Episode 25 Maximizing the ACA Convention and Expo Experience
What you’ll learn about in this episode:
Tradeshows and conventions, an important networking, educational and marketing element in any industry were impacted by the pandemic. As things open up, and attendance improves to pre-pandemic levels, attendees find themselves in a position to be more intentional about why they attend, and more strategic in their approach.
As the ACA convention is a week away we’ll pick the brains of some of this year’s attendees, road warriors, and veterans of the trade show game to ask them for tips and tricks, and how they make the most of the trade show experience.
Things you don’t want to miss this year
The benefits of attending this event
Tips or tricks help maximize your experience
Reid Miller DAKCS Software
LinkedIn: Company https://www.linkedin.com/company/dakcs-software-systems-inc./
LinkedIn: Personal https://www.linkedin.com/in/reid-miller-25a52061/
Harry Strausser III Applied Innovation
LinkedIn: Company https://www.linkedin.com/company/applied-innovation-inc-/
LinkedIn: Personal https://www.linkedin.com/in/harry-strausser-iii-7413106/
Tim Collins InDebted
LinkedIn: Company https://www.linkedin.com/company/indebted/
LinkedIn: Personal https://www.linkedin.com/in/collins12/
Ashley Campanella Arbeit Software
LinkedIn: Company https://www.linkedin.com/company/arbeit-software/
LinkedIn: Personal https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashley-campanella-240a53132/
Lex Patterson 0:11
kindred force media trade shows and conventions, an important networking and marketing element in any industry were impacted by the pandemic. As things open up and attendance improves to pre pandemic levels. Attendees find themselves in a position to be more intentional about why they attend, and more strategic about their approach. As the ACA convention is a week away, I thought it would be helpful to pick the brains of some of this year’s attendees, road warriors and veterans of the trade show game to ask them for tips and tricks, and how they make the most of the trade show experience. settle in for more aha moments. Here we go. We’ll start off with Harry Strasser, the third of applied innovation. We’ve got ACA in in Orlando coming up here in a few weeks. And I just thought it’d be great to pick some brains find out what maybe are on people’s minds, what’s on your mind, you know, and a few of the other guests that I’ve I’ve invited on, and just really kind of kick around that just briefly, you know, just kind of maybe get the juices flowing. You
Harry Strausser III 1:30
know, that sounds great. Yeah, yeah.
Lex Patterson 1:33
Okay. Well, so maybe we could start off, Harry, just tell us. So you’ve been to how many shows have you been to so far this year, then?
Harry Strausser III 1:43
We’ve been going to a lot of shows in 2022. We’ve probably been to about 10. So far. We have traditionally we’ve done 20 or more? We’ve cut back on a few but yeah, there’s about 10. And we’ve got a heavy load actually coming up between ACA convention and the rest of the year.
Lex Patterson 2:01
Yeah. So you’re you’ll top out at about how many do you just roughly Do you can probably do about 20. This year? Okay. So 2020 shows, generally as a tenant spin, okay, is a bit up. Has it been down about average? What are you seeing
Harry Strausser III 2:16
is definitely been up from the last two years, obviously, you know, up from the virtual conferences. Right, right. You know, last year with RMAI, and which was really down last year, and ACA as well of ACA wasn’t bad. But this year, you know, the numbers have definitely been been pretty robust. I think people are back to wanting to go out and not afraid to be out. Of course. Here we are. Now, we’re not afraid to travel. And the travel industry is going crazy right now. Right? Yeah. Yeah. 3000 flights a day. You know what, that’s the real crapshoot. Right? Trying to get to where you want to go?
Lex Patterson 2:55
Yeah, yeah. And I don’t know, some of that can be like you said, a crapshoot, you know, for sure. I don’t know. So plan for that, I guess would be maybe the first thing. But, but but I was looking at the agenda. You know, there’s a lot of good stuff on there. They’re live streaming, as well as having the live events. I know that you’re exhibiting you’re sponsoring, you’re also speaking, you maybe want to just touch on a little bit of each of that and say, you know, like, well, one thing I know, we could start this out with is you I was reading the one of the blips on the on the agenda. And it said, this is your quote, I believe, what if you could bring your organizational pain points to the conference, and walk away renewed and fully armed with innovative solutions? sure to bring value to your company. So you’re speaking, you’re speaking on that is that one of the topics that you’re going to
Harry Strausser III 3:51
actually I have is one of the most popular programs, we do the ACA calls the best practices, the best ideas, okay, the pressures off of me, I’m a facilitator for that. So I certainly have ideas I can inject. Yeah, but you know, we’ll get we’ll get 200 to 300 people in the general session, and we will open up, I’ll open it up for free discussion, who has a question for the group, right. And you’ll, you’ll get opinions from everyone and ideas from everyone and concerns from everyone. And it’s one of the programs is really one of the most popular over the years, but we haven’t done it for a long time. So I think that there’s gonna be a real interest in in folks coming to for that program.
Lex Patterson 4:34
Yeah, that’s for sure. And we’re doing it in two sessions.
Harry Strausser III 4:38
So it’s a 50 minute and then a break and then a 50 minutes. So it’s a decent amount of time. It’s not just one session, so you’ll have time to really dig in and get some good information. Okay. So
Lex Patterson 4:48
come with come with ideas. Come with an idea to share that, you know, because as I was putting this thing together, I was thinking and it was a number of years ago when I was attending conferences a lot more regularly than that. It was like, okay, you’ve only got so much time to be in these conferences. And so strategically it makes sense if you sort of go in with a game plan, right? What are some of the highlights? Like, okay, so I know I want to think about this, I’ve got this on my agenda, I want to try and solve this problem. I think this would be really great because I can inject some ideas, or I’m struggling with this particular thing. And so that’s kind of what I’m trying to do is guide the listener through, you know, okay, what are maybe some of the hot topics? And Harry, you’ve been doing this for so long? You know, from your perspective on the agenda? Like, what do you think about what do you think is sizzlin? And hot out there right now?
Harry Strausser III 5:39
Sure. Well, I think, first of all, strategize and your comment was right on before you go, look at the agenda, read through the descriptions, highlight the ones that are most important to you, you know, what are the challenges that you’re having? What are the concerns that you have? And if you’re fortunate enough to have more than just one of you going, divide and conquer because some of the sessions are concurrent. So you might need to divide and conquer to conquer or decide, gosh, which one of these two, do I want to go to? What’s what’s the best? So I wouldn’t do that first, I think so anything that you can generate new ideas on like in the best practices session, or take that into the expo and mingle with some people and meet new people and and look at the resources that are right there in front of you doesn’t have to all be an affordable type of session. I think anything related to medical debt right now, if you’ve got that, obviously, all kinds of compliance issues with medical debt and reporting to the credit bureau not and not, you know, working, working to account for longer periods of time. And because the bread and butter of much of this industry as medical, I think it makes a lot of sense for people to get more information on that topic. And a lot of people are obviously very, very concerned. There’s a session to that I noted that I think it’d be great a hidden in plain sight. You know, the session on what’s what might be right in front of you, we, we sometimes it’s proverbial that seeing the forest for the trees, you’re too close to it. In your organization, when you’re looking at what needs to change and where you want to head in the future. And when to do enough strategizing, the some of those answers might literally be right at your fingertips, but you haven’t taken the time to, to navigate those areas, and you haven’t taken the time maybe to strategize the way that you need to. And the other thing that I’m always focused on and I think everyone should be, are the updates on the CFPB. You know, what are the battles we’re fighting with the CFPB? What does it look like on the horizon? You may have seen, for instance, just a few days ago, the announcement of adding fees to in the payment process is now being challenged again, different way, even even for third parties adding fees, which big deal for the industry, because a lot of people that are using those resources. So to me, ACA has always been the organization where you go to learn what’s happening in the industry, the biggest issues the most up to date, subject matter and content delivered by some of the industry’s most well known speakers. So you you when you’re there, you’re is well worth the time and expense.
