By Marc Goodin
The most valuable piece of real estate at your self-storage facility is the two square feet of office counter space where you deal with potential renters. It's worth a million dollars, even $2 million for real go-getters.
Your management counter may not look like much, but to the trained customer-service representative, it’s worth its weight in gold. Let's assume the average value of a rental at your facility is $1,000 per year. If you manage to close just two extra rentals each month, that's $24,000 per year. At today’s capitalization rate, that’s an extra $250,000 in facility value, plus nearly the same amount in income over the next 10 years for a whopping $490,000. With some effort, you can double that for an easy million dollars!
As a self-storage manager, your primary goal is to help prospective tenants choose your facility over the one down the street. The mindset of the "million-dollar counter" is a very effective tool to help ensure prospects choose your facility on the spot. Here are some things to consider for your million-dollar counter space.
Testimonial Guest Book
Potential renters are more likely to believe fellow customers than our own proclamations or advertisements. For that reason, you should keep a testimonial guest book on your counter where prospects can see all the wonderful comments other customers have made about your facility. It will give them that "it just feels right" sensation.
The wonderful things written about your facility will not appear in your guest book magically. Operating the million-dollar counter is a mindset. Your goal is to make all your clients feel special by wowing them with random acts of kindness, little surprises and tons of value. You have to constantly be thinking how to provide terrific customer service and take action.
When you get one or two great reviews a week, you’ll know you’re on the right track. When a tenant moves out, it’s a good time to ask for a recommendation. Place a pen on the guest book to make it easy for him to write great things about you! When he signs, don’t forget to ask if you can post his comment and name on your Facebook page for even more proof that your facility is the best.
Who doesn’t like candy? The simple pleasure of a candy dish on your counter is bound to put a smile the faces of prospective and current renters. Keep the dish full every day with a variety of candy. Let everyone know they can help themselves any time they’re in the office.