We’ve all seen them, worked with them and can spot one immediately. Who are we talking about? Great self-storage managers. They make all the difference to a store’s bottom line by making things happen.
Some of the common traits found among this overachieving group are listed below. Take a few minutes to go through the list; see which areas you’ve already achieved, and which ones you might need to work on. We all want to be our best possible selves in whatever we do. Some things are easier than others, but we can all improve if we practice daily to become efficient at any technique or process.
Great managers are eager to learn new techniques to help them sell, market and create lifestyle changes for their customers by developing a product that’s easy and convenient to use. Learning something new every day, whether through training classes or sharing knowledge with peers, is a natural routine.
Always be open to new ideas and be willing to “step out of the box” to learn or try something new. None of us knows it all. Having a hunger for knowledge is the sure sign of someone who continues to grow in his profession no matter how long he’s been behind the counter. Attending classes and online webinars, reading industry publications, and staying connected with activities on a state and local level are all hallmarks of professionals who want to continue increasing their personal knowledge base.
2. Listen and Analyze
Great managers are not afraid to listen to their customers’ complaints or suggestions for ways to improve their services, and they welcome the guidance of owners or supervisors. They’re patient and listen before jumping to conclusions. They have the ability to hear between the lines when assisting stressed-out customers. They use the information to respond and show how they can solve a problem or crisis using the products and tools provided.
From this, they’ve learned you don’t have to give the store away to get rentals and should never be ashamed of having higher prices in their market. They know who their target customers are and why they will rent from them. They also do their own analysis from their operating reports to spot trends and fine-tune their operation.
Great managers understand that balancing the cash drawer and petty cash and tracking unit activity is part of a daily procedure that, when done daily and correctly, saves time and money. Daily close and balance is required for any retail operation and assists us all in avoiding carryover mistakes.
Great managers are keenly aware that the storage-unit status needs to always agree with the operating-system status and the documents in the file cabinets. Keeping these three in balance is what’s necessary to keep the operation running strong. None of us should turn down rentals because we haven’t walked the property and discovered those newly vacant 10-by-30s.
These managers understand why all unit inventory must be kept locked: so they’re in charge of what they have to sell. They do daily walk-throughs and multiple lock-check audits weekly to maintain that balance. Understanding that we don’t always have time to complete tasks later on, they complete all required paperwork on time.
They make sure all vacant locks are removed from new rentals at once, and remove overlocks from delinquent accounts when payments are made. Nothing angers a new tenant or one who has paid delinquent rent more than getting to the unit after office hours and finding a lock still in place.
Great managers treat coworkers with respect by not leaving everything for the next person to complete. This means finishing all the day’s transactions, making notes in customer files and balancing everything before they leave for the day.
Great managers use available tools, such as their budget and reports, to create marketing programs that improve repeat and referral business, track their customer base, and find the most creative method to gain their share of the marketplace. When there are no company promotional items available, it’s not a problem. The great manager knows how to make clever marketing pieces using a color printer and items from a discount or warehouse store. They understand it’s not how much money they spend but how clever their message is in telling prospects about their unique services and programs.
Great managers also create enthusiasm wherever they go, as it’s contagious and radiates from them naturally. They create a sense of trust and comfort in all who deal with them. They create clever onsite events that help the community see and experience what makes their property unique.