Lex Patterson 8:27
There’s, there’s for sure, a panel of speakers on there. And then as I mentioned to, you know, with the live stream, so one question I had for you, Harry is, are they going to be offering up for the attendees some recorded content this year? Like if you couldn’t divide and conquer? Will you be able to get those recordings? Or do you know?
Harry Strausser III 8:47
I? I don’t believe so. And that’s based on a conversation I had, every year ACA hasn’t employed a company to do recordings of every session. Okay. Manitoba. Live streaming is a company that created sound bites that that used to be cassette tapes, I think at one time and probably. Yeah, I mean, this company’s been with ABC forever. Yeah. I was just told the other day that they’re not doing that this year, because the the orders for those products just haven’t been what they have before. Yeah, that’s my understanding. I don’t think they’re doing live streaming for most of it, because it’s, that’s also very costly. Yeah. And of course, if you live streaming the recording, too, so I think it’s more about getting there, or are trying the best you can to divide them,
Lex Patterson 9:37
which makes this podcast so much more valuable, because this is kind of telling you what’s ahead and then allowing you that time to strategize as we were talking and really get out there.
Harry Strausser III 9:48
Yeah, sometimes it’s easy meaning that you look at look at the concurrent sessions and you’re obviously just not at all interested in some of them. So the choices is easy. Other times it’s tough. Maybe the two sessions he really wanted to attend. Or at the same time, the model the the most have the when you look at the attendee list, there are multiple people from many of the companies that are represented there. There’s certainly sell off people there, but many times at least two and gosh, some bigger companies and you know, eight and 10 people.
Lex Patterson 10:19
Yeah. Well, you’ve been doing this a long time here. What are some tips or, or tricks or things that you would offer up as maybe some insider view viewpoint or something on? You know, as I said, you go to a lot of these, you’re going to 20 a year? I mean, you know, and we’ve talked, Lacey and I have talked before, too, about how a lot of the, of the meat and potatoes doesn’t really happen in the Expo Hall, you know? So that would be one thing. But I mean, are there are there some other things that are out there that that tips and tricks or things that you’ve learned over the years that might make it easier or more productive for someone?
Harry Strausser III 10:56
Well, I think the key is to keep yourself busy the whole time. Don’t be a wallflower. And in sometimes, you know, people that aren’t used to conferences, and they don’t know a lot of people and you can see them, you can spot them out sometimes why ACA has first timers. Yeah, steps. Yeah, that’s a great time, you know, not only the first timers go there, but they asked people like myself at around forever to go there and introduce yourself to people. So take advantage of every opportunity, all of the breaks, mingle with people go to the hospitality hours and the special events, if we’re gonna have an act pack event this year, my dad had been very supportive of backpack and the annual Top award FRAC pack is named after my dad. And so we’ve always had a real focus on helping our backpack in any way we can. Well, there’s a hatchet throwing competition, oh, so which drinks and hatchet throwing? Drinking? I’m sure we had to pan insurance box, yeah,
Lex Patterson 11:59
that’ll probably make people more accurate, you know, a little aiming.
Harry Strausser III 12:06
But I tell you, you know, and we’ll be talking anecdotally about, you know, go to lunch and mingle with some people. And it’s not all about the formal things. But I tell you, you go to a session like that, you know, an event like that, you’ll just get to sit around and drink with some people and talk to people and meet people. And we, it’s such an inviting group. ACA is in the industry is yeah, that you will get to meet people that you haven’t met before. And they’ll embrace you and bring you into a conversation and you get to meet them on a different level. exchanged business cards, or scan, business cards, whatever you want to do today, some people don’t like business cards, they’ll scan your card to get get contacts that you can talk to afterwards. Yeah, you know, the value of benchmark groups over the years has been that we, those of us have had them. We’ve got people we can call anytime, night or day. Yeah, you have a question or issue a lot of times people don’t have the three sources. So get those resources at a conference collect a bunch of business cards from other attendees and follow up. And, and that that’s how you maximize your time. They just don’t sit along the wall.
Lex Patterson 13:10
Yeah, yeah. And I guess I would tag onto the end of that hurry to just go into it looking to how can you add value to that conversation to you know, your media, you’re meeting people you want to grow your network, but how can I add value to the network of the people that I’m coming to see, and that you know, and, of course, there’s a ton of different ways and perspective is always welcomed, and always much needed, you know, so
Harry Strausser III 13:37
even in the session, many of the sessions are somewhat interactive, where there is a q&a period. And, you know, I would agree, you know, who share what you’re doing in your organization, whether it be concerns or new ideas, or, or give someone a helpful hand when you’ve got a solution to an issue that they’re they’re bringing up. And this is why I think, you know, the sessions are great, but sometimes you’re moving from one to another. And you don’t have a whole lot of time to interact. That’s that whole business card issue. And, you know, those of us who’ve been going for years, collect the business card, they got a pin right on the back of it, what you want to talk to that person about sorted out when you get home. And that’s, of course, what we do in sales. Now that I’m on the vendor side, you meet people all the time and the back of the card and do your real follow up later on.
Lex Patterson 14:25
Yeah, it’s really cool because you can get that and you can even connect after hours or later on and on LinkedIn, for instance. And that’s a really great way to keep that conversation going. So
Harry Strausser III 14:34
a lot of people set up meetings at the conference so other people ahead of time while on site. It’s a challenge because it’s a very very busy schedule. I mean, from the moment it starts Yep, it is just from early morning till late at night and you know, I joke about it being a drinking group but you’ve got the you know, the the late afternoon hospitality suite, or meeting followed by the hospitality hour that is pre hospitality for the President’s banquet, followed by the hospitality suite. You got plenty of time to mingle with people? Yeah. And you certainly don’t have to drink alcohol if you don’t want to. But it’s a lot of good informal time on top of the formal time. Yeah, I think that’s the real point. That’s where you meet people.
