The 2018 Annual Conference Recap



2018 Annual Conference


Getting everyone together in “sunny” Queensland was the plan.  But even though Mother Nature had other plans for us there wasn’t any dampening the spirits for another fantastic get together of the IBN elite, learning, networking with Suppliers and colleagues as well as catching up with old friends and making new ones over 3-days in our first ever conference held in two-states, New South Wales and Queensland.

Ironically, this wasn’t our first conference held in New South Wales believe it or not?  We had actually held another conference back in 2013 also over the border, albeit at Moama on the Victorian border that time.  There was no doubting that each year our network gets stronger and stronger, the lessons keep coming, we keep learning and the relationships are sturdier than ever before.


DAY 1 - BBQ Get together.

Really getting into the spirit of the local sun, surf, snags and socialising; the IBN Team let their hair down and caught up with new and old friends but someone forgot to tell the weatherman.


With a shortened Day 1 after last year’s social activities due to the conference being held interstate from head office, we all came together for an informal and fun night with the Tweed Heads Surf Lifesaving Club who put on an old-fashioned Aussie Barby for us in their surfboat garage. The camaraderie was made and cemented through old and new friends catching up with each other from all around the IBN territory from Townsville to Mt Gambier to Bairnsdale and Mother Nature provided a backdrop that enlightened and frightened all onlookers that night.

It was fantastic to see many happy places and also getting the newer Members to meet the more established Members and find similar size Builders, or those from similar type of towns where they could now network and learn from each other with ways to build local market share, deal with suppliers and trades as well as keeping tabs with the outside world that can affect their businesses.

We also had a few words to kick off the conference from the Surf Club who enjoyed hosting our Builders and Supplier Partners and Steve Rowarth had donated a sum of $2,500 to the club which we all know for volunteer organisations, is very welcome and goes a long way.  As IBN has strived to do for a number of years now, we are always trying to get behind a local community program and for the Queensland and NSW beaches, there is no stronger community volunteer program than the Surf Lifesaving Club so it seemed a common sense cause to get behind. Throw in the fact that the volunteers put on one beautiful BBQ along with the standard refreshing ales and stubby holders and no one wanted for anything.


DAY 2 - Supplier Showcase

At the request of Members and Suppliers alike, this year we began our formalities with special time with our Supplier Partners


In previous years we had been rushed with speakers going over time and questions being asked of presenters meaning our sponsors of the conferences had missed out on valuable time to be spent with our Members, some of whom travelling from isolated areas and getting their first opportunity to meet with the Suppliers to understand their products and services much better.  So this year we made it a priority to assist all in ensuring our Supplier Partners were given ample time to catch up with each other and make that time quality and not rushed in order to get the best out of each other.

The format worked so well we will make it more standard allowing our Suppliers plenty of time to set up and present in a professional manner and also allowing them to be a part of our conference which is so crucial to the success of the event.  The feedback from both groups was welcome news and it means that in years to come, we can get more representation from Suppliers and Professional Service Providers that make up the overall experience and take home factor prevalent for our annual get together.


Now for the 6th time, IBN presented our last 12-months in pictures much to the delight of the Members and Suppliers alike.


As always we started our conference with the usual inspiring music video compilation of photos taken over the past 12-months to which the audience enjoyed and even shared a few giggles at some of the content and a massive “awwww” at the sight of an extremely cute cavoodle who had visited the Coastland Builders display home earlier in the year.  This has been the way we have been starting our conferences for 6-years now and it’s good to see the faces of those featured as they realise the achievements they’ve done since the last conference and it’s definitely the best part of preparing for each conference trying to get the best photos and working out what showcases the makeup of the great IBN Members and also making sure those who are attending all get featured one way or another.

One of the great little perks we noticed this year which was a good advertisement for the exhibition was actually having the Surreys from Beechworth featuring their fantastic family photo in this presentation as part of their Facebook experience.  This definitely did not go unnoticed by us at IBN head office and we were proud to see that Brenton and Coby were delighted to see themselves on the big screen and we try to do our best to ensure everyone gets a guernsey as IBN is one big family at the end of the day and we don’t want anyone to miss out, so please, keep the photos coming to us throughout the year!


