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Building business over breakfast

|  July 24, 2018
Photo: Ray Johnson

Johnson Pest Control employees help set up the company’s Coffee Talk presentations. Pictured from left, are John Deyo, Michael Barrett, Donna Coker, Ray Johnson, Lori Johnson, Cody Williams and Darrell Bledsoe. Photo: Ray Johnson/Johnson Pest Control

For the past 12 years or so, Johnson Pest Control has been a sponsor of the monthly Coffee Talk put on by the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce. It’s a breakfast meeting that started out as a small group of folks networking with one another, and has grown to be so popular that companies have to sign up almost a year in advance to sponsor and provide the breakfast — and more importantly, the coffee — for their month. The meeting sponsor has the floor for a good 30 minutes, and can highlight their business and services or product offerings. It is such a successful meeting that if you’re anybody in business in our area, you will not miss it. The number of attendees keeps climbing to well over 150 or more each month.

This year, we were the April Coffee Talk sponsor. We have always signed up to sponsor a meeting in the spring, to keep our business at the forefront of the oncoming pest season. I am grateful for my employees, who step up to help and plan each time. We especially like to make our Coffee Talk meeting educational and fun for everyone who attends.

Fun is the key to a successful Coffee Talk. I have sat through programs where folks were so bored they fell asleep during the meeting — or worse, they left early. Let’s just say if you fall asleep during a Johnson Pest Control Coffee Talk, you must be dead.

How we do it

Before our meeting begins, we place on every table a nice new Johnson Pest Control flyswatter, along with a brochure about our service offerings. Once everyone settles in, I walk to the lectern and turn on a PowerPoint slide thanking our local Starbucks store — which, by the way, has helped me do this from the very start. I then announce we are going to have fun and we’re fixing to play a little game.

“Hint, the flyswatter is the key to having fun today,” I add, and get a resounding chorus of THWACK in response.

Anyone who has attended a Johnson Pest Control Coffee Talk before knows that slapping the flyswatters on the tables is part of our audience participation. And boy, do they enjoy the chance to slap their flyswatters on the tables and make a racket! It’s almost like each table is competing to see who can do it the loudest. Everyone has a blast, and I’ve yet to see one person fall asleep.

Donna Coker, my operations manager, leads the game segment of the presentation. She always does a marvelous job getting everyone engaged and excited. We play a game called “Who am I” that features a large color photo of a pest at each table; no table has the same pest. As my slide presentation reveals three clues about the pest, you can hear the sound of slapping flyswatters all over the room. People are engaged and having fun as the clues unfold and they guess their pest.

Each year is a little different, but we always keep Coffee Talk fun. It pleases me to hear so many folks come up to us and let us know they think we always have the very best Coffee Talk presentation every year.

It keeps us on our toes to come up with something different for Coffee Talk. But it also keeps us in the limelight within our community and top of mind when it comes to pest control. It’s one of the best things we do each year.

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1 Comment on "Building business over breakfast"

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  1. Ray Johnson is a great pest control marketing man. He has had many groundbreaking ideas for presenting a very user friendly business to potential new pest control customers. If I owned a pest control business today, Ray Johnson would be someone I would look to as mentor.