Lex Patterson 15:21
That’s really cool. Yeah. Well, hey, let’s wrap on this 2022 second half of the year better, or worse, or about the same? As it has been? What? What’s your thoughts on it? Is, are things going to improve? They’re going to get better? They are they gonna get worse? Are they more tough? Is it you know, what, what are we seeing? You think it depends
Harry Strausser III 15:41
on what you’re talking about? Right? Yeah. Yeah, like? So in other words, I think, revenue wise, you know, agencies were rolling in dough the last couple years, right revenues were up with COVID. Then they saw pull back with tax season this year, because a lot of those folks had received, what they didn’t realize was an advance on their tax returns, right. So they didn’t have as much money as they had hoped to. So I think I think, from what I experienced, and the people that I’m talking to in the industry, they’re expecting it to be rather flat for the rest of the year. Some of them have concerns on reductions in placements because of some of these rules and regs and the medical debt issues. And, you know, I think most people have reg F figured out and they’ve got a lot of new data points that they need, which was an issue. But now, it’s always what’s that next issue on the horizon? Yeah. And so I think, obviously, now we see some activity from the CFPB. Is that’s going to continue, it’s gonna be a cycle. And we and I, what I keep telling everybody is, no matter what we think is going to be I personally think it’s going to be down somewhat, with revenues for the rest of the year. But realize this too, we will get through, we, we’ve just saw how resilient we were the last two years as an industry, yeah, just be prepared for go to ACA convention, and Rma and all the other groups and tap into good programs, like you have the podcast and accounts recovery.net and get the information you need to operate your business, you know, don’t stick your, your head in the sand, be educated. And that’s, that’s the best way to ensure that you’re going to have the most optimum second half of this year as possible, by by understanding the dynamics that are that are taking place and, and reach out to the technologies and the people that can help you. And that’s why I enjoy what I do like, because with working with applied innovation, I know that we’ve got products and resources that are helping organizations become more efficient and more profitable, and move ahead with technology. And that’s what companies have to do today.
Lex Patterson 17:56
Yeah. Just real quick on that technology. Point. Harry, is there any particular thing technology wise, you think that’s new and exciting? Or that people should be looking at or looking for? Or is it? I mean, what are your thoughts on the technology piece of that is there? Well,
Harry Strausser III 18:15
I, I think the whole concept of of having consumers become more self serving in general, is where we’re at today. So communicate electronically, and truly embrace that, and then make it easier for consumers to make a payment, and to do business with your organization. And so for instance, we were thrilled that last fall on November 30, Reg, F went into play right now we can text and we can email and a lot of companies are saying, Yeah, that sounds great. But I’m not going down that road just yet. I might try a little emailing on occasion, but this texting thing, and I mean loads of people that haven’t embraced it yet. So that is still an open, open book for the industry. But the point is leverage those, those technologies. So it’s not that we have anything tremendously new coming up over the next year. So let’s take what is open and available to us and leverage. Make sure you have a robust payment portal. I mean, you know, there’s a lot of very basic payment portals out there, that’s fine. But consumers, many of them want to go on and be able to negotiate the payment. They owe 1000 bucks and don’t make them have to call your office, let them transact recurring payment right here and now and request a copy of the statement and click a button to dispute their account and just just make it an easy experience for the consumer. Yeah. And that I think is what companies are going to have to leverage moving forward. Just Just take what we know we have now and leverage it in your organization. And this as I think you and I’ve talked about before, this industry is not quick to embrace no new ideas and technology very hesitant. Yeah, for sure that the bigger the organization, the quicker they are to pull the trigger on these things, but the average company they’re not.
Lex Patterson 20:10
Yeah. And it can be an it can be a tremendous differentiator, you know, so that that is a good point. Yeah. And with the ACA, I mean, you’ve got all this, this opportunity to talk to people about that question, right? That would be like a list of things that you could write down to, here’s some things I want to get knowledge on, or not even knowledge, but feedback perspective, like, have you tried this, what have been your results, what’s happening, you can talk
Harry Strausser III 20:34
to the vendors. So though, the expo ACA is always a very busy area of the conference, and people tend to come to ACA conference with a list of vendors they want to talk to, or they have a list of resources you want to check into. And they want to talk to every vendor that does that. So the one thing I’ve always noticed over the year with going to a lot of conferences, is far more focused on the expo than than average. And it’s a fun Expo. People have games going, oh, yeah, way prize. And, you know, it just it’s, it’s a great time. But also, you know, I would advise everyone take the time to walk the expo floor, dunk away and and grab your lunch and then go out the other door and not talk to everybody go start on one and walk down and look at every vendor and see what might be there that you haven’t seen before. In you know, you need new payment portals and talk to every company that offers a payment portal, or a client portal or a CRM and get the information that you need. You can talk face to face, which is always nice. Yeah, it just, yeah, I love you know, we just spend a little time talking to somebody do a little demo or set up a demo, or after the show.
Lex Patterson 21:47
Yeah. Awesome. Cool. Yeah. All right. Well, Harry, I really appreciate you joining. I’m not going to make it this year. Um, my wife’s got knee surgery she’s going to have to have to do she’s got a torn meniscus. So no, I won’t be there. I’ll be I’ll be there in spirit. But yeah, you know, anyway, I wish you the best on it. And we’ll we’ll circle back and see how things went. How about that?
Harry Strausser III 22:12
That sounds great. Love to give you a report on posts convention,
Lex Patterson 22:18
right. I think maybe maybe we’ll do some of the post when and find out what the highlights were. And you can give me an update and some of the people that
Harry Strausser III 22:25
for those that can remember the highlight. Hospitality.
Lex Patterson 22:31
Right that maybe we should give a prize for that right. All right. Well, thank you.
Harry Strausser III 22:42
Yeah. Well, thank you. Great chatting with you. Thanks for the opportunity to share some ideas as always.
Lex Patterson 22:48
Next up, Jim Collins, Chief Compliance Officer with InDebted
Tim Collins 22:54
better be on my best behavior.
Lex Patterson 22:57
There he is.
Tim Collins 22:59
Like, say Don’t let me show you my door.
Lex Patterson 23:01
I’m doing good. How you doing? Really good today. Really good. Good.
Tim Collins 23:08
Love your idea with the with the podcast for ACA. That’s awesome.
Lex Patterson 23:13
Yeah. Well, thank you. Yeah, I appreciate you jumping on with short notice and everything and helping me out here. Well, let’s jump in. So thanks for joining me. And we’ve got we’ve got ACA, which is one of the big conferences. Thank you. Do you still go to a lot of these tips?
Tim Collins 23:30
I do. A lot of years. I tried to speak at them. Okay. I’m trying to speak less at some of these just so I can be more more involved in in, in, in the program’s themselves, it’s able to go and learn instead of watching all the time. So I’ve scaled back and will be speaking at this ACA.
Lex Patterson 23:53
Yeah, I was I was noticing that, which was something that kind of struck me but that’s good to know why. what’s your what’s your method is to that. But you’re gonna be there though. Yes, that’s my plan to be there. You’ll be in attendance and just looking from your perspective with the shows that you do and all that kind of stuff. Are we kind of back? Are we back from pandemic or do you think we’re still coming back?
