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Azione Conference Focuses on Labor as Underutilized Revenue Source

March 20, 2014 By Howard Whitman
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"Vis-a-Vis" was the theme of buying group Azione Unlimited's Spring 2014 conference that kicked off March 19 in Las Vegas, and the translation of that phrase "face to face," was not lost on the group's founder, Richard Glikes.

The opening day saw Glikes encouraging bonding and camaraderie between dealer and vendor members of his buying group, along with a focus on potential revenue streams dealer members should make better use of, particularly labor and service charges.

Held at Las Vegas' Hard Rock Hotel, the conference kicked off with a gathering of only dealer member companies (the group's vendor companies, which Glikes considers members as well, would show up later in the day). Glikes commenced the festivities with a run-down of Azione's goals, along with the announcements that the group now has 36 member dealers, and has added a new vendor (Qmotion) as well.
"We are their exclusive buying group," he said of the new Azione vendor company.

"'Elevate' is our goal for 2014," Glikes told the assembled dealer reps, getting straight to the point of how they could elevate their profits: by charging more for labor.

"Anybody know any plumbers not making money? No," he offered as an example of the financial power of labor charges, which are frequently undercharged or not charged at all by electronics integrators.

Additional suggestions from Glikes to boost earnings stated in his address included:
• selling more expensive brands
• selling more expensive models within those brands

Most Profitable Ideas
Glikes followed his opening statements with short presentations by Azione dealer reps offering their best ideas for generating more profits. Speakers included:

• Bill Charney of Advanced Home Audio, who spoke of beefing up his sales department, both by adding a new salesperson, and implementing a new software, Sales Toolz; restructuring by losing some of his staff's "dead weight" and putting veteran employees into positions better suited to their skills; and using metrics to forecast future earnings and run more efficiently.

• Kim Michels of Electronic Environments, who created a separate service department that included a salesperson, project manager, designer, lead technicians and technicians. The new department proved so popular that it is currently booked six weeks in advance, he reported.

• Jon Myer of MyerConnex, who spoke of methods his company devised to boost labor efficiency, including: letting techs take their vans home and then drive directly to jobs; offering incentives such as tool gift cards to techs; raising billing for labor by $20 an hour; and paying himself first and "putting it on the team" to bring in the necessary earnings each month.
 

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