Every good industry event comes with countless quotes worth capturing and referencing upon return to the real world. The Experience Convention & Trade Show 2021 was no exception. Packed with five tracks of sessions spanning traditional classroom-style to trade-show-floor campfires and hands-on training, the Sept. 8-10 restoration and cleaning industry event was overflowing with takeaways. Below, we curated just a few of the many words of wisdom spoken by just a few of the many impressive presenters on just a few of the many hot topics.

For a full recap of The Experience Convention & Trade Show 2021, watch our video interview with Larry Cooper, executive director of Experience Events.

On the industry

“The future of the restoration industry is a really big one.” Kris Rzesnoski, vice president, Encircle

“As restorers and as consultants, always look outside the box… There are many ways to do things – to clean, to consult, to test.” Franco Seif, president, Clark Seif Clark, Inc.

“If you own a business you do research every day. It’s field research… Let’s look at ways we can take that information and apply it and make it a part of your business.” - John Downey, executive director, Cleaning Industry Research Institute (CIRI)

On business leadership

“Entrepreneurial drift.” Phil Rosebrook, president, Business Mentors, on the notion that business owners and leaders get sidetracked spreading their attention and investments too thin when, instead, they should focus on their core business and what they are good at before diving into new areas of opportunity.

“You have a company culture whether you want one or not.”Phil Rosebrook

“You need to be a person that provides opportunities and removes obstacles.”Phil Rosebrook on the importance of building connection if you hope to cultivate a strong company culture.

“You want employees that want you to be successful.”Phil Rosebrook on the key role a reciprocal relationship between company leadership and employees plays in driving a culture that fuels growth. He explained it is not just about what employers need from their staff, but what their staff needs from them, which can be uncovered through regular one-on-one meetings.

“In your business, what are you willing to do that others are not?”Marvelless Mark, Keynote Speaker

“When you have a strong enough why, the how automatically shows up.”Marvelless Mark

“We had to look in the mirror and say, ‘We suck’ … Everything that happens in this business is your fault.”Eric Sprague, owner and coach, Blue Collar Consulting and MorningTechMeeting.com, on holding yourself accountable for the level of excellence you do or don’t allow within your organization as a business leader.

“I had to be humble enough to train myself again, so go get some leadership training.”Eric Sprague

“Building a good culture is a game of degree, not a game of perfection.”Eric Sprague

On attracting and retaining talent

“The people you want are working… You’re going to have to find them.” Phil Rosebrook on the importance of finding the best talent where they are, which often means reaching out and recruiting individuals who are currently working.

“You need to link paycheck to purpose… where people feel like they’re working for something that’s bigger than them.”Phil Rosebrook on attracting and retaining employees by making clear they do not restore or clean; they restore lives and livelihoods.

“In order to keep really good staff, you probably need to fire somebody.” Phil Rosebrook

“Let each person play his or her part and honor them for their contributions.”Marvelless Mark

The importance of finding the “right person” – not the “right-now person.”Marvelless Mark

“Market to your best clients.”Eric Sprague on taking an inside-out approach, investing in employees so they, in turn, invest in your customers.

“Most people want to feel like they’re important, that what they’re doing matters, that they’re a part of the solution instead of a part of the problem.”Eric Sprague

“Nobody ever has time or money to train them right, but they always have time and money to go fix the problem.”Bruce Deloatch, owner, Deloatch Training & Consulting

On marketing

“Convenience is king for all of us as consumers… It’s no longer just for big companies like Amazon. It’s going local.”Laura Nelson, vice president of marketing, Signpost

“In the internet age, consumers are in the driver’s seat.”Laura Nelson

“If you put the ask out, 70% of customers are willing to leave a review.” Laura Nelson

Laura Nelson talked about the following as ways restoration contractors can start conversations with homeowners – potential customers – and book new clients in their sleep:

  • Web chat on your website: To interact with customers after hours and when you are not able to get to the phone.
  • Facebook chat: A free way to conveniently communicate with customers as they are getting more used to messaging not only people but businesses.
  • Online scheduling: Prospective customers are more likely to book with you if you remove barriers.
  • Texting:“If you’re not texting your prospects, you’re losing business,” Nelson said. This is another way consumers are used to conveniently communicating and an important area to meet them where they are.
  • Answering service: Businesses lose leads all of the time because no one is around to answer the phone nights and weekends, Nelson explained. This addresses that challenge.

On cleaning for health

“Every cleaning and janitorial staff should carry the same [essential employee badge] as I do.”Dr. Gavin MacGregor-Skinner, senior director of Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC)

“We’re dealing with an invisible enemy… And we have to make the invisible visible. … That’s part of our marketing strategy.”Dr. Gavin MacGregor-Skinner on the cleaning and restoration industries protecting themselves and their customers from exposure to diseases we cannot see, and sharing information from tools like ATP readers to show customers what they do really works.

“There are certain masks for certain situations.”Dr. Gavin MacGregor-Skinner

“We’ve got to work for meaningful collaboration.”Dr. Gavin MacGregor-Skinner on partnering with organizations to help people understand and experience safe, healthy buildings.

On indoor air quality

“HVAC takes whatever you’re remediating and disseminates it.”Steven Hergott, owner, Inspired Indoor Air, LLC

“Most HVAC systems, if you take them apart, you’re going to find mold.”Steven Hergott

Steven Hergott noted what he calls MVPs, which he considers HVAC solutions to indoor air quality problems:

  • Moisture control (add and/or subtract)
  • Ventilation choices
  • Particle reduction (MERV, HEPA, etc.)
  • Sanitization protocols (the secret weapons)

“Assessing indoor air quality is essential to knowing if you made an improvement.”Doug Hoffman, executive director, NORMI

“How do I fix the problem and create an environment in which the problem will not come back?” Doug Hoffman

“As an assessor, you’ve got to take samples … How can you know how to solve a problem until you know exactly what you’re dealing with?” Doug Hoffman

Doug Hoffman noted there is a two-pronged approach to evaluating:

  1. Subjective exploration
  2. Objectively testing your exploration

When it comes to sampling, Hoffman noted the importance of collecting six samples not limited to the area being remediated.

Have your own key takeaways from the event? Feel free to share in the comments section below.