Tim Collins 24:16
No, I think we I think we’re, we’re probably 75 80% there. I mean, people that are not yet coming back. You have some people maybe that have gotten all the vaccines or I’ve gotten COVID in the past that are now getting it again, you know, you shouldn’t see that wave come through again. That’s the levels of mortality that we saw, you know, initially with the pandemics I think that gives people some, you know, a little bit of pause, but but not much anymore. I think there is this strong desire to get out. See the vendors, you know, meet with a attorneys meet with clients and do those things. And so that’s, that’s probably the overriding. So I would I would probably guess they’ll have a great conference. Yeah. Yeah.
Lex Patterson 25:11
And overall, just the desire to reconnect, I think is pretty deep with everybody too. So yeah,
Tim Collins 25:18
very much human nature. Right? Yeah. Do it over zoom. And I think we’ve kind of that’s a new norm that we haven’t had before. But when you get to be face to face with somebody, you know, yeah, different experience.
Lex Patterson 25:30
Yeah. Well, that’s cool. Well, so what do you feel, you know, talking to all the people and the contacts, you’re making everything? What do you think so I was when I, when I envisioned this podcast, I was thinking, okay, you know, we’ve got this three day event or a two day event, two or three days that we’re going to spend together, and it’s jam packed. I’m looking at the agenda. It’s it’s jam packed with stuff. But I was trying to find some guidance, maybe for the listeners on you know, it’d be in strategic here, thinking about what do you think is the most important thing like on the agenda? Or what are the most maybe a better way to rephrase that? Tim would be what are the most important topics that are on your mind? Like, you’re going what? What’s on on your strategic agenda? Okay, um, definitely want to learn about this, or this one really piqued my interest? Or, you know, what do you think from that perspective?
Tim Collins 26:19
Yeah, it’s a great question. Like, I think, for me, it’s very much tuned to anything regulatory, you know, because we’ve, we’ve seen a shift in the regulatory appetite to expand their oversight. CFPB has made it very, very clear, in announcements that they think that they can cover almost anything that involves consumers and financial products, we see states doing the same. There’s a lot of movement going on around privacy. So I think for for as an industry, it’s really, for me, I’m really focusing on what are we seeing from the regulatory and how do we get ahead of it? Okay, well, are there certain certifications we can be getting is there, you know, we’ve had the California Consumer Privacy Act for a while and now has some more teeth in it. We’ve got additional regulations that have come on. So it’s understanding well, how do we implement that? As an Oregon? Yeah, and still run our business? Right. So Right. So those are the kinds of things that I’m really, really fascinated on. Anything from a tech perspective. You know, I love technology. Yes. Running anything from from a from a technology perspective, I’d love just to go there and walk up and down the aisles of the exhibit hall just to see what the vendors are. If they’re, if they’re vendors that I’ve seen before. I’m always asking, Hey, what’s the new products? What’s the new updates? What’s the new features? And if it’s a new vendor, it’s like, Who the heck are you? Yeah, yeah. What am I what am I? What am I missing? Right? More than a product, a fear of missing out if you will?
Lex Patterson 28:02
Yeah, yeah. Little FOMO? That’s for sure. Yeah, we don’t want that in the technology part of things. We don’t want to miss something. So yeah, so a good walkthrough. In the hall is great. You know, those are great topics that you’ve touched on. But it’s a good segue into anything new for you guys. I mean, with what you’re doing, you know, and you and I have talked quite extensively on the digital side of things and, and the adoption rate in that and whether or not you know, Reg F sort of cracked the door, and we’ve got some things go in there. But it seems like I don’t know. To me, it seems like we’ve still we’re still that industry of a very careful, we don’t want to be the first one through the door. But But then again, this door has been sort of open for a while. Yeah. I mean, you guys got anything new or any any new message you want to try? And is there? How do we get the adoption going? How do we move that forward? What anything new
Tim Collins 28:55
now, I think maybe the newest thing for us is really expanding our SMS program. We’ve done that from an individual one off perspective. I think what I’ve shared with with you and your listeners before, customers will send a text message to any number that you publish. Most agencies don’t have that number turned on to receive text messages, it’s pretty easy to do. Even if it’s an 800 number, you could still read receive text messages to do that number. Obviously, if you’re going to turn something on, you have to be ready for how we’re going to respond to customers that are grilling us. So we see a lot of inbound we talked to a lot of consumers, you know, on the phone, and or via email and they’re looking for those other channels to be able to communicate with us. SMS is one of those. And so really expanding that program. Email will always be the fundamental for financial services because we have to have an email account in order to set up the account. But they’re also now requiring a phone number and all those things that are required for that application is taking advantage of some of those other data points, those customers providing, if they’re providing a phone number captured consent correctly, in your, you know, have a good replication program in place, that lets us use all those channels to be able to reach out to consumers. So, for us, it’s, it’s using SMS text messaging to help drive self serve. Historically, text messaging has been used to drive inbound, which is, it’s just not bad. But with the with the difficulty in hiring, the increase in cost and wages and stuff. Self Serve is really, where agencies of the future are the profitable ones versus the unprofitable ones it’s really going to come down to, you know, we’ll be having that conversation Lex, which is what what is your self serve rate? Yeah, conferences, because you’re gonna want to, you know, that you gotta want to investing?
Lex Patterson 30:59
Yeah, I really, I really want to follow up with you on that and just kind of hear what what that is, because I know that that’s one of the main, like, everybody I’m talking to, that’s one of the things on their on their agenda, right, is they’re trying to figure out, how do we make this easier? How do we move the fic? Friction? How do we, for the very reasons that you’ve talked about? So I think that’s a really good, hot topic, you know, so it’ll be interesting to get your perspective on the return side of this too, you know, Hey, how are we doing?
Tim Collins 31:26
You know, you really want somebody to compare yourself to right? Yeah, yeah, pure digital players out there. You’re north of 90%. I mean, imagine if you’re, if you’re a, let’s just call it a traditional call and collect agency. Imagine if your self serve rate was 90%, what that does to your operations from a cost of goods sold ratio and letters, your employees back office, all of that stuff, because the majority of that could be to be automated. That automation is, you know, really, the key focus to profitability and gross profit margins north of 60 65% in our space, which is, you know, not unheard of. That’s, yeah, it’s more software as a service SaaS, you know, company levels, but, you know, digital debt collection agencies are, are there and pushing that boundary even higher?
