Are you about to attend your first self storage convention? Or have you gone to several but can’t quite get the knack of networking? Professional self storage events can seem intimidating, but they can be a great way for you to meet other people in the industry and learn about exciting new products and services.
By the way, if you’re looking for a convention, our friends at Inside Self Storage have an excellent list worth checking out any time of the year.
Plenty to Do
You’ll find plenty to do at a self storage convention, and therefore many opportunities to get to know other attendees.
On the first evening there will usually be a reception with food and cocktails. Every day of the event, you’ll find exhibitors, often a hundred or more, sharing new products that you may want to use at your self storage facility. There will also be panels, presentations, and Q&A sessions.
In the evenings, you may find parties in various rooms of the hotel, held by various businesses as a way to mix and mingle.
At many of these events, you’ll be able to meet others and make new business connections.
How to Network
Follow the tips on this list, and you’re bound to make a good impression on others and make some great contacts. Remember, networking is about raising everyone up. You may make new business partners, find great products you can sell in your on-site store, or even find your next great employee.
Make Contacts Early - Get in touch with people in the industry whom you already know before the conference, and ask if they’ll be attending. Ask if they’d like to have lunch or drinks at the event.
Get Business Cards - Order a set of business cards well in advance of the next convention you plan to attend and be ready to hand them out.
Introduce Yourself Professionally - Once you’re at the convention, introduce yourself to people you want to meet with a genuine smile, a firm handshake, and eye contact.
Have Ready Answers - When someone inevitably asks you about your company and what you do there, you don’t want to stumble over your answer. Before the event, come up with a one-sentence description of what you do. Also, know the mission statement for your facility, and have a one-sentence description of your business as well.
Listen - You’re there both to expand your network and to learn, so when you ask a question, listen to the answers. Likewise, when someone asks you about your own self storage experiences, give answers that may be helpful to them.
After the Convention - Once the convention is over, take a day or two to get back into the regular swing of your life, and then follow up with people you met via email.
That sums it up! Conventions can be great fun. At the best, there is always something to do and there are plenty of interesting people to meet. Enjoy your next self storage conference! We hope it helps bolster your business.