Getting More out of Your TMC Membership – A Supplier’s Story

(Note: This article originally appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of Fleet Maintenance & Technology, a publication of TMC. John Adami currently serves as a TMC Board Member, and as TMC Chairman of Associates).

I’m drafting this article on my new laptop at a coffee shop at 7:30 p.m. in Bellevue, WA, with cool tunes in the background and a hot caffeinated beverage at my side. I know, right? Total cliché. Here’s the question: Did I just waste $5.00? Or did I get a good return on the money I just handed over to Starbucks?

This same question has to be asked regarding every dollar spent on TMC membership. Were these dollars spent wisely? Will they generate a good return for my employer? That my friend, is totally up to you.

TMC has been around for 50+ years. As with most entities of middle age, it has a distinct personality. To be sure, the positive qualities shine through, but there are a few quirks. To some first-time attendees, TMC is almost bewildering. With several thousand people in attendance, and dozens of events taking place, how do I plan my time? How do I network? How do I leverage my TMC experience to identify new opportunities and grow my business?

Based on talks with TMC veterans and new-comers, here are a few thoughts that might help you reap additional value from your TMC membership. These are just a few humble suggestions; start a conversation at a lunch table in Orlando or Nashville and you are sure to add a few more to the list:

  1. Use the new members’ serviceseven if you’re not a new member. Visit the “Welcome Desk” and talk to “TMC Mentors”; attend a “New Member Reception” and study the “Event Program”. Watch the “TMC Membership Video” online, and join the portal, “TMC Connect”. There is a surprising wealth of information that you may have overlooked that will help familiarize you with the structure of the organization and the format of the meetings.
  2. Plan to attend multiple meetings. The rhythm of a TMC meeting is unique, and it may take a couple turns around the dance floor before you get comfortable. Why? TMC is actually extremely efficient at evaluating issues, then publishing documents that drive the industry. Each meeting is a whirlwind of activities taking place; some in series, many in parallel.
  3. Arrive early and stay late. This thought applies to the week, and to the individual days. Meetings start Sunday evening and carry through Thursday morning. Days start at 7:00 or earlier and can run past 8:00 at night. Don’t cheat yourself … the more events you attend, the more you mix, the more people you meet, and the more you learn.
  4. Don’t Sell Connect! Counterintuitive, right? TMC meetings are not structured for selling. Use TMC to build relationships. Look for opportunities to educate, problem solve, and innovate. Ask yourself how we can move our industry forward, and come alongside people with visions similar to yours. Selling will happen eventually, and by the way … it becomes much easier if you’ve already formed a partnership.
  5. Get Involved. Here’s the thing. TMC is a volunteer organization, and it is growing. Not just in numbers, but in the scope of its mission. Volunteers get a lot of appreciation, and a lot of access. As a secretary, panelist, mentor, etc., you will meet more people and learn more about the industry, period. Getting involved also means you are free to make suggestions that will improve TMC. Don’t hold back!

By the way … the word count is at 621, and the Venti Earl Grey Tea (double cup, one bag, two Splendas) is still slightly warm. Starbucks comes through again! I have every confidence that you will experience the same type of ROI on the time and energy you invest with TMC. Cheers!

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