Thursday, 12 February 2015 00:00

AASP-MA's Midstate Chapter Hosts Two Guest Speakers at First Quarterly Meeting of 2015

Collision repair industry professionals face a number of complex problems. Not only do shop owners contend with the day-to-day business of repairing vehicles, they also need to consider overhead costs, like utilities and marketing. That is why the Midstate Chapter of AASP-MA invited guest speakers Emily Stout and Frank Collins to present on these topics at their first quarter meeting of 2015 on Tuesday, January 13 at the Doubletree – Westborough.

Chapter President Molly Brodeur says the meeting was “really good. It was one of most well-attended chapter meetings in a long time with approximately 45 attendees. The two topics were very helpful, which met our goals, since we wanted to present something that shops could use immediately. People came out despite the cold because the presentations were about impacting shops’ bottom line and about implementing good business practices as an association.”

Stout, a social media consultant with Venly, began the evening’s presentation by discussing the importance of optimizing social media websites and ensuring that your business’s online presence offers a professional and prominent impression to customers.

Her presentation emphasized that “social media channels keep growing, and in order to capture and retain that elusive millennial generation, you have to be on top of your game.”

Brodeur adds, “social media is an important tool that our industry does not use to its advantage. This is how the millennial generation obtains information, and Stout provided an overview of sites for shops to focus on that offer listings at no cost. We received a lot of great feedback from attendees on this presentation.”

Next, attendees received valuable insights into the four things to look for in order to get the most ROI on energy efficiency from Frank Collins of Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Consulting (EES). Providing “turn-key energy efficiency and sustainability solutions for light commercial and industry businesses,” Collins shared the reasons behind the National Grid’s increased rates and utility companies’ rebates which number into the millions annually.

Brodeur notes, “in the second presentation, Collins discussed why so many progressive rebate programs are offered. Efficient lighting solutions and other programs benefit shops because the rebates translate into money for their businesses.”

“Overall, we received positive feedback, and both presenters left with leads which tells us that people were interested and wanted to learn more,” Brodeur shares. “Collins’ demo items kept attendees engaged even after the meeting was over. Stout’s presentation was useful because, in general, shop owners and managers are a bit older and don’t see the value in social media personally, but she explained why building an online presence is so valuable; most of what she covered was free advertising, and it just takes time and discipline to set up; then, Google works organically for you by listing your business in their search engine.”

Brodeur believes it is important for associations to hold regular meetings in order to “keep members engaged and so they know the association is working on their behalf. Letting our members know what’s going on keeps the line of communication open, plus it’s important for shops to get together to network and interact with vendors. We’re lucky to have strong support from our vendors. AASP-MA’s prime mission is education and providing information on what’s out there to help run your business. These types of meetings allow us to show our members that belonging to the association is valuable.”

The meeting was such a success that the association is holding an encore performance on February 11 at the Greater Lawrence Vo-Tech School in Andover, MA. Brodeur explains, “we are targeting non-members with our vendors helping us promote the meeting. This information could be beneficial for non-members also, and it gives us a chance to meet new shops. Although there are 1800 shops in the state, we only have 200 members, and this is a great opportunity to demonstrate how we work hard on their behalf and possibly attract new members.”


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