Wetstock VI Holds A Proper Sendoff

A spirited discussion on employees, benefits, and bonuses took place among Joe Waskiewicz, John Perry Sr., Ken Secor, John Perry Jr., Robert Ely, and many others.
Though this was billed as the “Last Waltz” of Wetstocks, it's hard to imagine the gathering of more than 110 Wetheads from around the country will remain strangers.

Over the course of the three-day event in early June in Bloomington, Minn., attendees were catered to first as savvy business owners and industry professionals, then as loyal customers of the trade, and finally as peers during roundtable discussions and networking opportunities, which have been the heart of Wetstock since its inception in 2002.

On day one, Uponor Wirsbo's training expert John Barba gave a full-day sales seminar for a packed ballroom at the Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport hotel - a short drive from Wirsbo's manufacturing facilities and the Mall of America.

“Nobody wants to go to a 'selling' seminar,” Barba said to his captive audience. “But if you take money for a product or service, you have to sell. That's the business of contracting.”

Among Barba's tips for understanding the selling process, especially in radiant jobs, were:

  • Your customers' buying habits mirror your own; and it's not always about price.

  • Listen and ask questions twice as much as you talk during the selling process.

  • You must believe you're worth your selling price. Nonverbal actions or lack of confidence are picked up on by buyers.

  • You cannot cut your price and “make it up in volume.”

    The following day, Wirsbo opened up its doors to its training center in Apple Valley, Minn., for its first Contractor Appreciation Days event.

    On the final morning of Wetstock, Wetheads came together to informally, but passionately, discuss industry and business concerns. As breakfast was served, tables already were filled with banter and debate about best practices and new technology.

    A table headed by Robert Bean discussed marketing hydronics, while solar power, radiant cooling and system piping were tossed around at others. One of the largest-grouped tables concerned “employees,” but the topic included owner leadership, recruiting and hiring, as well as benefits and bonuses.

    Also, a water treatment chemicals presentation by Rhomar informed attendees about solutions for cleaning hydronic systems. A wiring demonstration by Alex “the Wire Nut” Marx helped with troubleshooting controls.

    Though event founder Dan Holohan will be putting Wetstock on hold to pursue other events and opportunities, most attendees feel the gathering will continue some time down the road.

    - Katie Rotella