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Self-Storage Retail: Become a Merchandise-Selling, Cash-Extracting Expert

Kenny Pratt Comments

Once you have a hard-earned customer, you want to generate as much revenue from that relationship as possible. Here’s a simple and repeatable process you can use to turn yourself or your employees into merchandise-selling, cash-extracting experts.

After reading the case study below, you’ll know how to measure sales progress and set goals for improvement. You’ll be able to create a system that makes it easy to really engage customers. You’ll also be equipped to systematically help customers shop more, consider and understand merchandise, and buy more.
Measuring Progress and Setting Goals

When my company wanted to see how its portfolio of storage properties was performing in the area of merchandise sales, we recognized that we needed a way to track our progress. We wanted a metric that would help us not only see the progress of individual stores, but to compare one store manager to another.

Gross sales volume was the obvious place to start. However, we found it wasn’t helpful to compare the gross sales of larger stores with smaller ones, or stores that rented trucks with stores that didn’t. Effectively evaluating the performance of onsite managers across stores requires a different metric. What worked was tracking the amount of merchandise sold per move-in. This helped us focus on the manager’s contribution by the level of traffic coming through the office.

To make comparisons among stores, we separated them into two peer groups: those with rental trucks and those without. What we discovered is stores without rental trucks were selling between $8 and $13 of merchandise per move-in. This was disappointing, because it meant that, on average, we were selling less than one disc lock per move-in. With this data in hand, we were determined to do better.

We began the improvement process by meeting with our store manager. Together we reviewed her historic merchandise sales and set a goal to do better. She was motivated to try harder because she knew her performance was tracked, and the clear metric provided a scoreboard that gave her instant feedback with every transaction. Her efforts were soon rewarded with a modest increase in overall and per-move-in sales. But despite the improvement, we hadn’t yet met our goal. There was still something missing.

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