June 24, 2013

"The Value of an Active Builder"

IThe last issue of Association Maximization discussed the value of an active associate member (click here to read). The question some would have is how do these associates become and maintain being active? When first joining the home builders association (HBA), most new associates focus their attention of gaining business. Not the opportunity for business but immediate business, as in tomorrow, if not today. In fact, the number #1 reason first year associate members do not renew is because "I didn't receive business!" 
If these sales representatives (even owners of companies are sales representatives) were true professionals they would understand that nothing is guaranteed, absolutely nothing. Well, other than death and taxes, except neither one of those are particularly pleasant. The right place at the right time always determines successful business encounters, always. But two sayings come to mind for those associates who failed to understand the sales success/association involvement theory; "You have to be in it to win it" and "out of sight, out of mind."

Fact #1: the financial strength of the HBA is dependent upon the associates time and treasure with 66% of all dues revenue coming from associates and over 90% of all non dues revenue coming from associates as well.

The question above asks "how do these associates become and maintain being active?"

Fact #2: "HBA active builders" is the answer because active builders
  •  come to HBA general membership meetings.
  • are involved on the legislative, legal and political committees that strengthen our overall mission of building industry protection and growth.
  • engage associate members in the construction process.
  • Understand "The Local HBA Cycle for Success." (click here)
  • take leadership roles within the HBA; committee chairmanship, board seat, join the officers ladder, president. 
  • mentor the next generation of builder members 
  • teach associate members about the value of the HBA.
These bullet points, and I'm sure you could come up with more, are the key to a healthy HBA. Active builders are the ones who uncover the hidden benefits for associates which helps to retain their associate membership. By having builders attend general membership meetings it shows the strength of the organization. When builders become active in committees and board meetings the associates become more involved. As the associates become more involved they gain a better sense of the real purpose of the HBA (protection and growth of building) and as time moves forward relationships between builder and associate are sure to blossom (each associate members should understand, however, that they are not the only associate providing goods or services and it does take time to prove themselves)

Active builders should be applauded for their efforts. The past several years in a housing "downturn" with continued lending obstacles and appraisers still not understanding their role in a full recovery has had the builder not feeling very social, and rightfully so. It hasn't been any easier for the associates, we understand completely. But there are builders, in local HBAs across the country, who never walked away from their association or leadership. These builders were/are the beacon for associates, a beacon that drew in the associates time and treasure which helped so many locals survive the past several years. 

The active builders provide great mentoring to builders who have HBA leadership potential by showing them the way as well. Quite a few builders are hesitant in becoming involved in leadership roles but the active builders have a "been there" perspective that sheds so much positive light on the uncertainties of commitment.

Active builders create a solid and stable foundation for our association. As those in the building industry would understand, without a solid and stable foundation, the house collapses. Just one builder a month becoming active in his/her local brings so much value. Like in anything we do in our association, we receive active participation from less than 20% (I'm being kind) from our overall membership. 
The key to the HBA success, the key that opens the door for associates and their two-thirds of dues revenue and 90%+ non dues revenue continuing in their efforts, are the active builders. That should be the focus in helping the locals thrive; how to attract more builders to become engaged. The more active builders you have the brighter the beacon becomes leading to more associates finding their way.

submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP

June 17, 2013

"The Value of an Active Associate Member"