Jon Mailer – Continuous Innovation

At short notice due to illness to our main guest speaker, in stepped Jon Mailer, CEO and Founder of PROTRADE United who gave us an insight into Innovation


Jon founded PROTRADE United several years ago and has become Australia’s leading provider of business services to trade-based and related service industries.  Soon to partner with IBN they provide clients with access to the tools, resources, connections and environment to help Builders run their businesses and this is definitely a synergy with IBN’s strategies.

We were given strategies on Continuous Innovation and how to keep it going.  Broken down to five components: 1) Think 2) Understanding 3) Avoidance 4) Implementation and 5) Discovering, Jon confirmed that success is indeed not a straight line to the top but a messed up squiggle to which all of us could do nothing but agree.

Being innovative is a key to any successful leading business and again, Jon broke down Innovation to 3-levels for us:

à Breakthrough Innovation – NEW TO INDUSTRY – Businesses that change the game – the top of the pyramid and were a great business would be aspiring to be in their chosen industry.  A very good analogy currently would be the IBN Members taking on Adaptable Living and totally revolutionising the local building industry by creating a whole new product in their area.

à Breakout Innovation – NEW TO CATEGORY – Leading the game – probably where IBN Members would want to sit from day to day just trying to be the best builder in town with brand equity

à Incremental Innovation – NEW TO COMPANY – Playing the game – possibly new Builders trying to find their feet.

Disruption was a key to innovation and like a banana, if you’re not ripe then you’re rotting! So at each plateau when you’re in a comfort zone and mature with your product and service then it’s time to shake things up and release new products and / or growth strategies, this is totally how IBN works with their members by constantly releasing new products, plans and supplier products that make us game changers wherever we are.

A most enlightening presentation and much to consider as Jon provided us with examples of product innovators but as we need to bring it home the key message for IBN Members was to embrace the challenges we provide with our own product innovations and have the courage to be the leader in our respective areas.


Owen Watson

This year’s Master of Ceremonies is more than a pretty face.  A founder of Brick Pig Business Coaching, Owen has spent over three decades in senior leadership spending the last 18-years running his own businesses from start-up to multi-million dollar ventures


Owen Watson, Founder of Brick Pick Business Coaching, a business that services the Building Industry, is behind the hugely successful 8-week Business Master Plan for Tradies.  This program creates a roadmap for all trade companies to do life and business successfully. For our conference, we were presented with four different levels of thinking based on a matrix made up from your Comfort Zones and your own Growth Zones which then became derived from actions that were either feeling good or not feeling good and in turn had ramifications that were either externally or internally good outcomes.  Breaking down one of the two things we can control, which are our thoughts and as a consequence, our actions, Owen showed us the four effects of each action:

·       Does it feel good for you?
·       Is it good for you?
·       Is it good for others?
·       Is it good for the greater good?


These simple variables have so many effects on ourselves, our businesses, our family, internal stakeholders, external clients, colleagues and friends alike.  By compartmentalising each action and considering the effects at the end of the day and it was simple training like this that makes Owen such a highly sought after trainer and coach.

To finish off a fantastic presentation, Owen left us with the secret of a happy marriage which was absolute gold for the many couples in the room:

                      TO KEEP YOUR WIFE HAPPY                                                                TO KEEP YOUR HUSBAND HAPPY

1.     She needs to be loved (you need to say it)                                              1. He needs a feed

2.     She needs to be heard                                                                             2. He needs to be appreciated

3.     She needs to be cared for (allowing her to be her best)                           3. Provided he gets sex 2-3 times a week, job done!


Wise words indeed from the great man.

Tim Renwick – Digital Media

Our National Sales & Marketing Manager had one clear message he wanted to get across this year.  As part of his annual marketing report, Tim wanted clarity on how we are expressing ourselves effectively on Facebook and don’t take his word for it. To sum it up in a few words: Sharing is Caring.


Now more than ever, especially for the majority of our Builder Members being in smaller regional towns and cities, the power of social media is crucial to the success of a Builder building and maintaining their brand in order to get on to the shopping list. 

