Even though the 95th Annual California Moving & Storage Association (CMSA) Convention was more than a week ago, I’m still coming down from all the great experiences and even greater folks I had the opportunity to meet.
Being new to the moving industry and to trade shows/conventions in general, I wasn’t sure what to expect as a sales guy and first-time exhibitor. With “booth setup” instructions in one hand and a Mac Book Air in the other – I, along side Mark (our Product Manager) who attended with me, decided to embrace CMSA’s theme of “exiting the comfort zone.”
Steve, Renee and the CMSA team did an excellent job of packing the conference with great sessions and leaving an optimistic impression among attendees. Now is a great time in moving to try new things and bring a renewed energy to the industry. To take risks and stand out from the crowd (especially those pesky bandits) and to improve the moving process.
Heck, that’s a huge part of why we started MCR and made the transition from the real estate business. Because we wanted to work with great folks to help move the industry forward. It was great to see such a concentrated effort on the part of industry leaders to innovate. We saw this too at the recent AMSA Conference we attended in March.
Looking back, the biggest takeaway I have from the Convention was learning how CMSA (and all the terrific movers that call themselves its members) is just one big family.
I remember setting up the booth and looking across the room at the sea of Sport Coats, and realizing that these were husbands, wives, long-time business partners and former colleagues. They hugged and laughed and called each other by nicknames. This wasn’t a random gathering, there were genuine companions in the room.
In my day job, I talk to movers all day on the phone so I was eager to meet them face-to-face and learn more about who they are and what matters to them. After spending a few days with the CMSA crew, I learned a lot and hopefully created great relationships.
Here are some of my favorite moments and notable conversations:
- “Bernie” or Bernadette Lance of NMS Moving Systems was the first person to stop by the booth and throughout the trip became the person I found myself chatting with about everything from business to our mutual admiration of the beach.
- Dave Rosenberg of Priority Moving, gave me a firm smile and a handshake and quickly informed me that he’d been in sales for many years. Anyone great at sales recognizes and welcomes the candor of another salesman. I politely accepted the analytical questions and “leg-pullers” Dave asked. With arms crossed and eyes laser focused on my booth, Dave asked the trickiest question in sales, “Why?” I answered confidently [and scripted]. Mid-sentence was cheerfully interrupted by his second question… “Why?” That time, I summed it up in a sentence. I noticed him cracking a smile and he politely asked “How?” We laughed, he gave me his business card and a few pointers about my pitch, I shook his hand and he continued along the exhibitors.
- Fred Wallace of One Big Man One Big Truck, pulling up a chair to our booth, leaning back in his chair and asking, “What is MovingCompanyReviews.com exactly?” He laughed and joked about how he had to “take a seat” to view our one minute video explaining our business model. Fred later won a $50 Gift Card our company donated for the door prizes. He greeted me later that night at the beachside dinner with a huge smile on his face saying how he got a massage with the Gift Card. It was awesome!
- Talking CMSA Cookbook Recipes with Megan and Sean Andersen of Andersen Van & Storage.
- Bobbing for apples with Linda Bauer Darr of AMSA.
All of these moments, and really all the experiences I had from the Convention and witnessed other attendees having, helped me understand exactly how hard working, fun and united the moving community of the CMSA truly is. Thanks for letting us be a part of it!