ACTIVE associate members!
Active Associate Members are the volunteers that have decided to help the HBA  through volunteerism and/or financial support. Active associates plan and prepare for the home builders associations (HBA) much needed net-profit generating events, they make the member outreach for sponsorships, member retention and recruitment, support HBA events through attendance and have taken a proactive stance in educating their co-workers and employers to the HBA’s value to the home builder. There are a lot of associates who are members, but only 10-20% takes an active role in HBA support. If you go to a past article regarding the home building cycle of life (click here), you could see why active associates are indispensable to our association/industry. Home builders who seek out and utilize the active associates are the ones who are in this industry for the long haul.
Active associates care about the home builders’ concerns, and risks, and want to secure their own company’s business interests as well. The value of an active associate can not be measured in black and white, unless you are looking at your HBA’s budget. But if you believe in the value of the HBA, you can’t ignore the reasons why the HBA is financially healthy, vibrant and relevant. Active associate members are volunteers that balance that fine line between association initiatives and their employment initiatives. And the active associates’ industry knowledge, gained by being involved, makes them more than just a sales rep; it makes them a valuable trade partner to the home builder and an invaluable asset to their employer!
What better way to thank those active associates by giving them the opportunities to help with their continued employment. "Do Business with a Member" is a slogan from NAHB that state and local HBAs have utilized in directories or other HBA publications. But it is so much more than a slogan; it should be gospel. Let’s turn the knob up further; "Do Business with An ACTIVE member," starting with active associates.

We need to support those active associate members and give them thanks. As financially difficult as times were over the past several years, these members did not abandon the HBA. Their value is their loyalty, loyalty to the HBA and home building industry as well as the continued protection for all of our careers, builder and associate.
The “Do Business with An Active Associate Member” philosophy can only help engage dormant members to become engaged and increase the power of the HBA’s protection of the home building industry. That protection helps all associates with the current customers. The HBA gives you opportunities for business and to rise above your competitors by being active. I can only hope and encourage every member to keep appreciating those active associates or start to appreciate their efforts.  

While this may only be June, September will be here before you know it. September is "Associate Appreciation Month," so declared by NAHB and many locals and states HBAs.  Maybe it should not have to be declared and is the mindset all year round.
Thank you to all the active associate members for giving me the opportunity to have a career in the home building industry.

Next week: The value of an active builder

Submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP

June 10, 2013

"A Week of Smiles!"

The NAHB Spring Board Meeting of 2013 was, in two words; smiling faces!

In multiple words? Let's talk about those smiling faces (no, not the song, you baby boomers). The past 5 spring board meetings have been like attending a wake with all due respect to those who tried their best to lighten the mood. Somber was the general tone, with dark skies never clearing and members looking for ANY indication of even the slightest bit of good news. It even seemed like NAHB's Chief Economist Dr. David Crowe threw out all of his pink ties (wears pink when giving positive outlook). 

This past week? I saw optimism. I felt optimism. I actually saw builder members smiling and feeling pretty good about this long anticipated recovery. And if builders are happy, associates are happy! Yes, we have achieved smiling faces.

The week started with the senior officer meetings, led by North Carolina's very own Rick Judson, NAHB's Chairman of the Board. National leadership had their meetings of state representatives and the National Area/Associate Chairmen (NACs) followed by the Executive board meeting, comprising the senior officers, state Reps, NACs, committee chairmen, past presidents/chairmen and other leaders of various NAHB entities. Good meetings? Smiling faces!

Wednesday saw the building industry, builders, associates and HBA staff, make Hill visits in our nation's capital to discuss OUR future, meaning not just those in attendance but for those who could not attend. The reports from the legislative visits? Smiling faces!

Afterwards, the week concluded with subcommittee meetings (Thursday), committee meetings (Friday), area caucuses and the NAHB Spring Board Meeting 2013 (Saturday, my birthday, and yes I am still accepting gifts). Those meetings had and end result of....... smiling faces!

The evening hours witnessed many social events and the camaraderie levels were high. What does this all mean for those who didn't attend? It means you should have a smiling face as well because I truly believe our talked about recovery is real. Sure there will be bumps and pot holes along that recovery road but it sure will beat the high levels of stress we all have felt. 

Happy days may be arriving in a very short time. How do I know? Dr, Crowe and HIS smiling face.


Some information for your information.

 Highlighting a Nation of Builders (click here)

More Than 750 Builders Discuss Housing Issues in Hill Visits - 6/5/2013 (click here)

Builders Urge Congress to Pursue Pro-Housing Policies to Spur Job and Economic Growth - 6/4/2013 (click here)

Future Board of Directors Meetings & Legislative Conference (click here)

 2013 Spring Board of Directors Meeting Materials (click here)

Submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP