SSAA 2016 Melbourne Convention Wrap up
The Park Hyatt Hotel in East Melbourne was a popular choice with delegates for the 2016 Convention with a mix of Victorian and modern architecture the hotel overlooks St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Fitzroy Gardens and was an ideal setting for the following 3 days of education, information and networking.
Pre-convention activities commenced bright and early with three (3) optional concurrent sessions being made available to delegates which included software training with the crew from Storman. Led by Ben Williams with presentations on self storage marketing by Andy Pudmenzky, the guys stepped their clients through modernising a storer’s self storage experience. The ever popular Simone Hill, SSAA Legal Adviser covered legal topics from the basic storage agreements through to recent changes in Australian Consumer Law whilst Joe Doyle’s engaging presentation style left no doubt in the minds of his audience that to excel in customer service can make for an easier path to great success.
An initiative identified by the Board in late 2015 was successfully delivered as part of the pre-convention program – Orientation Day or “O” Day. The intended strategy was to attract new members to the SSAA, as well as facilitating access to potential new clients for the service members. The morning information sessions were a series of short presentations delivered by some of the service members on the business of self storage and included real estate and valuations, construction and expansion, security, ancillary services, insurance and legal. Following the networking lunch, the participants were escorted on a facility tour of Storage King Northcote hosted on site by Mark Greig and Hans Pearson of StoreLocal. Upon return to the Trade Show the participants spent many hours in one-on-one conversations learning about the products on offer.
Another new initiative by the Board following feedback from previous conventions has been introduced as a regular feature - “First Timers and Solo Attendees’ Session” hosted by the CEO and proved to be a valuable experience for all who attended.
One of the most popular features every year at Convention is the facility tours and this year was no exception. On board the three 50-seat coaches delegates wound their way through Melbourne traffic to visit Fort Knox Keysborough, Wilson Storage Rowville and Kennards Self Storage at Huntingdale.
A successful conclusion to the day the Tradeshow in the Spotlight hosted a huge gathering bringing together all of the delegates for the official opening of the Tradeshow.
The SSAA Chairman, Guy Wilson officially opened the 2016 Convention in the Grand Ballroom of the Park Hyatt Hotel.
Saul Eslake delivered an opening keynote address with a detailed overview of the world economy and the direct impact that global decisions made elsewhere have on Australia and New Zealand. He commented on interest rates, debt, trade, housing construction, population growth, the housing markets and overall consumer sentiment supported by graphs and charts with comparative data. The data highlighted the issues that affect storers, their lifestyles and spending habits and ultimately their need for self storage.
Personality Based Sales business owner, Shirley McKinnon entertained and educated the delegates about their own personalities and those of their potential customers. How does a “logic” communicate with a “fun” personality? Can a “action” personality relate successfully to a “feeling” customer? One of the delegates, David Roberts of Willunga Storage, South Australia has already reaped the rewards of introducing some of these simple techniques into his everyday storage operations.
Peter Snell from IPSOS Business Consulting shared Asian market data and presented the market trends across the Australasian region.
Michelle Stanton’s presentation on being “In the Zone” - a place where individuals perform at their peak captivated the delegates in the room. Her professional, entertaining and clear delivery won applause and many of the delegates commented that Michelle was one of the best speakers they heard for some time.
Chris Catto’s fast paced session of “working smarter, not harder” delivered the important messages of the 3 V’s of marketing – venue, vehicle and value; leveraging the secret of influence and riding the technology tidal wave.
Kevin Kosky, from ‘Big Hat Professional Services’ led an entertaining and enthusiastic session on phone sales and the process from open to close. Kevin teaches a “Head, Heart, Hand” selling process where your Heart equals rapport, Head equals knowledge and Hand equals the close. With occasional interactive roleplays, Kevin had the audience willingly participating and calling out phone introductions in unison. Kevin’s lively and informative session came to a close with him dividing the room in to 3 – Heart, Head and Hand - pulling out a harmonica and having each section chant their nominated part while he played a tune. Kevin certainly left a lasting impression on everyone and there was no doubt his selling process stuck in many minds to take back and put in use.
A panel led by David Blackwell with Malcolm Collins, Jonathan Layton, Matt Walsh and Mark Bateman discussed Self Storage in Today’s Australasian Market and provided plenty of opportunity for audience participation.
Optimising your online presence with David Warwick offered practical and quite simple tips, mostly of no charge or at the very least low cost. He impressed upon his audience the need to own their local online region.
The Australian Federal Police provided valuable tips on Avoiding Crime in Self Storage. Australian Border Security’s demonstration when the sniffer dog didn’t quite go to plan when the black ladrador did not detecting Sally Steel’s stash of drugs.
The Service Members in the Trade Show were kept busy with quality inquiries throughout the Convention.
Wednesday concluded with some delegates joining industry leaders Richard Whalan, Sam Kennard, Peter Greer, Michael Tate, Jon Perrins and Guy Wilson for dinner and discussion at various venues in the Melbourne CBD.
Thursday proceedings began with the Annual General Meeting over breakfast in the Ballroom, chaired by Guy Wilson. The new Board for 2016/17 was announced, the Chair and CEO reports were delivered and the audited financial report was tabled. With the meeting closed all delegates posed for the now annual “group photograph”.
The first session following the AGM was a self storage industry comparison between Europe and Australia delivered by former SSAA CEO Rennie Schafer. His high energy presentation style left no doubt in the minds of the audience as to the extremely high quality of new developments in Europe as he described the differences across the various regions of Europe.
Holly Ransom examined the elements of leading intergenerational change and how to successfully embed those change initiatives. There are a wide range of digital aids that will assist the new generation to innovate and transform business into the future. Holly also encouraged delegates to look outwards and take a global view.
An informative session with Amanda Gome took the audience on Amanda’s own personal journey to demonstrate the importance of engaging your customers online and the impact the smart phone has had on consumer behaviour.
Michael Langhammer and Steven O’Neill of Pitcher Partners presented to delegates on a number of issues facing owner managed self storage facilities covering topics from business structure, budget preparation, live up-to-the minute reporting, asset protection and succession planning. Both Michael and Steven provided insight into the better practices used within the industry to ensure accurate and timely reporting, allowing for the user of this information to make better decisions and assist in the growing their operations.
Simone Hill took members through the best practice procedure for dealing with default storers. Probably the least favourite aspect for a business, however Simone demonstrated how simple the process can be if we have done everything correct from the moment the customer first signed up. The default process was clearly explained. Her key takeaway message was “get your ducks in a row and check, check, check again”, before you begin the process to ensure you cannot be held liable for incorrect procedure.
Nadine Champion – Succeeding Despite Doubt, Fear and Pain followed Nadine’s heart-warming life journey where she conquered immense personal challenges despite the physical pain she endured. Her martial arts demonstration with an audience member helped prove that anyone can overcome fear as he smashed a block of wood in half with his bare hand.
The formal part of the Convention was closed by the CEO Susan Phillips with the announcement of the location for the 2017 Summit in Queenstown New Zealand. The Ballroom was then transformed for the Gala Awards Ceremony sponsored by AON Risk Services. Dinner guests enjoyed fine food and wine and the winners of the 8 categories of awards were announced. There was plenty of dancing, much conversation and plenty of laughter as friends and colleagues celebrated the 2016 Convention.