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Being a Self-Storage Manager in a Challenging Age: Tips for Success

Bob Copper Comments

The current self-storage market is incredibly challenging, and the difference between a storage business that thrives or merely survives is manager training and professionalism. Today’s facility manager must possess effective sales skills, know-how to collect and increase revenue, and a professional look and demeanor to clearly differentiate himself from his many competitors.

Most self-storage inquiries start with the telephone, but there are still facility managers who do not know how to successfully turn each call into a site visit or a rental. In this new day and age, managers need to get back to basics and keep it simple. To be operationally successful in this industry, you need to know how to do three things really well: how to sell, how to collect, and how to get it all done in a reasonable amount of time.

Not everyone has skills necessary to be excellent at managing a self-storage facility. Let’s review those skills and see if you’re an “OK” manager or a great one.
Boosting Sales

I came to the self-storage business from a sales background, and it didn’t take me long to realize that what most self-storage managers really need is some basic sales skills. They sell customers on renting space, making payments, sending referrals, etc.

Most prospective tenants will rent storage from someone. If you’re only renting to two or three out of every 10 prospects, the rest are renting from your competitors. Why?
Here are some basic sales tips:

  • Answer the phone with a smile. Potential customers know when you’re smiling and can sense when you enjoy what you do. If you don’t, find something else to do.
  • Get the prospect’s name and phone number. To not get a name is a sign of disrespect. The customer started the relationship, so why be reluctant to get his name?
  • Use price stalls. Once you give a price, your presentation is essentially over.
  • Ask questions. You can’t establish yourself as a storage expert unless you ask questions and attempt to solve the customer’s problem. “What size do you need?” is not the right question.
  • Solve the problem. Offer features and benefits to increase the value of storing with you.
  • Overcome objections. Know what to do when someone says, “I’ll have to think about it.” What he really means is he’ll have to think about renting from you because he might rent from someone else.
  • Close the deal. The best sales presentation in the world won’t count if the prospect doesn’t rent a unit.
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