The Insider's Guide to Being the Best Supplier

Posted By: Jo Pulcini Blog,

Joining the GNAA might be the best thing you ever do for your business. But with so many ways to participate, are you getting the most out of the organization? Below are some “insider” methods of getting the most out of the GNAA.

Demonstrate your reliability through committee work. Feeling frustrated by having a great product but having difficulty getting a chance to prove how great it is? Join a committee and participate! This is a great way to demonstrate your personal integrity and reliability to your clients. Once they see that you get things done in the committee, they are far more likely to respect your product pitch later.

Don’t miss out on casual networking. One thing the GNAA has always done is provide plenty of after-work or lunchtime networking opportunities. These events are the perfect opportunity to get to know your potential clients better and start to build personal relationships with them. One of the best ways to do this is simply to allow your client to speak and for you to listen. Not only will it build trust, but you’ll learn valuable information about their work priorities and needs. There is no better opportunity to do this than in a celebratory environment such as Election Night, Beer Butts and BBQ, or Gala.

Ads and sponsorships. On its surface, ads and sponsorships are an obvious way to create visibility. But beneath the surface, they are engendering goodwill in a way that is unique to a professional association. For example, if you pay for advertising on Facebook, you will get visibility, but that is all you gain. Your money will not create goodwill, it’s simply an exchange of cash for visibility. But if you sponsor a lunch, you get the visibility and the gratitude of the committee organizers and attendees. If you place an ad in News and Events, you are also gaining the respect and goodwill of the committee members. The education sponsorship you provide today will build goodwill with the decision-makers of the near future! Every ad or sponsorship dollar you spend at the GNAA is generating goodwill among your peers.

Be strategic. One of the biggest mistakes suppliers make is taking a random “shotgun” approach to how they participate in the GNAA. If you are large enough to have a marketing person and a sales rep, they should be in communication with the GNAA. If your target clients are maintenance departments, then direct your efforts toward the corners of the GNAA where maintenance managers go. The most successful suppliers critically think as a team about how best to participate in the organization.

Also, do not hesitate to ask your fellow suppliers and staff for advice. We are all invested in your long-term success. We are happy to give our honest assessment of how best for you to spend your time and resources. The GNAA has hundreds of years of collective experience – tap into it!

Take advantage of education and information. Depending on your service, there are many opportunities to have you and your team grow professionally. These classes are always taught by industry experts and veterans. The best part is these education courses are often better and less expensive than many of the conventional “corporate educational” companies out there.

Beyond the classes, take the time to read through the directory and quarterly market survey. The Nashville market is complex, and these reports are clear and concise. Not only does this information demystify the market, but it also arms you with the ability to better communicate with property managers. A regional manager will be more impressed with a supplier who has taken the time to get to know their market. If you call on an apartment community, you can learn much about them by simply looking at their entry in the directory and seeing their information on the Market Survey and GIS section of the website. Seriously, use the GIS tool! It’s amazing!

As a supplier, our job is to make our clients’ lives easier. In turn, a great way to make your life easier is to take full advantage of all the benefits of membership.