It’s important to know that with the dynamics of digital media that the world of this medium is ever changing and as a result, what may have been good 12-months ago, may now be an antiquated way of effectively communicating with your potential clients and you always need to be up to date with new algorithms and be ahead of your opposition at every chance.  It is because of this even IBN is constantly updating our social media and website programming with a new website being launched during the week of the conference with thanks to the work engaged by Jason Aiossa through our marketing partners 4PI in Bendigo, overseen by Jesse Crawford.

Information and imagery is now clearly the component to build on and any chance to take the time for blogs, photos and more particularly videos is a new law to get right for your business and it is unfortunately also clear to us at IBN head office that all of the work and dollars we put in to preparing this on your behalf is not being taken up by enough Members and whilst this is a free hit for many, more should either be learning to hit the Share’ button or engaging others to assist.

So in order to get our point across we took some case studies based on successful IBN Members and worked out a clear strategy for Members to engage in depending on the size of their business and these are:

Larger Builders or Expanding Businesses – Engage Professional Services

Case Study #1 – Reef Coast and Harshmellow, Townsville Queensland

Whilst not a large builder by any stretch nor in a dynamic market, Rob Rule and Grant Cameron know they are up against it being in a large population with many Builders fighting for the lucrative clients that are very few and far between around North Queensland which has struggled over the past decade.  Not leaving any stone unturned in their quest for getting on the ‘shopping list’ when the time arises, Reef Coast understood their limitations with understanding social media and its applications so engage local effective communications business, Harshmellow, who are specialists in Public Relations and Social Media.

Harshmellow’s brief was simple and effective: Less off-topic filler commentary such as “happy Fri-yay!” and more information on relative topics such as current jobs, tips on building and exposing the quality of work that Reef Coast do. Another key tactic was to involve display homes and current projects underway, featuring IBN preferred Suppliers, Townsville Real Estate trends and news as well as advice on home improvements and styles.

Their up to date analysis on Facebook showed that an emphasis on video, photo and link posts because of algorithm updates meant that Reef Coast were effectively top of the tree when it came to local placement and exposure of their brand throughout the North Queensland area.  In actual fact, whilst Facebook’s algorithm typically served up organic content to less than 5% of any page’s followers, Reef Coast was consistently reaching over 100% of their audience numbers which itself speaks testament to engaging a professional service provider to increase their brand awareness!

Harshmellow provided figures that of the 377 ‘likes’ they currently have, that when Harshmellow had posted different types of posts they had achieved an increase of over 340% for video content, 116% for Photos and only 32% for Links which gives us a guide as to what’s more effective when posting content for both IBN and their Members!

It was this sort of endeavour and follow through from their social media providers, that Reef Coast, a small Builder in a very populous and highly competitive market, were able to win a major National Award for Best Use of Social Media in its first year of acknowledgement for IBN.

We also had pointed out that UBS in Mildura who had, later on, won the National Award for Best Branding for amongst other attributes covered later in the Awards Section, were a growing Building Business and had virtually overnight grew their ‘ likes’ by simply posting a video of their Sales Guru, Lyndsay McAlpine showing how someone could win $500 by sharing their page and tagging as many people as they could.  If we were impressed by Reef Coast’s 300+ ‘ likes’ then the room was blown away when they heard Mark Cleary tell us they had achieved well over 2,500 people following them from one very simple yet extremely effective approach to building their brand!

You don’t need to spend up big to engage the services of a professional social media influencer or service provider.  Through Tim and Aaron in their respective states, we have access to a myriad of service providers at a different budget offering.  Don’t be afraid if you are willing to grow your business significantly and abrogate the responsibility of the social media as like any other role in the company, it can be time-consuming if you don’t know what you’re doing and in the right hands, you can grow exponentially if you want to?

Small to Medium Size Builders – Utilising Staff or Family

Case Study #2 – Coastland Builders, Sunshine Coast, CJ & BJ Surrey Builders, Beechworth and DJ Hogan Builders, Horsham.

