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Hiring Mr. (or Ms.) Right: Marketing Success Begins With a Professional Salesperson

Derek M. Naylor Comments

When asked about marketing, most people think of TV commercials or ads placed in Yellow Pages, newspapers and magazines. The truth of the matter is marketing is a much more holistic process with ads representing just a piece of the pie. You must create an excellent selling advantage, communication strategy and be able to close the deal before the process is complete. Most important, you need a manager with sales savvy.

Most operators would do much better by cutting their marketing budgets and increasing the salary of their management position to attract a professional salesperson. For example, if you have an underperforming Yellow Pages ad costing $850 per month, you’ll get more bang for your buck by offering a qualified manager $10,000 more per year than you will by continuing to run that ad. You’ll attract a better manager with this salary, and I guarantee you’ll get a better return on that investment.

How is that possible? Consider the following:

A poor manager can negatively affect tenants’ experiences, leading to reduced referrals, lower retention and ultimately higher costs to acquire a new customer. If your average customer is worth $700, this will cost you a fortune in income and property valuation over your career.

A poor manager will have a low inquiry-to-rental conversion ratio. If you’re tracking marketing properly, you know your cost-per-inquiry ratio. If you pay $50 to make the phone ring but your manager is rude, impatient or just not a good salesperson, you can kiss those dollars goodbye.

A poor manager will not proactively implement great marketing systems, but will wait for the phone to ring or a customer to walk through the door. This costs you time and forces you to use more expensive advertising mediums to increase occupancy.

More Marketing, Please

The truth is a good manager needs to have more marketing experience than operations expertise. With exceptional advances in management software and operational systems in this industry, self-storage management in itself isn’t difficult to learn. Give your manager the right training, legal forms and technology with the latest in self-storage management software, and he’s well on his way to handle daily operations. But does he know anything about marketing?

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