bar TV watching the Chicago Bears play poorly against the Green Bay Packers.
The meat of the program started Friday morning with President Mike Quaas delivering opening remarks and compiling the traditional list of issues the agents wanted resolved before leaving. Shortly after that he introduced the first speaker of the day, Rick Farrell of Tangent Knowledge Systems.
DieQua normally holds only technical sessions during these meetings. However, wanting to mix it up a little, it was determined that Rick had a relevant message consistent with a selling style that has been successful for DieQua. So it was appropriate to start the meeting with his presentation.
The two main points he promoted were first a more passive, consultative selling process, which focuses on understanding the customer’s objectives and helping him determine whether we have the best solution. The second was to protect time and information resources, using them on opportunities identified as viable during the consulting process. For some it was a radical departure from the feature/benefit presentation style often employed.
The first afternoon session also featured a guest speaker. Roger Jarvis of Tandler Precision LTD flew all the way from the UK to discuss the options and customization capabilities of the Tandler spiral bevel gearbox program. With the English OEM landscape changing drastically over the last 20 years, for the worse, Mr. Jarvis has to be creative in finding new uses for the product. His presentation on unique solutions was both eye opening and very relevant as the North American market is changing in kind.
The second and final afternoon session featured a presentation on the newest technical developments within the Zimm Screwjack system. This included a new screwjack design for wash down applications, the recent completion of a comprehensive sizing and selection program, which also provides drawings and data sheets, and the timeline for expanded construction and assembly capabilities within the DieQua factory. Zimm has perhaps the most advanced screwjack designs available. A new emphasis on promoting the benefits is at the top of the list for 2013.
With minds full of new ideas and technical data it was time to let some of it sink in while enjoying an evening of camaraderie and conversation. Oh, and beer.
After everyone clamored onto buses for the night’s activities, the first stop was the Two Brothers Brewery. This was a microbrewery started in the nineties by, whom else, two brothers. It was amazing to find a small but fast growing local brewery and taste center in the middle of a nondescript industrial park.
After a couple sample beverages it was on to the Roundhouse Restaurant complex, also owned by the Two Brothers as an outlet for their various brews. This facility was converted from a real old time railroad roundhouse. It was also the location of a restaurant previously owned by Walter Payton shortly after his playing career ended. The bison meatloaf, among other entrees, was delicious.
Saturday morning started the second day of sessions and began with a review of the first day. This was immediately followed by a presentation given by Tom Kahn, DieQua’s Motion Products Manager. Key elements included an outline for a renewed initiative to develop a stronger motion distribution channel, the launch of a worm reducer offering for NEMA 23 and 34 stepper and servomotors, along with updates on the other gearhead product lines. With motion products being DieQua’s fastest growing sector, this information was well timed.
An analysis of sales and marketing trends filled the balance of the morning with the official meeting closing shortly after noon. While most participants departed for the airport to return home several stayed behind to mingle with DieQua employees in a small golf outing. The weather was spectacular for September, which had several other reps wishing they had scheduled later flights so as to join the fun.
With the DieQua sales force spread far and wide, the national sales meeting is the only time everyone is together to hear the same message at the same time. A key benefit for the agents is having an opportunity to share war stories and to ask questions of their peers, all to aid in their development to be better DieQua representatives.
Feedback received after the conclusion was that this was DieQua’s best meeting to date. Knowing that our sales partners left educated and motivated made for a very rewarding experience.
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