In each of these cases it came down to the actual Builder in each of the business covertly participating but not actually having much of a clue as to how good they were going in the social media world.  As Tim likes to plagiarise the greater minds, Confucius was quoted as saying “if you are the smartest guy in the room, you are in the wrong room!”  Many great business leaders have taken this on board and themselves have openly spoken about how they got to where they are by being comfortable in the knowledge that they were usually the dumbest blokes in the room! So with this out there we have always told our Builder Members, generally Males, which you should also feel comfortable knowing there is someone else who can do things way better than you can when it comes to all other matters not concerned with building an awesome house. Whether it be sales, marketing, accounting and building your brand, you are surrounded by great people who you’ve either employed, married or fathered; they all have something to contribute and most probably assist you with building your Business.

With Mitch Butler at Coastland Builders on the sultry Sunshine Coast or the ‘no-shine coast’ as he aptly puts it, is no exception.  We all know Mitch is a magnificent purveyor of construction and if you sit around for five minutes you will in no doubt be aware that he is the greatest Builder in South East Queensland but when it came to his social media, whilst he was having a go and putting it out there, something was missing. Enter Michael Berry who has taken on the role of being the face of Mitch’s quality through his video posts on the behind the scenes of construction and explaining what actually makes Mitch that ‘best builder in SEQ’ in real life. Along with this more videos, unedited for the sake of credibility, asking questions of happy first home buyers who then advocate the services of Coastland Builders and their finance administration and processes which assist alleviating the dramas associated with the big jump into home ownership for renters.  Thoroughly alleviating the fear of risk when choosing an actual small builder in what is definitely a highly competitive local market where Coastland is one of over 40-display homes vying for a tight market.

Coby and Brendan Surrey from the picturesque and photo-worthy Beechworth in the Victorian north-east sub-Alpine region, are virtual ‘newbies’ when it comes to Building.  Coming on board with IBN soon after gaining his Builder’s License, Brendan has taken on board a lot in the short time trying to gain more knowledge on aspects of being a successful Builder such as management, recruiting the right trades, training apprentices and getting out on the tools let alone trying to build his brand and actually pick up clients!  Coby struck gold with the introduction of ‘Cowboy Cooper’ their son, who immediately had an impact on increasing the ‘ likes’ with his gorgeous blonde locks and a knack for getting on the tools and helping out on site. Cooper looks barely old enough to walk yet he’s dressed up in Surrey Builders high-vis and out on the jobs he goes to help out Dad and the apprentice who he has wrapped around his finger!  The love from the locals has been there for all to see with a great little following from the small town but what really impressed IBN was the fact that Coby had indeed taken on IBN posts provided, as their own. 

A simple Conference notification from IBN had now turned in to Surrey Builders’ conference and a little Share’ with some additional commentary told the locals that the Surrey clan were off for professional development thanks to their membership of Australia’s most professional network of Builders and this tells Beechworth that whist they’re young and enthusiastic, doesn’t mean we’re not professional and keeping up with the latest in the building industry which is also an advertisement for Members to also share similar stories when they are attending Professional Development Days.

On top of Coby’s efforts from the year past, throughout the Conference Coby was sharing photos from the conference live and pointing out facets that were assisting them with their business and cementing the fact that CJ & BJ Surrey Builders, Beechworth were a force to be reckoned with in time to come.

The last and by no means the least of the Medium Size Builders and in actual fact, nationally one of our largest, DJ Hogan Builders is a prolific Builder of IBN product and a name very, very highly regarded throughout the whole Wimmera Region thanks to ‘Hoges’’ consistent MBA Award Winning homes, his involvement with the local Wimmera Machinery Field Days and his constant community support. And again, without much know-how from Hoges, his Office Manager, Wendy Aston, had taken a big drum to the Wimmera world of social media and had put together some highly effective ways of telling the Hoges story to the locals and Wendy had done it most professionally and also very savvily.

You see what brought their Facebook to our attention was one post in particular which Tim had said was quite honestly, the most clever post of the year by any IBN Member and it came down to a number of factors.