Lex Patterson 32:21
Yeah, that’s really cool. Yeah, yeah. Well, so along those lines, I guess, you know, and then and this is a loaded question in a way, but do you feel 2022? So, do you feel like we’re kind of at that midpoint? You know, we’re at the we’re at the summer solstice here, practically, you know, or whatever. It’s a little over it. But I mean, so we got half the year ahead of us. Do you think the second half is better? Worse, about the same we got inflation pushing in on us? We got some things coming at us, you know, gasoline, that practically six bucks a gallon? Where I’m at? I don’t know where it is where you’re at? But
Tim Collins 32:56
yeah, we see 619 639 Oh, wow. Yeah. So yeah. So I, it’s a great question. And I think it comes back to we’re really in a consumer driven economy. Right. And from what we’ve seen in the the, to this point is that consumers are still spending, they’re still buying gas, hotels are sold out, airlines are sold out. So whether we can continue that for the remainder of the year, I think remains to be seen. If you look, historically, when we’ve had economies of opportunity, as we should call it, there is usually an overcorrection where maybe the Fed puts too much money into the market, as we saw with with COVID, we thought the academy was going to collapse the where it’s going to be world chaos. They put money into the market to kind of help stabilize it maybe over the COVID Sugar is some of us have called it. And now you’re starting to see this swing back where they’re trying to take money out of the market, raising interest rates, doing those kinds of things. So I think we will see that overcorrection and it just kind of swings back and forth. And so hopefully I’ll get back to a little bit here when that is I’m going to kind of be perspective. There’s, there’s brilliant people who study this stuff. Full top.
Lex Patterson 34:22
Right, so good. But I think I think
Tim Collins 34:25
we’ll see sort of a typical year barring something that’s unknown. Coming right another variant of you know, COVID that is, you know, makes your arms fall off those lines,
Lex Patterson 34:41
a third, third something appendage going out of your head or something, you know,
Tim Collins 34:45
barring anything along those lines. While we may not have the best year ever, I think we’ll have everybody will have a decent year to finalize the year. I think you’re to see you know, continual inflow issue pressure continual rising in the interest rates going into 2023. That’s where it starts to get a little bit more concerning. Long term because customers, I mean, consumers are just going to, to be smarter on where they’re sending them money, we don’t have a high unemployment rate is by way of an example, if we had a high unemployment rate and this inflation, and that’s a different story. So because consumers and customers still have money to spend, it’s just where they’re going to spend that and that may adapt over time.
Lex Patterson 35:36
So what, which is an interesting twist. And, you know, we don’t have a lot of time to talk on that, but about the whole thing of looking at those other strategies to make the percentage of wallet share making it easier for them to give that to you, as opposed to someone else, you know.
Tim Collins 35:56
Yes. Well, so that collection is just sales. A lot of times, you know, especially for the audit efficiency space, the car has already been repossessed. Yeah. And so they don’t have this now you’re calling them up about a deficiency balance, and you’re trying to sell them on it’s like any other debt charged off credit card, unless it’s a pre charge off, which is a little bit different. But the post charge off world, it’s really, it’s a sale, trying to get them to say, look, I think you have enough money, I think you can afford it, here’s why you want to get this put, get get this put past in your past. So I think it’s going to be like any of that other stuff. I think it comes back to where we started, like the ease that the consumer can do that, you know, yeah, the right communication at the right time. With the right channels will help drive that most. Most people, almost all people want to pay almost all I know that I’ll be highly controversial because you people go Tim are liquidation rates are, you know, 345 10, whatever percent, right? Most people don’t think they can. Right? And they don’t have the channel to be able to do it easily. And so you miss a tremendous amount of opportunities. And I think that’s where that that self service, you know, not only omni channel, but cross channel where you have a customer who is it was called your IVR. But doesn’t want to put a payment in over the IVR? Like, would you rather do it with a text message? Because you get a text message with a link, you open it up and your credit cards already saved on your phone? You don’t have to pull out your wallet. You’ve just eliminated all this friction. Yeah. So those opportunities still.
Lex Patterson 37:44
Yeah, and the intelligence and ease of that handoff and the knowledge, the backend knowledge of the experience and training. We’ve talked about all this, but you know, yeah, it’s just, it’s a really cool. Technology is going to play a big role. I think we both feel that way. For sure.
Tim Collins 37:59
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, today, we’re seeing customers, you know, call us, we text them, we asked them to text them a link, you know, we’ve authenticated with them, it goes out to their phone, they click on that link, they’re still on the phone with us. We’re walking them through that payment process. Now and confirming it’s done in watching it, you know, get applied in the system, and begin confirming and then sending them receipts or, you know, email with the you know, with the receipt in there, whatever that may be, in their channel a preference to have it instantly. Does that mean needed for something? Maybe they’re trying to close on a house before the interest rates get above 5%? Yeah. So yeah, there’s I think there’s a lot of those opportunities out there. And that’s the exciting piece, which is continuing to find that friction in the customer journey. And looking to remove it. Yeah, the bad thing. You could Yeah, you could put it in certain things to help drive behavior. Yeah,
Lex Patterson 39:04
yeah. Interesting. Yeah. Okay, well, one last question for you then. So you’re I know you’ve done this for many many years. You’ve been to a bunch of different conferences. I’m again, I’m looking for those tips or tricks to make this the most productive conference, any anything that you’ve learned over the years or any bit, any little pearl of nugget of wisdom or something that you want to say, hey, you try this or if I’m first time or new person or something. What What’s something give us something? You got anything there on those lines? Yeah,
Tim Collins 39:35
I do. I had, I had not that I’m an old timer. But I had an old. Yeah, I had an old timer telling me once when I was at the conference, which was to ask this question when you’re talking to people, which is Who else should I be talking with? And that because people want we were here we’re all about connection. Like you talked about bikes. The very beginning, right? And so, people reach out to me all the time. Hey, Tim, do you have time to conference, I shoot them my calendar invite for 15 minutes, because I’ll talk to anybody for 15 minutes. And it could be a new vendor, it could be an old vendor, could be whatever it’s talking to, it’s talked to people at the conference, there’s this guy used to do this very early on. And I think this is why the old timers shared the information with me is I would go into a session that I wanted to go and then would race back to my room to try to do all the work that I needed to do. And I was missing out all those connections and, and those networking opportunities. And so it’s, it’s tell people, you’re going to be on the office, almost like it’s on, you’re on vacation. Yeah, two and a half, three days. Yeah, be fully present there. It can be difficult, you know, we’re owners, companies and chief compliance officers and all that stuff. But take the time to try to find new people that you have not talked to. And either share some of your words of wisdom, you know, which Lex you’re always full of good words of wisdom. Why I love doing these, these podcasts with you. And listen to theirs, you know, yeah. And ask the people. So that’s, I love that question about who I should be talking to, because it’s just connecting me with people that I would have? Probably never Oh,
Lex Patterson 41:19
yeah. Yeah, that’s so powerful. And well, you gave two things right. There really, you gave that and the fully present part. And the thing is, is I think if you can shut down as much of this other normal routine that you’re doing and shift your perspective, shift your focus, a lot of times just that little shift, just that little tweak, opens you up to some things that you had your head down, you’re pedaling, right and you’re going up, and then wait a minute. Now you relax, you look up, you’re in a different environment. You’re out networking, you’re talking to people and all of a sudden connections start to happen. And I don’t mean just the network connections, I mean, connections to problems, connections to things that you’ve been mulling on and you didn’t even realize that there’s maybe something right in front of you there. Yeah. So
Tim Collins 42:03
so like, we just talked about, like slipping into the flow. When present, you can find the flow, and that that’s where you meet the people you’re supposed to meet with you have the conversation supposed to count. And that, yeah, that that conference becomes this, this enriched experience of other than just showing up and trying to work from someplace else.
