If you missed the Inside Self-Storage Expo at Mandalay Bay in March, then you missed a lot of activity. I talked with many people, saw old friends, made new friends, visited with clients, created new ones and made lots of new acquaintances. I think I talked nonstop for three days. I had a great time learning about people’s businesses and their concerns, sharing experiences and swapping stories. I also had fun watching vendors, like myself, selling wares.
Realize it or not, selling goes on right under your nose. Organizations and businesses are selling to you all the time. I am selling you on the idea of reading the rest of this column. ISS is selling you the idea of reading this magazine cover to cover and then signing up to attend the next conference. The advertisers on the pages next to this column are selling you on the idea of calling them or looking at their websites.
You are our best prospect. Why should you care? We can’t make you buy anything. I can’t make you read the rest of this paragraph. Maybe you don’t even care about our products or services. But we still jump up and down and yell, “See me! Call me!”
It’s all about benefits, isn’t it? If you see some benefit to reading this column, you’ll keep reading. If you see some benefit to stopping at a vendor’s booth at a trade show, you’ll stop. What benefits are you looking for? In my experience, self-storage people are looking for several things:
1. Information.You want to know what is going on in the industry. You want to know what other people are doing, and what helps to rent units. Of course, you’re very interested in how to create more revenue. You want to save money and know more about trimming costs.
2. People who are resources.When you have many people you can call to float an idea or ask advice, you have a powerful way to make better decisions. That translates to eliminating unnecessary steps and freeing up time and effort.
Am I on target? I’d like a way to accomplish these goals for myself as well. Vendors should speak to your needs. They should simplify your life and your business, while freely making information and advice available.
You only have so much time and energy to spend on vendors. They shouldn’t waste your time or lead you down a dead-end street. How do you determine who you pay attention to? My bet is you are drawn to those who try and speak to the benefits you are seeking. And that’s how it should be.
Tron Jordheim is the director of PhoneSmart, an off-site sales force that helps storage owners rent to more people through its call center, secret-shopping service, sales-training programs and Want2Store.com facility locator. You can read what he is up to at www.selfstorageblog.com. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.