Education was the star of the Inside Self-Storage World Expo, Oct. 4-6 in Tacoma, Wash. Industry professionals, eager to learn effective and immediate strategies to improve their business, packed the seminar rooms at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center. The fall show included five tracks of seminars including one designed specifically for Canadian storage professionals and another for facility owners.
“The education program at every ISS Expo is always top-notch, and this show was no exception,” says Inside Self-Storage Publisher Troy Bix. “We work really hard to gather the best minds in the business, people who are in the trenches every day, to help our attendees become successful business leaders in their markets.”
The “Day-to-Day Operation and Facility Management” track drew a steady audience of managers and owners. Industry attorney Jeffrey Greenberger used humor to tackle the very serious topic of rental agreements, reminding operators the importance of updating leases often. Anne Ballard of Universal Management Co. packed her slideshow with visuals to show operators how to create exceptional customer experiences.
The “Facility Marketing and Sales” track address topics such as video marketing, search-engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising. Day two featured two two-hour mini clinics, one focused on sales, the other on marketing. Brad North of Advantage Consulting & Management offered techniques to turn more callers and walk-in customers into renters, plus steps to overcome objections and competitive pricing. Tom Litton of Litton Property Management outlined 50 new and innovative marketing strategies.
“Every session we went to was informative,” says Larry Stewart. The Tucker, Calif., resident is looking to buy his first facility. “The education program totally exceeded our expectations. All the speakers and topics were great.”
One standout seminar for Stewart was the session by The BSC Group’s Shawn Hill, who outlined new options and strategies for facility refinancing. In the past six months, new financing options have opened for self-storage owners and investors. This includes loans from the Small Business Administration and commercial mortgage-backed securities loans.
Lynn Prather, a member of the Washington Self Storage Association, was thrilled to have the ISS show in her back yard. “We don’t get a lot of national shows,” says Prather, despite the Northwest’s strong economy and successful self-storage industry.
Julie Jackson, a manager at Mason Self Storage in Mason, Ohio, enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of the show. She said the seminars focusing on operations were ideal for her. “That’s what this was all about,” she says of her attendance.