Industry News

Harms Millennium User Group Conference 2010 Miami

Alison Alhamed | July 10, 2011 | 10:26 PM

When Salon Today Editor Stacey Soble asked me to attend the Harms Millennium User Group Conference, I was VERY excited. I've always heard the people from Harms were inspirational leaders in the industry and I knew there would be tons of owners I have corresponded with through Salon Today and Modern Salon through various channels-I love to meet people face to face and share business ideas. And, that's EXACTLY what this User Group Conference (UGC) is all about: sharing ideas, networking, discussing what works and what doesn't work (in terms of management, ownership, best practices and front desk, among others). So far, I am totally blown away by this team, this conference, its participants, and the level of sophistication and enthusiasm and passion that's brought to the table.

Harms Millennium User Group Conference 2010 Miami The Three Amigos (as salon owner Bonnie Conte coined : )

The conference began with a memorable video introducing the Harms Millennium team-it was HILARIOUS and really personalized the team: John Harms, President and CEO; Robert Maconi, Director, Business Solutions; Paul LeoGrande, Business Support Specialist; Sebastiao Rodrigues, Senior Business Support Specialist; Cristina Almeida, Senior Applications Developer; Ian Dite, Senior Business Support Specialist; Ben Macey, Senior Business Solutions Specialist; Paul Funke, Senior Business Support Specialist; Matthew Scudder, Operations Manager; Anthony Ramirez, Application Development Team Leader; Dan Scarpulla, Quality & System Administration; Andrew Clarke, Business Support Manager; Jennifer Martinelli, Marketing & Communications; Thomas Asfor, Marketing Director, and Matt Martinelli, Marketing & Communications.

WOW! What a fabulous team!! Love meeting everyone.

That said, I had NO idea how fantastic this experience would be. We began today, the first of three days of education, with a General Session led by John Harms. Here, we learned that the overall theme for the conference is going to be trust-based of Neil Ducoff's ideas and the book "The Speed of Trust" by Stephen M. R. Covey.

43% of employees believe management lies to them. 63% of employees don't trust their managers. Only 38% of employees believe leaders act with honesty and integrity. 76% of employees have observed managers participating in illegal or unethical conduct on the job. Whoa. Those are alarming stats that really grabbed our attention.

"Where have we fallen down in trust? And why should you care? Because you can't have success without trust." –Jim Burke, Johnson and Johnson

"Every owner or manager judges him or herself on intent," said John Harms. "But ALL others judge you on your behavior, your actions. The number one reason employees leave a company is because of their direct supervisor. We need to change this. And it begins with trust."

Then, out came Robert Cromeans, a man who really needs to introduction! Robert said he is a man with a "vision for tomorrow" and is in the "pursuit of happy business." I like that.

"What if, in the world, we all kept score the same way?" Robert asked of the crowd. "Then, we'd really be powerful. Then, we're comparing apples to apples. I congratulate you for taking time out of your business to be here at the User Group Conference. I promise to make it worth your while."

Harms Millennium User Group Conference 2010 Miami

Later in the session, John Harms, Robert Cromeans and Neil Ducoff broke down the 13 Truth Behaviors.

1) Talk Straight.

2) Demonstrate Respect.

3) Create Transparency.

4) Right Wrongs.

5) Show Loyalty.

6) Deliver Results.

7) Get Better.

8) Confront Reality.

9) Clarify Expectations.

10) Practice Accountability.

11) Listen First.

12) Keep Commitments.

13) Extend Trust.

Then, we broke out into mini-sessions to discuss various topics of interest. I chose to attend the 10 Ways to Drive Service and Retail Sales with Carol Phillips, of Beautee Smarts. We really took a huge focus on retailing in the salon and spa and how to best communicate with your clients throughout the service to drive those numbers.
Harms Millennium User Group Conference 2010 Miami 10 Ways to Drive Service and Retail Sales with Carol Phillips, of Beautee Smarts.

One of the great ideas we pulled from this class was to offer three retail packages for your clients following a service: Basic, Intermediate, and Delux.

If you cluster price products (Basic is, for example, $75 in products. Intermediate, $125. Delux $150), clients will buy. Once you offer three products with a total cost, instead of "this product is $25, this one is $17, this one is, etc etc.," you'll take the confusion and math out of retailing, and simplify things. Just like a carwash. Brilliant!

Then, there was a Group Trust Session, owners in one room and front desk in the other. We all discussed, "How can trust be broken? How do you restore trust?" Our group came up with some excellent ideas.

Harms Millennium User Group Conference 2010 Miami Bonnie Conte, owner of Avalon Salon and Spa in Deerpark, IL, fills out the trust form.

I then attended an Advertising and Marketing education class where owners and managers discussed PR opportunities and how to leverage technology for business success. We got on the topic of the Salon Today 200 competition (applications are up now! Go to!). There are a TON of ST200 winners here. Love that. Really generating some interesting conversation and good business ideas.

Then, we met up again and had a debriefing on the day's events. And wow, I am so glad I took a notebook and a camera-my notebook is completely jam-packed with notes-and the conference has only just begun!

Stay tuned for details on Modern's Facebook page,, and on the blog! I'll be sure to post details on each of these subjects as the days progress. Have to get ready now for "Casino Night"--sure to be a fun night full of networking!

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