When a self storage client walks through the door do you know them by name and say hi with a smile? Having passion for your job and making an effort to connect with customers is just one area self storage managers should consider when trying to improve their business, according to experts.
Improving sales and increasing referrals is on the forefront of every manager’s mind, especially in this economy. And there are certain considerations to make that can improve business considerably. It can help to ask questions of yourself, such “Am I confident?” and “Do I know my competition?” according to Stephanie Tharpe, property manager at A Plus Storage in Nashville, Tenn. She is a third-place winner in the 2009 Inside Self –Storage (ISS) “Best in Self-Storage Marketing” Contest and also a moderator for ISS’s Self-Storage Talk.
“The first key to selling your facility is self-confidence,” Tharpe wrote in a recent Self Storage Talk blog. “If a potential customer sees you absolutely believe, without any doubt, that your facility is the best around, he’ll pick up on that right away. Even if he walks out the door without renting, he won’t get that kind of enthusiasm and confidence from your competitor down the road. Nine times out of ten, he’ll return to rent from you.”
Having the yearning to learn all you can about your business is also key to growth and success. Being willing to try something new and share knowledge with peers should be part of your natural routine. This can include attending classes, online webinars, reading industry publications, attending conferences, and staying abreast of government activities on a state and local level.
Creating effective marketing programs that improve repeat and referral business also comes from great managers. This means, of course, having a well-run website, but also incorporating RSS, e-mails and social media to gain traffic to the site. Promotions are also key, as well as considering philanthropic activities such as Toys for Tots. It doesn’t have to take a lot of money to attract attention to your business. There are clever ways to deliver your message about your business’s unique services and programs. Ways that go beyond the yellow pages or newspaper advertisements. Sometimes hiring a marketing firm that specializes in promoting self storage can be a valuable option.
Networking should be used in a way to improve the bottom line. It is an important tactic to join a local business group which can in turn pay off big in referrals and rentals from other members. Also, attending chamber meetings and local events can get your name out and into the community mainstream. You can join a networking group if one exists, or start your own.
Other matters to consider are making sure, of course, the cash drawer is balanced and unit activity is properly tracked. Property should be inspected daily for maintenance issues and the work environment and waiting area should be kept clean, neat and well-organized. Listening to a customer’s complaints and suggestions is not always fun, but can be a great source of improvement. And just having a great attitude with customers and ending transactions with a “thank you” gains respect and trust.
Ballard, Anne. “Top 10 Things Done by Great Self-Storage Managers: Learn, Listen, Analyze and More.” Inside Self-Storage. Oct. 16, 2011.
Tharpe, Stephanie. “Be the Best Self-Storage Manager.” Inside Self-Storage. Jan. 19, 2011.