The Science of Training

By Maureen Jenson
Published on: April 26, 2019

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HTSA Spring Conference Sets Sights On the Science of Training

Over 325 HTSA members spent several days in Phoenix learning about the HTSA continuing vision for 2019 and beyond.

Said HTSA Executive Director Jon Robbins, “Our membership enjoyed an impressive 23.1 percent sales growth during 2018 and 73 percent of HTSA vendors at our conference had an increase with HTSA members 2018 over 2017. We are trailblazing in our industry and now, we are pushing the needle even further by hiring an on staff sales trainer. The industry has become too techno centric and the art of the sale has left our industry.”

New HTSA Chief Learning Architect Keith Esterly and Executive Director Jon Robbins, “We are trailblazing in our industry, completely committed to our members and now pushing the needle even further by hiring Keith Esterly as our on staff sales trainer.”

The new HTSA Chief Learning Architect, Keith Esterly, is primed to ‘crack the code’ on the human sales experience that not only applies to the client, but their representatives, the trade partners, builders, designers, architects and others.

Esterly brings an impressive background in sales training from many years at Tweeter and then Wal-Mart. He explained how he was able to transform Tweeter’s sales process from 1998 to 2008: “We knew the days of selling boxes was over. In 18 months, we changed every salesperson’s view on sales. We flipped it from a situation where 80 percent of the training time was focused on the technology to 80 percent being focused on the experience for the customers.”

Esterly says that every sales person, no matter what their level, can benefit from his proven methods. To do this, he will conduct 3-day immersive sales training with each HTSA member company and their entire team individually in their showrooms, hold several regional Master Classes in sales training, teach sales training sessions at HTSA’s spring and fall meetings and conduct a sales training at HTSA’s project manager training later this year in Chicago.

In addition to the excitement Esterly generated about HTSA’s commitment to sales training, other information shared with the group was updates in lighting, wellness and energy.  The latest HTSA marketing initiatives and how to create a superior company culture was also explored.

Said Tom Doherty, Director New Technology Initiatives, “55 HTSA members have achieved ALA Lighting Specialist accreditation. We have a full year of ALA Master Classes ahead that HTSA members are eager to attend because they understand that the health of their business lies in diversification. We have two new lighting fixture vendors at the show: Tech Element and LF Illumination. They are joining DMF Lighting, Lightology and Pure Edge Lighting as the buying group’s fixture vendors.

Tom Doherty, Director New Technology Initiatives, “I will be working with RoseWater, SurgeX and Panamax to develop an ongoing energy business sales training program with Keith Esterly.”

“Along that same vein, energy is a subject all of our members need to become more knowledgeable about. We are just scratching the surface on what companies like RoseWater, SurgeX and Panamax can add to our members’ bottom lines and assist their residential and commercial customers.

“I am going to be working with those companies to develop an ongoing business sales training program with Keith Esterly on energy.

“On the topic of wellness, people want their home healthier, their water quality purer and their air quality improved. We are getting up to speed with Delos on this and their LA facility is up and running; we are getting ready to bring dealers through for training.”

Concluded Jon Robbins, “Our commitment to the HTSA member is to make a significant investment along with our vendor partners to elevate the performance of our members and we are hitting it on many levels…and it is good for the entire industry and we challenge other buying groups to make the kind of investment HTSA is making.”


Cat Toomey, CATalyzing Communications discusses the latest HTSA marketing initiatives including the HTSA member only Home Planner Tool.


The Improving Company Culture Panel: Moderator Ted Green; Dana Innovations CSO Jason Sloan; HTSA Director, COO, Audio Video Systems, NY, Franklin Karp; Principal Cyber Group, AZ, Ben Lentz and Founder RoseWater Energy, Joe Piccirilli.


The SI Screens team greets dealers during the Conference Day-1 Vendor Fest.

Stay Tuned Next Week for the HTSA Spring Conference 2019 Slideshow.

Maureen Jenson

Maureen Jenson

Maureen is editor-in-chief for the Technology Insider Group. She has been the editor-in-chief of Audio Video Interiors, Stereophile Guide to Home Theater, Home Theater, Technology Integrator, E-Gear and CEDIA’s Electronic Lifestyles Magazines. She is a CEDIA Fellow and IPRO Lifetime Achievement Award honoree.

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