Step 3: Documentation
An effective lead-management system is not yellow sticky notes or black ink on the manager’s palm. Professional managers have a system for documenting every phone call, Web lead and walk-in. While some operators use their management software to keep up with their leads, one of the most effective systems, and the one I prefer, is one that uses good old 3-by-5 cards. Sometimes low-tech beats high-tech. Here’s how you do it:
- Add a stack of 3-by-5 cards next to the phone.
- When the phone rings or someone walks in, the manager should grab a card and start making notes, including the person’s name, number, circumstance, timing, what, when, where, etc. (You cannot take too many notes.)
- The manager then uses this information during the sales presentation. (People love to hear their name used two or three times.)
- If the customer doesn’t rent at that time, the card is placed in a 3-by-5 card plastic holder with date dividers. It should be filed under the date when a follow up call should be made. For example, if the customer says he needs storage on Saturday, the card should be under Friday’s date. That way the manager can call the prospect on Friday to reconfirm the appointment.
- In addition, all calls, walk-ins and Web leads are documented on a lead-tracking form and updated as events occur.
Here’s a tip on getting every name and phone number, which should not be optional: Do a $100 gift-card giveaway every month for customers. When a customer calls or walks in, the first thing the manager should say is, “Before I forget, we give away $100 each month. If I can get your name and number, I’ll go ahead and enter you in the drawing.” You’ll get every name and number. Simple. Easy. Effective.
Step 4: Inspection
Anyone who expects his facility managers to keep tracking logs or lead notes but never takes time to review said logs or notes is establishing a horrible precedent—and not because the managers fail to use the system. They simply assign importance to those things that are important to their supervisor or owner.
For example, if the owner or supervisor never looks at the collections worksheet, the manager believes collections to be unimportant. If you want lead management and follow-up to be viewed as important by your managers, you must regularly inspect the process. You should:
- Review the 3-by-5 cards or management system for timely follow-up
- Check the tracking log for marketing channels
- Ask why customers don’t rent the space
Creating and implementing an effective lead-management system is one of the easiest yet most important tasks you can undertake to increase your rentals and income. If most prospective customers rent space from someone, why not you? Using a system where prospect names and phone numbers won’t fall through the cracks will ensure you’re maximizing your marketing efforts. After all, if you’re going to fish, make sure you’ve got a net.
Bob Copper is the partner in charge at Self Storage 101, an industry consulting firm that assists facility owner/operators and managers in developing more effective and profitable operational systems. The company also aids in conducting performance reviews and providing the necessary tools to perform at higher levels in a competitive industry. To reach him, call 866.269.1311; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; visit www.selfstorage101.com.