Lex Patterson 42:23
Yeah. Which is what we’re all after. I mean, let’s let’s take that opportunity, right?
Tim Collins 42:27
Yes, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. All right. All right. Well, thank
Lex Patterson 42:31
you, my friend. Next up Reid Miller, Senior Account Executive at DAKCS Software Systems. Hello, there is I can hear him. We’re doing it. Let’s do that. Let’s do it. All right. All right, Reid well, thanks for joining me, I thought it might be good. You know, a lot of the other guests have had on the podcast or or their they’ve been on before, you know, I guess is the thing, and it’s your first time. So it might be good to just not only introduce you, but tell us a little bit about your journey so far, like how long you’ve been in the industry, kind of, you know, tell us about Reid for a minute.
Reid Miller 43:10
Right? So Reid Miller, with DAKCS Software Systems, I’ve been with the company for 17 years, works for quite a bit in support, before moving to working as a trainer and consultant, visiting customers helping with setting up automation and workflow and training new customers how to use the deck system. So spent a lot of time in a lot of different agencies, with many different lines of business using tools to solve problems. Now, I’m the Senior Account Executive. So working on the sales side here with Daxon. And helping prospective customers learn how to utilize the system and and get it installed on their,
Lex Patterson 43:51
their business. Yeah, so you’ve got all that experience in the agency solving problems using the tools and now you’re selling the tools and trying to help them see the value in all of that too.
Reid Miller 44:02
Right. Right. And the whole idea behind a software system is to solve complex problems. And of course, what a better industry than the collection industry to utilize that and dig in. There’s a plethora of issues and problems that can be solved on a daily basis. And using the technology that we have to do that.
Lex Patterson 44:21
Never boring for sure. No. Always changing as well. Yeah, right. Right. With all the regs and everything. Well, well. Hey, so thanks for joining me read. We’re on here today to talk about ACA which is coming up here. July 20. Through the 22nd. I know that you’re attending, have you looked at the attendance has a tendency to look okay, is it up? Is it down? What’s your thoughts on that?
Reid Miller 44:43
Yeah, it looks like we’re getting some some more people willing to come out and visit the conferences to learn more about the industry and the solutions available. Of course with the pandemic and the turndown that we had there, of course the numbers dropped. We were attending the shows all through that Luckily didn’t have any issues with with the COVID. Yeah, yeah, the numbers definitely went down. And I think it was just people were not willing to put themselves at risks at that time. So, of course, with all of that fear going away, we have a new set of problems that we need to conquer, that have come up since the pandemic. And obviously, the ACA convention is always a great avenue to attend classes, learn about the situations and the tools available to help out
Lex Patterson 45:29
there. Yeah, so what do you think are the most important topics this year? I mean, when you look over the agenda, and you look at the landscape, and I know you’ve, you’ve talked to a lot of people, you’re in offices, you’re talking that you’re going to shows, what do you think are the most important topics? Like, I think the way I put it to Harry was, you know, so you’ve only got a limited amount of time when you’re going to these conferences. So if you’re strategizing, what are some of the things that might be on your radar that you could give to our listeners?
Reid Miller 45:56
Yeah, I think with with talking with a lot of the agency owners and businesses that I work with, a lot of the problems that we’re looking at right now, of course, are related to reg F, and how to stay compliant. So I think that’s a huge mountain that everybody’s still tackling. Most agencies did a really great job of trying to prepare for that before the curve so that everything was in place and ready to go. But I think that’s something that’s going to be an ongoing learning curve for us. What can we do? How can we do it better? And how do we follow those guidelines is extremely important. So I think reg F and compliance like it has been in the past is going to be one of the more important items have wanted to focus on moving forward into 2022, and 2023. Okay, so I’d say that’s probably at the top of my list of issues that I’ve been helping customers with. On top of that, simplifying your business processes is huge. The landscape of our industry right now is very unique, it’s very difficult to find and maintain a good collection staff these days. So there’s a couple of things that I think are important to maintain that, first of all, you have to have kind of an easy to use system. It’s gotta be complex, it’s got to handle all of your needs. But your users, the guys that are in the trenches, placing the calls and working those accounts, they need to have a system that’s easy to use for them. And the system being the business practice, how do we work these accounts more efficiently? So that these collectors aren’t spending time on calls that aren’t valuable to them?
Lex Patterson 47:26
Yeah, yeah. Great, great. Two great ones. Any other ones?
Reid Miller 47:31
Yeah, well, I mean, obviously, increasing payments is the big one. In our industry, that’s something that we want to do, and how to do that appropriately with less people. I think that this, this, the situation that we’re dealing with, with with hard to find employees is going to continue to grow. So anything you can do to maintain a self service environment for your consumers, is obviously going to boost those payments. Anytime we can create a situation that life is easier, and the workload is easier for those agents are gonna get through more accounts and more payments and boost your bottom line. Obviously, keeping agents Happy is the key there. But utilizing technology for omni channel payments is also huge as well. In the past, we focus very heavily on omni channel communications, how can we reach out to these consumers to speak with them to let them know of this situation? I think omni channel payments is obviously the next big thing. And it’s obviously a no brainer. When we reach out and we communicate these individuals, there’s a large percentage of them that will actually log in and handle the account on their own if you give them that opportunity, especially the younger generation.
Lex Patterson 48:38
Yeah, yeah. That’s really cool. Yeah. Well, I know you’re, you’re exhibiting and you’re also going to take the innovation stage. So anything new on the horizon? Is there anything you want to maybe give a little Tickler? Or little? Hey, here’s a reason to come listen to my schpeel. Yeah, absolutely.
Reid Miller 48:56
So we’ve got a lot of tools inside of our enterprise collection system. Beyond that we’re showcasing specifically around compliance and regulation F, the changes that we’ve made in the system to keep our customers compliant, but also some of the enhancements that we’ve made for automation and workflows within the back system as well. We just released a new consumer portal. So we’re really excited for ACA because that’s where we’re going to be showcasing our new self service consumer portal that is driving payments up for allowing them to do that self service, like we talked about a moment ago. Okay, we’ve got some great solutions to talking through kind of how to utilize these channels, using IVR technology, or course consumer portal technologies, and then of course, setting up automation and workflows within your system to push these accounts to those avenues of collections. Okay, good. Yeah. And we are doing the innovation stage. I believe we have the very last slot so it’s a great time to swing in and see what we’re doing on the on the new consumer portal. We’ll be showcasing that of course, but we’re going to be talking about some collection practices and some workflows that can help guide business and push people to your consumer portal or your website to increase those payments.
