NAA Then and Now—Always be Human

200412016 001 300x221 NAA Then and Now—Always be HumanMy blog has almost become a journal that charts thoughts and processes and changes I have been going through and what The Training Factor has been facing each day.  Last week I had the privilege of being on Mike Whaling’s BlogTalkRadio show.  Mike owns a company called 30Lines and is a major asset to our industry and has some amazing services I encourage you to check out.  Part of the conversation revolved around what took place at the National Apartment Association conference in New Orleans this past June.  I checked back on one of my blogs that I wrote about for last year’s NAA conference.  That conference was kind of my entrance on to the national scene of the multifamily industry.  I was intrigued by the methods that vendors were taking towards those who walked by the booth.  Below is a partial quote of some of my thoughts:

Whether its trade shows or it’s making phone calls and emails, in order to make that positive connection a relationship has to be formed!  Turn yourself into the Bellagio.  Get people talking about you, give them something to talk about, talk to them, give them a reason to pick up the phone and stop by your booth.  Your company image should be important to you.  Your professional image should be important to you.  Stop the card flicking.

It was therapeutic to reread that post and compare it to this year’s event.  Having a year under my belt on the national scene it was encouraging to see the results of just being human.  I had very little overall results at last year’s event as a result of being new and still trying to sort out what my process was going to be.  As I mentioned in the Radio Show, there was a big difference this year.  I was amazed and very grateful for the amount of people who were looking for our booth and who were looking to meet the person behind the blogs, tweets, content posts etc.  This really just made the conversation so much easier.  Heather Blume has a nice recap of NAA this year and also some points to ponder on how vendors can engage those who are walking the trade show floor.  Please check out her article here

The bottom line for me jumps back to the title of this post.  Just be human and put yourself in the other person’s shoes for a minute.  I had a bond and investment company cold call me the other day.  After telling me where they were located and who they were, the very next item he pitched to me was: “We have this xyz bond available now…would you like to invest today?”  I was shocked!  I thought to myself, this guy does not know me, he has no connection with me, but he wants me to give up my money over the phone just because he called.  So for us industry partners the message I give is strong.  It matters not what value we see in our services, or how much savings it will bring or potential ROI there is.  The bottom line is someone has to cut a check..period..The end!  Realizing that should encourage us to step out of our sales zone and understand what the expression “industry partner” really means.  Getting past the stigma of being cold and heartless salespeople will be a challenge since we ourselves and many others have been taken for a ride in the past and there are those who continue to use hard closing tactics in order to just get the sale and move on.  That is not what an industry partner does.  An industry partner is concerned with finding the right fit for a company and is concerned about the people they deal with.

What kind of networking experiences did you have at NAA or any other recent conference that you would like to share?  Please feel free to comment below and if you see value in these blog posts, please be so kind and subscribe above.

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  • Mike Whaling

    First, thanks for the kind words about 30 Lines. I appreciate that more than you know.

    Thanks again for taking the time to join us on the show last week — I really got a lot out of the conversation, and this post reiterates a lot of the points you made about using your online presence to build relationships with people before you ever meet them at an event like the NAA conference. (And you're always welcome to join us on the show anytime you like!)

    When you think about it, there's very little reason to make a completely cold call today. Whether it's networking with someone through LinkedIn, or commenting on their blog, or getting into a conversation with someone on Twitter, it's easier than ever to make a personal connection with someone … long before you ever meet them in person. Your readers should take note of everything you're doing to grow TTF — you're truly walking the walk.

  • Jonathan Saar

    Mr Mike thanks for the standing invitation for the show. My passion about posting this blog had a lot to do with more recent experiences and observations. I hate the stigma attached to vendors and basically many shoot themselves in the foot. I agree with you completely that there is very little reason to use old school cold calling. The expression itself speaks volumes for what it actually does to build a relationship. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Judy Helfand

    I really came by here today to see how you would recap NAA. I know very little about what you do, but I take it is about property management for multi-family complexes. It occurred to me that while I do not currently live in a multi-family complex, I have experienced that lifestyle. I kind of like it. I like being able to call maintenance! In fact, 33 years ago my husband and I met in a pretty famous complex. Oakwood Garden Apartments Toluca Lake-Hollywood Hills CA. Now this is part of their temporary housing/corporate facilities. In 1977 I paid $305 per month for a large one bedroom, unfurnished, which included utilites (sans phone). Now it would be $3300 per month.
    Here is what I know, good property management from the moment you walk into the leasing/renting office is critical. I had very good experince at Oakwood, met wonderful people, movie stars, actors, musicians, lifelong friends…and also good experience at Park Newport in Newport Beach, CA.
    I owned and operated a country inn for almost 12 years in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, so I appreciate good property management.
    I hope you will write a side post about your AMTRAK trip to New Orleans.


  • Jonathan Saar

    Good morning Judy,
    Thank you so much for your well thought out comment. You are correct about what industry I am in. I love your thought about first impressions in property management. That is part of what my company educates property management companies about. I may still write something about Amtrak but probably have to do it on a personal blog. It was a cool experience for sure. Hope you are having a wonderful week!