In real estate, they say the most important elements are: location, location, location. Similarly, when it comes to business development, S. Robert August, MIRM Fellow, CMP, CSP, MCSP, CAASH, president of Denver-based North Star Synergies, has a mantra of his own:
“The three most important components in business are: contacts, contacts and more contacts,” he says.
Throughout a career spanning more than four decades, August’s zeal for networking has driven much of his success in the business world. It’s also directly led to a record-setting number of new memberships and member retentions within NAHB: Earlier this year, August surpassed a lifetime total of 4,000 Spike credits — more than any other member in the Federation’s history.
A Spike is any member of a local association who recruits and helps retain new members. Spikes accrue points based on their recruitment and retention efforts.
“As an advocate for both recruitment and retention, Robert is a living embodiment of membership,” said Membership Committee Chair Rich Robinson. “His commitment to the success of our Federation is not only exemplary — it’s now legendary. Robert is never afraid to make the ask, knowing that [membership] would offer tremendous benefits to that non-member both personally and professionally.”
Staying focused on membership at such a high level is August’s way of giving back to the industry. He largely credits NAHB and the HBA of Metro Denver for providing him with the opportunities, knowledge and resources that have helped his business thrive.
“My memberships with our local association and NAHB have meant so much to my career,” August said. “For me, it’s not about receiving awards or other acknowledgments, but rather, making countless connections and developing great relationships with industry leaders whom I’ve helped and, in turn, have helped me. That’s what membership is all about — sharing knowledge and leaning on the experiences of a multitude of talented people, all of whom can help each other’s businesses grow.”
August makes a compelling case when touting the benefits of membership. And with a continually expanding professional network over the decades, he says finding prospective members was never the hard part. From his perspective, the biggest challenge has always been “finding those who are willing to roll up their sleeves, volunteer their time and give back” to the industry.
With that in mind, August is always very forthright with prospective members: “I tell people up front that they should only become a member if they truly want to get involved. For those who are, it leads to higher retention and an even more valuable membership experience because the more you give, the more you get in return.”
August acknowledges that member outreach and recruitment might seem daunting to some, but that it doesn’t require you to be a salesperson. He says that by simply staying in touch with people to ask how they are doing and if they need anything can make a big impact.
“Nothing positive or productive in business happens without direct communication,” August said. “I maintain open lines of communication with everyone, whether that’s by [virtual] or in-person meetings, or by phone, email, etc. Now more than ever, it’s critical to stay in touch with friends and colleagues, as well fellow HBA members, former members, prospective members and especially new members.”
August says that despite the current uncertainties around the world and particularly throughout the housing market, his membership ties provide the extra reassurance he needs.
“These are especially challenging times as we all try to learn a new business normal,” August said. “NAHB is what unites our industry locally, nationally and internationally, and I am confident the NAHB leadership will continue to guide us into the future with positive results, as they’ve done consistently throughout the last 75-plus years!”