Firstly we had the great handover photo journal that at any given time, each and every IBN Member MUST make part of their Facebook story and this is a definitely immutable law of successful social media campaigning. Always remember you are delivering what is virtually the biggest single item someone will every purchase in their life and the fear of risk going with the wrong builder plays a big part of anyone’s buying decision and if you can show off that you have happy clients and more particularly, a happy handover, then you are well on your way to being a market leader in your region.

The second component of this particular post that really grabbed our attention, however, was the use of ‘linking’ IBN and local preferred suppliers.  This works in particularly well as the professional shots of the home featured components that wouldn’t have looked out of place on Grand Designs and for anyone interested in where they could go to find the suppliers, all they had to do was click the name of the supplier on any page and they were taken to that supplier’s own facebook page.  This is so effective yet so easily done that IBN will now be encouraging our suppliers to assist us with providing links to our Members so they too may be able to share the same service through their own pages and hopefully cement our brand awareness cooperatively through each other?  A massive pat on the back to Wendy on the job in what I thought, was the best IBN post in 2018!

Again we encourage all IBN Members to have their staff or family talk to your local BDM, Tim in Victoria and Aaron in Queensland, in order to train them on enhancing your Facebook experience and to ensure you are at least sharing IBN posts as a start.

Smaller Builders – Do it yourself

Case Study#3 – CH&L Builders, Melbourne

Whilst Clyde Hulme has only recently acquired his Builder’s License, he has certainly hit the ground running since joining IBN no more than 6-months ago just prior to our Melbourne HIA Home Show back in April.  Clyde and his Business Partner, Li, concentrate on the “get in get out” highly margined renovations around Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula and it comes as no surprise that Clyde and Li have done particularly well out of the Melbourne Home Shows, what is surprising is how quickly he follows up, engages the customer and actually gets his jobs!  We have seen honestly Clyde leave the Melbourne Home Shows in which he works on the stand each and every hour of each and every day, follow up his leads immediately and taken a deposit within a week of the show packing up!  In anyone’s language, this is remarkable and it’s a prime example of a Builder knowing his market well and knowing the touchpoints and how to close them in the sales parlance.  Clyde also takes his photography seriously owning expensive camera bodies as well as the right lenses to be used for portrait and real estate shots and you’d think he’d be all over this social media game like a cheap suit?

Wrong.  Clyde hadn’t got to where he is without asking the right people the right questions and putting his hand up when it needs to be, hence why he joined IBN.

Clyde asked Tim to meet with him at his home office and go over the basics on Facebook so he could get his professional shots and on-site phone shots reaching a preferred audience and soon he had himself a new cover image complete with his memberships, updated work log and now a paid boost that for $30 had him in front his target audience in the suburbs where he had been working.  And not to be surprised, we found out within one week Clyde had a new job ready to go as a result of his paid boost for one of the many intricate renovations he had on the go!  On top of it all Clyde has his gorgeous big dog supervising all of the sites and this lends to his story and adds some fun factor into the posts which in the big city, is hard to do and gives him that personal touch that enhances his brand.

So all IBN Members regardless of size, get the basics right and ask Aaron or Tim to come visit to assist you with basic sharing of IBN blogs, posts and videos which will start you on the right track.

Builders to Follow

As a side note I found myself following as many IBN Builders I could find and it’s interesting to see what everyone is up to.  On one of my meetings post the conference I started making lists for the best builders who did specific things extremely well, obviously, our market leaders will come up more than once but I suggest you follow these dynamic Builders to assist with your own presentations:


                                 Handovers                                            DJ Hogan Builders, Owen Built Houses            

                                First Home Buyers                                 Owen Built Homes

                                Quality Control                                       Reef Coast Constructions, Coastland Builders

                                Staff Introductions                                 JD Construction Mildura

                               Sharing IBN                                           CJ & BJ Surrey Builders

                               Linking Suppliers                                   DJ Hogan Builders

                               Video Content - Interviews                    Coastland Builders

                               Video Content – Professional               Ultimate Building Solutions

                               Trends & Styles                                    Reef Coast Constructions

                               Community Support                              CJ & BJ Surrey Builders

                               Innovation                                             Independent Builders Gippsland

                               Building a Following                             Ultimate Building Solution

HOUZZ                                                                                Second Generation Builders Shepparton

