ASA’s Detroit chapter recently hosted a one-day seminar that drew over 140 attendees. As impressive as this number sounds, what’s even more remarkable is the behind the scenes work that was done to put together this highly successful event. Why was this event so successful? What tips or strategies can be learned? Let’s take a closer look.
Fantastic turnout of over 140 attendees including assessors, corporate tax agents, ASA designated and advanced certified assessing officers.
ASA’s Detroit chapter has worked closely with the Society’s Real Property Discipline Committee to develop and launch the new Ad Valorem/Mass Appraisal specialty designation program. The chapter has been an important link in promoting the program to local professionals, many of whom are members of local compeer organizations like the Oakland County Association of Assessing Officers (OCAAO). Some chapter members hold membership and leadership roles in these organizations, so a natural synergy exists. Leveraging these relationships, the Detroit chapter has capitalized on the need for locally delivered specialized advanced valuation training to develop and host a series of one-day seminars. Multiple seminars have taken place with each growing in number of attendees.
The most recent seminar was held on November 19, 2013. It featured a specialized advanced valuation topic, a local ASA member expert as instructor and offered three different types of continuing education credits, as well as an option to take an elective one-hour exam for an education achievement certificate. A convenient and low cost venue was selected. Registration fees were capped at $20-30 per person. Marketing efforts included reaching out to local compeer organizations for support. Attendees were made up of ASA chapter members and a large group of local non-member assessors, corporate tax agents and certified assessing officers.
(Left to right) ASA Detroit Chapter President, Ronald E. Prat, ASA, MCAO and Instructor Paul K. Bidwell, ASA, MAI, SRA, CCIM.
In putting together the seminar, organizers first identified an interesting and in demand topic on Industrial Valuation and then lined up a local venue and ASA chapter member expert Paul K. Bidwell, ASA, MAI, SRA, CCIM as instructor, helping to keep expenses to a minimum. Careful attention was made to keep registration fees at an affordable price range. Approvals were then pursued to offer continuing education credits for three different audiences: appraisers, assessors and real estate brokers/salespeople. Portions of the seminar program included a welcome by ASA’s Detroit chapter president, Ronald E. Prat, ASA, MCAO and a brief presentation of ASA’s new Ad Valorem/Mass Appraisal specialty designation program by chapter member, Micheal R. Lohmeier, FASA, MMAO(4) who is also president of one of the co-sponsoring compeer organizations, the Oakland County Association of Assessing Officers (OCAAO).
Promotion Marketing activities included announcements in chapter published communications, e-blasts to members and prospects, and save-the-date reminders. Co-sponsoring relationships with local compeer organizations were pursued, who in turn helped market the event to their membership, helping to provide credibility and inside access to local prospects. Onsite branding at the event included display of ASA’s Detroit chapter’s new logo as well as other ASA branded materials provided by headquarters. Value propositions listed in promotions highlighted the specialized topic, experience of the presenter, ability to earn continuing education credits and the opportunity to receive a special education achievement certificate.
(Left to right) ASA Detroit Chapter President Ronald E. Prat, ASA, MCAO and Oakland County Association of Assessing Officers President Micheal R. Lohmeier, FASA, MMAO(4).
- Know what you’re good at—The Detroit chapter understood and capitalized on their member’s expertise in a highly specialized niche market.
- Understand your market’s needs—Chapter leaders recognized a lack of specialized advanced valuation training in their local market and the need for continuing education credits.
- Leverage existing relationships—Seminar registration fees were kept low due to the utilization of a local ASA chapter member expert and venue.
- Maximize opportunities for synergy—Because of member’s relationships with compeer organizations, partnerships were formed resulting in cost savings and increased promotion.
The seminar also marked the debut of the new ASA Detroit chapter logo. An information table was also provided where ASA branded materials and resources were handed out.
When it comes to hosting a successful chapter event it’s important to know what your chapter’s core competencies are. Equally important is the understanding of your local market’s needs and how best to provide solutions. For many chapters, budget constraints play a huge role in the type of programs or events offered. Potential cost savings may exist by leveraging the expertise or connections of chapter members. Lastly, it’s important for chapters to explore opportunities for partnerships. This not only helps to reduce expenses, but also provides credibility and inside access to targeted prospects.
Editors Note: Building on its success, the Detroit Chapter has already begun looking forward to future offerings including upcoming webinars on industrial valuation (January), site analysis (February) golf course property valuation (February) hotel/motel property valuation (March), residential sales analysis (April) and mass appraisal techniques on commercial/industrial properties (May). Additional details may be viewed at www.appraisers.org.