As an industry, we’re doing a poor job of educating customers about the value of the business in general and our facilities in particular. Differentiation does little for your bottom line if you don’t broadcast the benefits of your business.
You’ve heard it all before: To be successful in self-storage, you need to set yourself apart from the competition. Differentiate. Diversify. But even that isn’t enough. Once you’ve created your unique advantages, you have to communicate them to prospects via your sales and marketing efforts. That’s the way to create opportunity and boost your bottom line.
The average self-storage operator converts less than 30 percent of his callers to renters. What this indicates is, as an industry, we’re doing a poor job of educating customers about the value of the business in general and our facilities in particular. Differentiation does little for your bottom line if you don’t broadcast the benefits of your business. When properly communicated to your customer base, the distinctive traits of your facility will help you battle competitors, overcome objections, improve your marketing and gain confidence in your offering.
Knowing your competition is one of the most effective ways to beat it. Shop your competitors regularly and learn as much as you can about their operations. If you’re familiar with the other facilities in your area, you can tailor your sales presentation to emphasize your strengths and their weaknesses. For example, let it be known to customers that you’re the only facility in town with climate control, video surveillance or truck rental. It builds confidence to be able to say, “No other facility in town offers X, Y or Z.”
Communicating your advantages can also help you overcome customer objections. For example, if a prospect says you’re more expensive than the facility up the street, build value into your store by touting your benefits. Explaining the features of your site can help him understand why the extra cost is worthwhile. If he says he’s worried about security, talk about your access gates and video cameras. If he has concerns about temperature or humidity, point out your climate- controlled units. Most any objection can be tackled if you have a firm grasp of your site’s high points and can communicate them effectively.
Incorporating details about your benefits makes your marketing more interesting—and effective. If you offer truck rental, appliance dollies and moving supplies, your advertising can then say: “Take care of all you moving and storage needs in one place!” Any advantage can be turned into an essential part of your marketing campaign, especially one that outshines your competitors.
Know what sets you apart from the competition and advertise it effectively and consistently. Over time, your customer base will understand the importance of each feature and how it can help them. You can even launch separate programs for each differentiating characteristic. It’s amazing how much marketing synergy can be created.
Distinguishing your facility from the rest of the marketplace will give you a competitive edge and greater confidence in the products and services you sell. It allows you to build value and trust with your customers and bolsters your sales and marketing. When communicated loudly and clearly, your site’s unique advantages are the key to maximizing profit.
Brad North is the founder of Advantage Business Consulting, which specializes in onsite sales, marketing, feasibility and operational training for the self-storage industry. He has produced two live videos and a workbook titled “Maximizing Your Sales and Marketing Program,” which can help managers improve their sales and marketing efforts. Mr. North also launched A TelePro, a mystery-shopping service that assists in educating, evaluating and improving the phone-sales performance of self-storage professionals. For more information, call 513.229.0400; visit www.advantagebusinessconsulting.com.