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PCT on the Road: Purdue Pest Management Conference Coverage

Industry Events, News Coverage

The 73rd annual Purdue Pest Management Conference gives industry professionals five days of technical meetings, business sessions and product demonstrations.

Dan Moreland and Brad Harbison | January 7, 2009

Former NPMA President Judy Dold of Rose Pest Solutions discussed how to effectively market pest management services to women at the 73rd annual Purdue Pest Management Conference in West Lafayette, Ind. For more photos of the conference, visit

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The 73rd annual Purdue Pest Management Conference, held last week in West Lafayette, Ind., drew industry professionals and experts for five days of technical meetings, business sessions and product demonstrations. Dr. Gary Bennett, conference chair, said the goal was provide attendees with "the latest, up-to-date information that is valuable to you as a pest management manager, preparing you with all of the skills and all of the knowledge you need to have a successful 2009.”

Tuesday’s general sessions opened with Mike Corbitt, a former student of Bennett’s and now sales manager for the Northeastern U.S. for Univar, discussing new industry technologies and products, including those for rodent control, insecticides, pheromones and equipment. He advised PCOs to ask their colleagues for recommendations about what does — and does not — work on the job.

“Talk to your friends out there and find out what works. See what is working and what is not working out there for them,” he said. “Please go to the exhibit areas after talking about these products. (Manufacturers' representatives) would be glad to tell you a bit more about their products.” 

Judy Dold, Rose Pest Solutions, spoke about the important role women play in pest management. She said companies that can successfully market their services to women — and that can understand the triggers that make them buy — will realize a great benefit.

“(Women) process things differently. We’re going to decide (not only) whether you come into our homes, hospitals and businesses, but we’re going to decide whether we keep you,” she said. “In the end, when women don’t get the service they want, they will go somewhere else to find it.”

Dold cited some statistics: 85 percent of purchasing decisions are made by women; 50 percent of the population is female. Ninety-five percent of women use a computer. She said the demographic of 50- to 70-year-old women have large amounts of discretionary income, are well-traveled and are highly educated.

“Women are the caregivers. The most important thing to them is the safety of their children. We need to be able to communicate with these customers as well.” That communication, she said, should focus on some key areas:

  • Appearance — “I am really, really committed to appearance. How does someone look when they come into your home or business? When someone comes into that space they better treat it with the greatest respect and understand it’s terribly important to me. Appearance is critical. Deodorant is cheap. Please invest in deodorant.”
  • Uniform — “You don’t want your technicians to look like the furnace repairman. I am not asking you to work in a coat and tie, but I’m asking you to be impeccably clean. Every account should look like it’s your first of the day.  That account at 4 o’clock is just as important as the account you visit at 8 o’clock. Out in the field who makes the difference in your company — the technicians. It’s the technicians who are the most important ingredient in your company. You should expect them to meet certain criteria.”
  • Communication — “Look at what you’re communicating. Every woman has exactly the same reaction when she meets a man. She looks at his eyes, she looks at his hands, she looks at his feet,” Dold said. The eyes tell her if she can trust the technician. Clean hands tell her he does quality work. And shoes — covered shoes — speak to the care he’ll take for her home. “What you’re saying to these people is, ‘I respect your space.’ It means the world to your customer. It makes a difference.”
  • Relationships — “Relationship building and relationships are the most important factor in working with your female customer. You buy from people you know. You buy from people you trust. The older I get the more I value the idea that I can depend on you. When you make a call and say you’re going to be 10 minutes late, what you’re saying is, ‘I value you time.’”
  • Identification — “It’s really necessary for all of us to identify who our technicians are. We have a badge with they’re picture on it. Company-provided identification so there is no misunderstanding of who they are and where they’re supposed to be.”
  • Vehicles — “If you don’t think your customer doesn’t eyeball your vehicle, you’re crazy. Your vehicle says so much about (how) you’re going to do your service.”

Dold also said technicians must have solid communication skills. But that doesn’t mean just providing a lot of information to the customer: “You need to listen,” she said.

Other speakers at the conference included:

  • Jerry Hogsette, USDA and the University of Florida, “Increasing Problems with Filth Flies and Small Flies”
  • Drew Martin, Purdue Pesticide Programs, “Safety and Ethics on the Job”
  • Paul Hardy, Orkin, “New Technologies in Termite Control”
  • Judy Black, Steritech, “Creative Rodent Solutions”
  • Kim Kelley-Tunis, McCloud Pest Control, “Tools for Ant Management”
  • Scott McNeely, owner of McNeely Pest Control, provided Purdue attendees with practical hands-on knowledge of solitary wasps and bees.
  • Dan Collins, owner of Collins Pest Management, discussed birds and shared some of his company’s experiences managing these pests.
  • Bobby Corrigan, president of RMC Pest Management Consulting, reviewed rodent inspection and management techniques and shared some of his experiences doing rodent work in New York City.
  • "Don’t Give Away Your IPM Services” was the message given by Tim Baietto, owner of Quik-Kil Pest Eliminators
  • Rose Pest Solutions' Gene White gave a hands-on demonstration on the effectiveness of on-the-job training\

Watch and future issues of PCT for more coverage of the conference.

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