Daydream Believer

I had many childhood dreams. One was to fall in love at a sleep-away summer camp.

I used to be fixated on the idea of spending two months on a lake somewhere in Maine doing arts and crafts, water-skiing to my heart’s content and having a respectable summer fling with a 14-year-old boy most likely named Ethan or Cory. We would bond over our shared love of water sports, spend the summer flirting under the stars and have our first kiss while listening to Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be.”

If I’m being perfectly honest, I’m 27 and this all still sounds amazing.

There's something about summer camp, in particular, that takes on an out-of-this-world nostalgia when you’re a grown-up. Perhaps it’s not so much about the camp itself, but the time it harkens back to—before iPhones and iPads and constant connectivity. Also before the devastating, adult realization that Ethans and Corys never go for the “athletic” girls.

According to Patty Morgan Seager, presenter of Feb. 12’s Webinar Wednesday, “Strategies to Out-Sell Your Competitors,” one California camp is playing up on this trend by offering adults a four-day summer camp free from the distractions of technology and everyday adulthood. Cleverly called “Camp Grounded,” the 1970s Boy Scout-style camp is technology free, and includes activities such as singing around the campfire and making friendship bracelets. Sign.Me.Up.

The camp encourages adults to focus on one of Morgan Seager’s strategies to outshine the competition—practicing “presentology” by being present in the moment with those around you.

Executives who’ve attended the camp said although it was initially challenging, they soon found the technology-free environment to be incredibly conducive to creativity. Morgan Seager says we all crave a human element and often forget to clear away the digital clutter to focus on one task at a time.

Like unattainable boys named Ethan.

Following are three other strategies to out-sell your competitors:

1. Avoid swimming in the sea of sameness. What makes you different from your competitor? What are your signature items? What are you known for—and more importantly, what do you want to be known for? 

These are all questions that Morgan Seager says each company must ask themselves. Instead of being “me too,” it’s time to find the thing you or your company does that is superior and distinctive in the eyes of your future and current residents.

I, for example, can daydream a summer camp romance like no other.

2. Status quo, no more! Is each member of your leasing team standing up, walking around their desks and greeting each prospective resident with a handshake and a smile? If not, it’s time to start.

3. Legendary Experience. Customers remember experiences that are both personable and memorable. 

I once rode a bus from New York City to D.C. with a driver who used phrases like “be a sweetie, wipe the seatie” when explaining bus bathroom etiquette. If we were at Camp Grounded together, I SO would have gone after him over Ethan.

Learn more about Webinar Wednesdays (hosted by NAAEI, Apartment All Stars and Multifamily Insiders), and register for February 26th’s “Reputation Overload” today.

Lauren Boston is NAA’s Staff Writer and Manager of Public Relations. Unsurprisingly, she writes a lot—most often for units Magazine and as a weekly blogger for APTly Spoken. She enjoys making people laugh, sharing embarrassing childhood stories and being the (self-proclaimed) Voice of the Apartment Industry. She welcomes feedback, unless it’s negative (in which case, please keep it to yourself).