Lex Patterson 50:09
Okay, yeah. Already Do you think? Do you think? If I ask you the question, second half of 2022, do you think it’s going to be better worse about the same? What’s your thoughts on the industry? If I’m an agency owner, you know, what do you think is coming? Because
Reid Miller 50:26
I tend to be an optimist. Of course, yeah, let’s look at the bright side, last shuffle, okay. Things going against us. So let’s, let’s talk about how we can get the quick wins. But obviously, I think moving into 2022, maintaining a compliance system is going to be extremely important for agencies. So having those mechanisms in place to make sure that you’re following the right steps in your collection process. I think the change of moving to an online payment options is going to be big for agencies as well, in the collection space. And then on top of that, I feel like we’ve been through situations like this in the past where we have some economic changes that affect the economy and, and really everybody. So with a decrease in new business, obviously, throughout the pandemic, I think that a lot of agencies are concerned, rightfully so with the future and the next half of 2022. Like we’ve seen in the past, typically, that comes with an influx of new business, I’ve got one customer that refers to it as a tsunami is coming. And that’s what we’re obviously hoping for to get those those placements with our agencies back up, and I feel like it is going to come we’re riding the wave of the pandemic, and of course, the economic situation. But as that improves, I think we’re going to see a lot of new business coming in for agencies, which once that happens, then everything else kind of falls in line with how can we collect easier. So as we have these agencies that are setting up efficient workflows and efficient business practices to work with less agents, they’re just going to reap the benefits. Will we see that? Because more accounts, more payments and less work on there?
Lex Patterson 52:04
Yeah. So if I’m summarizing that, then kind of recap compliance really important, automation, and self service using technology. And then looking forward to a glass half full to, you know, better times are on their way. But you know, let’s weather the storm type of thing. Right, right, right.
Reid Miller 52:23
With the downturn in new business, it’s always a great time to focus on your infrastructure and how we can set it up to be more efficient.
Lex Patterson 52:30
Yeah, good. Yeah. Well Reid, I know you’re a guy that’s traveled a lot over the years, a Road Warrior, so to speak, and even through the pandemic, and everything, you got any tips or tricks that you might share with the audience, just to maximize the ACA experience? I know you’ve been there quite a few times, and anything, anything that comes out, you maybe would want to share as a first timer or somebody new to it, or maybe something that’s a little known nugget that you captured over the years, you know, just something to share? What do you got?
Reid Miller 53:01
Well, I, my, my biggest takeaway is, first of all, of course, take advantage of everything you can. It’s funny, because you look at the conference coming up. And it’s like, oh, we’ve got three whole days of material and information that we’re going to be absorbing. But boy, those those days go by quick. So you’ll want to plan it out as much as you can on the front end to say, Okay, this is the class that I want to go to here. This is somebody that I want to speak to if I get an opportunity as well, it also to take the time to kind of speak with as many people as you can. Just having a quick conversation, Hey, how’s it going today? And then before you know it, you’re talking about how you handled this situation in your agency, as opposed to the other person that you’re speaking. And I think there’s always value obviously, sitting in a class and listening to these great speakers. But the value that you’re going to get from your your, your peers in the industry is going to be much more for you.
Lex Patterson 53:52
Yeah, yeah. And that perspective to like, you can ask that question to several different people. And you might get the same answer twice or three times. But that fourth time, wait a minute, there’s something new, there’s no, I didn’t think of that. So, yeah, yeah. It’s the power of the group and the perspective that comes into that. That’s really cool.
Reid Miller 54:11
Yeah. And I’d say coming with an agenda is always a great idea as well. If there’s something that you you know, is is an issue in your agency, or your business that’s pressing, and you’ve got a list of five of those items, as you’re speaking to the individuals at the different booths or the your colleagues on the on the conference, you’ll be able to get a lot of information on how to handle those specific situations. Yeah, cool. Working is always key.
Lex Patterson 54:37
Yeah, I agree. Yep. Well, awesome. Well, thank you so much for being part of the podcast and joining me on this and I’m not going to make it this year, but I’ll be there in spirit and I thought it’d be a good idea to just circle the wagons here so to speak, give a few people an opportunity to build some excitement and give some tips on how to maximize this conference. So good luck there.
Reid Miller 54:59
Sounds good. We’ll be there. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone. Okay. Thanks, Reid
Lex Patterson 55:03
Next up Ashley Campanella of Arbeit Software. Hey, there she is. Ashley.
Ashley Campanella 55:11
Hi, how are you?
Lex Patterson 55:13
I’m good. How are you?
Ashley Campanella 55:15
Lex Patterson 55:16
Good. How’s your cats?
Ashley Campanella 55:18
They’re good ones one sleep. And behind me is why. Screen blurred because you just see my castle the whole time.
Lex Patterson 55:27
Yeah. Well, that’s cool. So it’s good to have you back. I know. We were just together talking about a bunch of other stuff. You know, just a couple episodes ago. So yeah, have you back on the podcast with me?
Ashley Campanella 55:41
Same. Thanks for having me again. It’s good to see you.
Lex Patterson 55:45
Yeah, it’s good to see you. How’s your summer?
Ashley Campanella 55:47
It’s good at Buffalo weather in the summer is great. So I we I wish we got more of it. But
Lex Patterson 55:56
yeah, yeah. Is it hot where you’re at right now?
Ashley Campanella 55:59
Yes. It’s like, mid to high 80s. Right now.
Lex Patterson 56:02
Okay, we’ve got we’ve got 100. So
Ashley Campanella 56:05
Oh, yeah, no, see, I can somewhere in Buffalo. Perfect. Not too hot. Not too cold.
Lex Patterson 56:10
There you go. I’d go for that. For sure. Yeah. Well, let’s jump in. We’re talking on ACA the conference. I know you’re gonna be there. I just wanted to know, as you look over the agenda, is there anything that jumps out at you? I mean, what are the hot topics that you’re thinking about as you’re going?
Ashley Campanella 56:27
Yeah. So I mean, I always liked the ACA conferences. They’re this agenda and specific because I feel like I learned stuff out of it. My goal for going to these is learning stuff for our clients. So the biggest one that I saw that I was that I can’t wait to attend is actually the debt buying for Dummies one on one, because I feel like people cannot find debt these days that I hear that multiple times from our clients. So if I can get something out of that, and bring it back to them, that’s when I’m looking forward to. But yeah, and then I owe any compliance session. So I know there’s enhancing compliant management system, updating CFPB procedures, new safeguard rules, I think those are important for everyone to attend. So I’ll be there as well. For those. Yeah, those
Lex Patterson 57:19
are some really good good ones actually, compliance and the changes were the CFPB, for sure. How how we’re doing I think, would be another thing to kind of maybe talk to people about, you know, what’s the buzz on the street with that? And you mentioned the debt buying? So are you are you finding a lot of people trying to diversify and find debt to buy and move into that moving upstream a little bit? Is that kind of what you’re seeing, actually,
Ashley Campanella 57:44
yeah, yeah, for sure. I feel, you know, like, everything with laws and regulations. Now, when first party versus third party a lot has changed there. So I feel like it’s it’s a lot harder for third party agencies to actually find debt to work now. So yeah, I mean, I always push them to like RMAI. I know RMAI is really great for for debt buying and debt selling. But I’m glad that at ACA events, they’re actually talking about debt buying. So I’m really excited to see that that session.
