As Green says, “We want an informed customer.” He wants his customers to feel secure, and to remind their neighbors that security, more than convenience or even price, is the reason to choose a self-storage facility.
Another security-focused operator, Norm Kotoch of Highland Heights, Ohio, broadcasts his message in the facility name: Security Self Storage. Kotoch is an attorney aware of the danger of promising security if he can't deliver it. He lists the security features of his five facilities: access-controlled gates, cameras, door alarms, and the same type of high-security cylinder lock system Green builds his security and message around. As Kotoch’s website says, “We constantly strive to offer state-of-the-art features like our individual door alarms, 24-hour DVR surveillance and recessed cylinder locks.”
Like Green, Kotoch considers his site managers “sales managers” whose job is to sell features. They broadcast security to attract the right customers and deter the dangerous ones.
To ensure the highest level of security and to meet the concerns of local fire and police, Kotoch installed high-security, master-keyed systems in three of his facilities. As an attorney, he is aware of liability concerns, but as a business operator, he knows how to deal with those concerns. Access to the master key is limited to management. Every renter is made aware of the master-key system, and signs an acknowledgement waiver along with the rental application. Knowing that the facility provides fast, safe access to fire, environmental and law enforcement personnel attracts and reassures commercial and private customers.
Kotoch and Green have rented to thousands of customers in the last 10 years, and Kotoch reports only one prospect declined to rent after hearing about the system. Kotoch was happy to see him leave.
Presented properly, security sells and repels. It sells the customers you want, the commercial accounts and private renters who value their goods and property; it repels the ones you don’t want, the crooks who want to set up shop in a low-cost, low-security facility where the renter with the cheap lock is the “security expert.” In a competitive rental market, you get the edge when you market your security features, not your price.
Rich Morahan is a marketing consultant for Lock America International. He frequently writes and conducts seminars on self-storage marketing and security. To reach him, call 617.240.0372; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; visit www.laigroup.com.