Ever wanted to know more about the brilliant minds behind storEDGE? Well, you’re in luck. I’ve recently decided to shine the light on the people that make storEDGE products great: the team!
One of our best and brightest works out of a basement office right here at our Westwood, Kansas headquarters. While he's proven his confidence and determination through his role in Business Development, Matt Friederich is best known around the office for being able to effortlessly strike up a conversation with anyone, at any time. Some people are just born to be salesmen, and Matt (or Freddy, as we like to call him) is one of them.
Matt joined the storEDGE team five years ago, and since then he’s been putting his big personality to work improving our sales processes and building relationships with self storage operators all over the country. His passion and zest for life is contagious, and he knows how to work a room well enough to give any politician a run for his money, hence his other nickname: The Mayor of Self Storage.
Name: Matt Friederich
Started at storEDGE: July 2011
My current role at storEDGE involves a little bit of everything. My day is split between prospecting and working with larger operators, managing our sales team, and providing industry-related feedback to marketing and engineering. I’m also the office’s resident emergency custodian.
I really enjoy meeting with clients and forming relationships with people in the industry. We have a great product with top of the line engineering, marketing, and support, and because of that, it doesn’t feel like selling. I’m just the middleman that connects people in the industry with the tools they need. I get to meet so many smart, interesting people in the industry. I have people come up to me at trade shows who I’ve known for five years, and it’s amazing to hear their stories about how much their storEDGE website or the storEDGE software has done for them. It’s sounds totally Hallmark-y, but I really mean it. It’s really cool. If I was selling cars, people would think, “oh, he’s just trying to get my money. He doesn’t care about me.” At storEDGE, it’s the opposite: we’re building relationships with clients and learning about their businesses and what they need. We’re building stuff that they really rely on to run their business effectively.
It’s all about building trust and just talking to people. You have to really listen to people to learn the industry. I can talk to someone about various aspects of their business because I know at least a little bit about every part of the industry. I also know enough people that I can help them find contacts and meet other vendors. That’s my favorite way to network - to help new owners get started on the right foot in the self storage industry. One thing I’ve learned from talking to a lot of these guys about being a business owner is that you have to be willing to take a chance. You have to be willing to let things grow and learn as much as you can along the way. It’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, but it’s totally worth it in the end.
I hate to generalize it, but I think the best feeling is just when you really blow someone away in a demo and they say, “okay, what do we need to do to get going?” When you hear that in sales, it’s a really rewarding feeling. It’s a very gratifying feeling to get a contract signed. Some of our clients sign up after only a week, others take three or four years. It can be a long process. A lot of calls, a lot of emails. You have to make sure you're taking really good notes. One of the coolest things is that storEDGE has legitimately launched three products in self storage that have all changed the industry in many different ways. We're doing things that no other company has the ability to do, which is pretty nuts for a company of 50 people in Kansas City.
Honestly, I really enjoy it. I consider myself so lucky to have the opportunity to get out and meet people in their backyards. I love seeing our clients and friends in the industry more than once a year. I’ve gotten to see some pretty cool places. I like seeing different parts of the country. I’ve gotten to go to places I would have never gone. I enjoy meeting people on the road and networking with people. I enjoy it, and I think I’m pretty good at it. I enjoy meeting all the people in the industry and talking to them. You can learn an awful lot from talking to people. The more I learn, the more it helps me to sell the product and promote our company, because I understand the needs of our clients better.
The weirdest thing was seeing Flavor Flav on a flight back from a trade show in Vegas. I was flying Southwest like usual, and I had just gotten on the plane when I saw him sitting in the first seat. I wasn’t sure if it was actually him at first, but then he got up and started dancing around during the flight. It was hilarious. On the descent into KC he jumped up again and started doing the weather and plugged his concert that night in Milwaukee. The flight crew was awesome about letting him do his comedy bit and they gave everyone a heads up that there would be a special announcement. It was bizarre, but so entertaining.
Anywhere I’m on my feet pacing back and forth. I make a lot of calls, and I like to move around while I’m on the phone. I think I’ve paced in just about every room in this building at some point. Other than my favorite pacing spots, I enjoy occasionally spending time at storEDGE on Saturday mornings when no one is in the office. It’s amazing how much you can get done and the level of focus you have when you’re the only person in the building.
I wouldn’t consider myself a morning person, but I like getting to the office a little early. I slam a chocolate breakfast shake, drive the back way through residential neighborhoods to avoid traffic, and get to the office by 7:30. I usually call my girlfriend Nikki on my way to work. She’s a NICU nurse and we work opposite schedules during the week, so early mornings and evenings are the only times we have to catch up. When I get to the office, I fill up my water bottle and visit our in-house barista, Amber, for a morning boost. Americano every day!
I really enjoy traveling, music, sports, and spending time with my friends, family, and girlfriend. I’ve spent a week in Amsterdam, and last year I got the opportunity to go to Iceland. This year I went on an impromptu trip to Aruba and it was incredible. I listen to all kinds of music, electronic, rap, rock, country. I’d say my favorite band is Above and Beyond - they’re a U.K. trance group. Of course, I love going to football games to cheer on the K-State Wildcats and Kansas City Chiefs. I’m always tweaking my fantasy lineup. The sales team is pretty cutthroat when it comes to fantasy football.
Canadian whiskey and water. It’s an all-weather drink - tastes good no matter how hot or cold it is outside. I also like good wine, especially paired with a huge steak.