Lex Patterson 58:15
Yeah. That’s cool. That’s cool. For sure. So you’re exhibiting you’re gonna have a booth there. Yes. Are you? Are you guys doing innovation? Stage two, you’re gonna be doing anything talking about anything there? Is there anything new we should know about? From our body?
Ashley Campanella 58:29
Yeah. So we are working on a lot of new things. So we definitely will be there. We’re at booth 303 have to double check on the innovation sage, I want to say we’re doing it but I can’t remember. There’s three of us going. So I’m not doing everything. But yeah, we do have a lot that we’re working on that will be coming out this year. And that is one of the biggest things that I’m trying to do is talk with new people at ACA, kind of get feedback on things because we’re always looking for feedback on new products and testing those and so yeah, I’m really excited to kind of get the word out about our new platform that we’re working on.
Lex Patterson 59:06
Okay. Any any do you want to give us any kind of a preview or maybe a tickler to get people interested? Or certainly
Ashley Campanella 59:14
Yeah, so it will be an all in one platform inbound and outbound texting, emailing very much and omni channel experience. I know that’s a buzzword but very much so everything in one place accounts in your your debt that you’re gonna have. So yeah, we’re really excited about that. So
Lex Patterson 59:35
yeah, that’s exciting. That’s cool. Yeah. All right. All right. So 2022 So we just reached the summer solstice. So we’ve actually now now as we progress days are gonna get shorter not longer, as we move into the end tail part of the year. And I’m just wondering, you know, with inflation gas prices here in Utah are G’s approaching six bucks a gallon. We’ve got all this stuff. weighing in on us with that. I’m just wondering, and you mentioned, you know, people having trouble finding debt to collect. I’m just wondering, so we’re halfway through the year, second half the year looking better, worse about the same. Any what’s what are you hearing when you’re talking? What are your thoughts are?
Ashley Campanella 1:00:18
Yeah, I, I think everything with inflation is going to cause some type of disruption for our industry, even the housing market rents are all going up, which means people aren’t going to have that extra money to pay their past due bills. I’m hoping and I don’t think this will last forever. It definitely won’t. So hopefully, this does crash. And I’m hoping this year, obviously, I’m sure everyone is hoping to I feel like it could. It could definitely be hard in our industry, but it could turn around and be the best year best year end, if anything does change with what’s going on currently. Yeah.
Lex Patterson 1:01:01
Yeah. So you’re, you’re saying which I’ve heard this a little bit, too from some of the other guests. You’re You’re so it sounds to me, like Ashley, you’re a glass half full type of person. Is that? Yeah,
Ashley Campanella 1:01:14
I sure am. I like hoping I’m praying. Like, I’m the very I’m very much an optimist when it comes to everything. So I’m like, Please,
Lex Patterson 1:01:23
yeah, so there’s so many so many changes, and so many things weighing in on you, as you mentioned, you know, and then the thing we didn’t really talk about either is the CFPB ruling on medical debt. Right. So, and not being really able to report that. So there’s there’s a lot of variables, a lot of change, which makes it a really good, a really good reason to go. And I guess the last question I want to ask it is, you know, because you’re a veteran, you’ve been doing this for a while. You’ve been to, like how many shows you guys normally go to a year?
Ashley Campanella 1:01:56
Pre COVID? We were going to four or five year? Okay, so hope we’re trying to get back to there with working on this new platform are kind of, you know, taking things back a little bit. Yeah, yeah. Normally, like four to five year at least. Yeah, okay.
Lex Patterson 1:02:14
Yeah, yeah. And so this year, you’re hitting the big ones? Yes. Which is making sense, sir. But as you’ve gone through this process, is there any insider scoop tips and tricks? Like I’m thinking, okay, if I’m a first timer, or if I’m somebody that, that maybe, because my philosophy is, you know, having a strategy is you go to these because they’re so jam packed with stuff? Is there something that we can give the listeners that may be as an inside tip from you that would say, Okay, make sure you do this, or here’s something I’ve learned in the different shows that I’ve done to maximize the experience. Yeah,
Ashley Campanella 1:02:51
I think setting meetings prior to going to ACA, if you’re trying to accomplish something, and you know, there’s a person there that does what you’re looking to accomplish, reach out set meetings. I know, ACA is super rich with education. That’s why I love all ACA events. So go to sessions, there’s multiple per day in at the same time. So look at the agenda, check off where you want to be at what time and just be organized, I think organized is the biggest thing. And learn the vendors. I know I’m saying it as a vendor, I’m not I’m not plugging myself in. But there is a lot of vendors that go and they could be so helpful to attendees. And a lot of people don’t know what everyone does. So at least going around meeting everyone I think is is huge. When I first started going I was so nervous. Also, I started going when I was like 2223 years old. So I was like, I don’t know, I’ve never been to a conference like this. I’m nervous. I feel like new first timers are going to be nervous. And the one thing I could say is talk to everyone that you learn so much about the industry, and just in general agency things just by talking to people there and everyone’s so open to conversations and meeting new people. So that is like the biggest thing that I think I would tell everyone is just talk talk to everyone go to every first time or reception. I know there’s a woman in finance reception, do all those things just to mingle because that will take you a long way with with these events.
Lex Patterson 1:04:38
Yeah. And you mentioned you know, the pre trying to pre schedule some meetings, especially if you’ve got a particular problem or maybe some technology or something that you’re looking for being intentional, looking at those vendors trying to I know the vendors pre really appreciate those pre meetings and if you have a look Little bit of a of an agenda, I guess what I’m talking about is trying to talk to them to about the specific problem that you’re trying to solve or what you’re interested in, helps them to, because then you can really maximize the time that you have with that meeting, because they can build. They can pre build demos, they can actually show you scenarios in case case studies to actually solve the problem that you’re after. Right? I mean,
Ashley Campanella 1:05:22
yeah, yeah, exactly. Or if they can’t help you with something, the chance that they do know someone there who can help you is very high. So referrals going there are a huge thing to between attendees and vendors. So yeah, yeah, that’s huge. Cool. Well, we’ll miss you this year. We wish you were going so hopefully we get to see you soon in another one. Right. I hope so too. Hopefully, everything goes well with your with your wife as well, but we’ll miss you. I wish we could meet in person.
Lex Patterson 1:05:54
I know that would have been fun. But maybe next time.
Ashley Campanella 1:05:56
Yeah, definitely. I will. Thank
Lex Patterson 1:05:59
you for joining me, Ashley.
Ashley Campanella 1:06:00
No problem. Thanks for having me.
Lex Patterson 1:06:31
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