INSTAGRAM                                                                      Ultimate Building Solutions, Owen Built Homes

One last note to finish on our social media presentation. It was noted after the conference that many builders had taken up the challenge of increasing their sharing of IBN posts and we were happy to witness an amazing array of Members having a crack!  Tim has followed up with all Award Winners personally to ensure they are capitalising on their National Awards and even met with some land developers in order to co-promote their IBN Members that have done well.  The land developers and agents are always looking for a good news story so if you have one, don’t be shy to ask your IBN BDM to assist. We are always there for our Members

Darren Nixon, James Hardie Scyon – National James Hardie Scyon Award

What has now become a highly anticipated and sought-after award, James Hardie are providing to one IBN Builder, a $2,500 advertising grant to reward the best use of their product over the past 12-months.

This year was the most partaken event in the Award’s history with heavy promotion during the year in order to get the entries coming in after Rob Hofbauer won the award in 2017 and in turn utilised the grant to set up a sponsorship of local junior cyclists to encourage elite riders in his Alpine Region where the sport is highly participated and visible.

We had 8 finalists in the end and all had an array of James Hardie Cladding and Decking components that qualified for the win showcasing products such as: Stria ™, PrimeLine ® weatherboard, PanelClad® sheet, Matrix™ Cladding, Linea™ Weatherboards, HardieTex™ blue board system, HardiePlank™ weatherboard, HardieFlex™ sheeting, Axon™ Cladding and this year we allowed the new HardieDeck™ decking system to be used which was presented magnificently by Dean Hogan from Horsham.

With entries coming from all states we were showcased the best of the best with finalists such as:

à Crown Constructions from Wangaratta, Victoria

à Mick Egan Builder, Childers, Queensland

à Evoke Building Group, Ballarat, Victoria

à Dean Hogan Builder, Horsham, Victoria

à Owen Built, Warrnambool, Victoria

à Reef Coast Constructions, Townsville Queensland

à OneBuild Homes, Brisbane, Queensland

à MicStar Homes, Gympie, Queensland


Karni Liddell, Ambassador for NDIS

Dual Paralympic Medallist and now a spokesperson for the National Disability Insurance Scheme – NDIS, Karni Liddell has been given quite a few challenges in her lifetime whether she liked it or not.


Karni had established herself as one of Australia’s most successful and respected Paralympic swimmers of our time but that seemed only to be a segway on greater things to come in her life.  Diagnosed at birth with a degenerative muscle wasting disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Karni’s parents had been told by a specialist Doctor that she would not live beyond her youth and would need to be virtually wrapped in cotton wool for her short life, specifically not to participate in sport which could make her condition worse.  Wrong advice to the wrong person in not only Karni, but her parents Terri and Jeff Liddell who resided in Rockhampton.

We were shown that through her youth Karni took on all sorts of challenges available to her that wouldn’t harm her fragile body but wasn’t satisfied with getting the blue ribbon just for participating and through many different endeavours found the one sport that could not only be a safe alternative, was challenging and gave Karni an opportunity to earn a blue ribbon for winning not just having a go and that was swimming.  And as history showed, Karni went on to represent Australia in not one but two Paralympics winning medals at both Atlanta in 1996 and our home event in Sydney in 2000.  You can imagine how proud Terri and Jeff were during these events and Karni emotionally tells us of the time she ran in to her Doctor from Rockhampton whilst giving a speech later in life only to find that her mother had harassed the poor bloke from the time Karni had started competitively swimming and in turn he had changed his tack of dealing with SMA with his patients so in fact, Karni had solely changed the way SMA was combatted by specialists in the field!

Coming through to the take-home factor for the IBN Members was not just overcoming adversity and challenges that life throws in front of you but also seriously taking on the opportunities that come your way in the form of the Adaptable Living range of homes that IBN is successfully releasing through the help of David Watson, Architect, and IBN Members proactively working in with Steve Rowarth to launch both IBN adapted designs and standalone independent designs that are making up the new range of homes.  You could feel the excitement in the room, particularly from our Queensland Members, when Karni announced that over the next 12-months the Queensland Government had AU$7b to spend on NDIS accommodation and at this stage no one had really put their hand up to take it on!  Considering there is ample investment from private sectors and the current rut that is making a lot of Queensland difficult for Builders then it is unquestionably an amazingly attractive product for IBN to be developing and becoming a market leader in providing.

Karni herself had recently bought a new home and discovered the house wasn’t adequate for her new battery driven wheelchair which Karni needed after becoming a Mum.  Karni joked about her walls bearing the brunt of the larger wheelchair and noted the lack of educated builders for the Livable Housing Australia (LHA) guidelines which soon we may see made standard throughout the country regardless so it’s a wonderful opportunity for us to be ahead of the competition and embrace a change that is definitely beneficial for all.  Having visited her wealthy friends’ homes which were quite palatial, Karni noticed that the LHA components seemed to be an unwritten specification in their designs so let’s make it affordable and mass market an exciting new product offering.


Bernadette McClelland, 3 Red Folders

As the author of “The Art of Commercial Conversations”,  we welcomed Bernadette to virtually ‘take us home’ over the last half of the main day as well as hosting the Forum on the final day and providing more intimate sales training to finish up the conference.


Bernadette has most certainly been there and done that and with a successful history of sales, IBN had indeed found one of the best sales trainers and down to earth presenter to provide the very much sought after sales skills that we all need to improve our chances of getting that next client.  After providing an abridged training session earlier in the year in Melbourne, we noticed Bernadette’s techniques were relevant to Builders following up leads from the Melbourne HIA Home Show and several regional Members had followed through with some her tips which resulted in closing a few deals and reducing the time spent on trying to deal with the tyre-kickers and time wasters and turning them in to legitimate clients.




Member Forum

As is now the norm with our conferences we began the last day with the much anticipated Builders Forum and to go along with the strong emphasis on sales we asked our highly successful Sales & Marketing Builder Members and Staff to get up front and honestly answer Q&A by Members and Moderator, Bernadette McClelland.


As National Builder Of The Year, we assume automatically the deserved winner would be a person whom the delegates would like to question as to what they’ve done to get to the top of the tree?  It is definitely no exception that this year we asked the passionate Mitch Butler to join us in the forum along with his Sales Manager, Michael Berry, who had recently embarked on a very honest an open social media campaign that was totally innovative for the Builders social media outlets and totally putting local Builders on the backfoot with his expose on the lesser quality Builders who were ‘racing to the bottom’ as Rob Rule from Townsville would often quote.

Joining them up front was the semi-attached Ingomar Matthes and John Lizars who both have been foundation Members and supporters of the IBN Brand from the very early days.  Being market leaders in their own region where they directly go head to head with two of the largest builders in Australia, as Sales Manager, John never takes a back step and totally owns the market in the display village which for many years has seen him up against the biggest mass marketed volume builders in the nation, and they’re still winning and innovating.  In fact, we look to John for honest and thoughtful feedback on our designs and he has provided floor plans and facades to the IBN Members which have been successful over the years.

Lastly and definitely not least, was Mark Cleary who joined us up front to round out a powerhouse of dynamic Builders, Sales & Marketing Leaders who all proudly wear the IBN Brand out loud. Mark works with UBS in Mildura and is always assisting the head office with marketing ideas, floor plans like John, assists other Members with their marketing and trades and is an all-round great bloke who excels as good as he does on the cricket pitch as he does at the display homes!  It’s interesting to note that Mildura and Bairnsdale would be the two furthest Victorian towns where we are placed yet they are both bookended by similar Sales & Marketing gurus in John Lizars and Mark Cleary and it’s days like today that make the conference an absolute opus of the Network that is in our name. Without Members like this the whole network would break down and we’d lose one of the best benefits of being a Member. 

IBN is very grateful for all of the Members that each year have the courage to get up front and answer the questions placed on them.  Being a non-competitive environment means that there are generally no holds barred and if anything is disagreed with, it is explained and through experience in the real world, these Members can truly assist other newer Members or those looking at doing something different, then talk to your fellow members who have done it all before, even perhaps failed yet have the courage to get back up and have another go.