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The Top 10 Traits of a Well-Rounded, Successful Self-Storage Manager

By Stacie Maxwell Comments
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6. A Desire to Keep Learning

Today’s self-storage manager needs to continually improve his skill set. This includes speaking and writing, revenue management, time management, and more. These are all skills that not only require learning but continual honing to stay sharp and effective.

Don’t be afraid to continue to learn. There’s always something new and inventive on the horizon in this industry, and the threat of being left behind with antiquated procedures and technology is very real. Stay abreast of the newest innovations and you’ll be less likely to be out of touch or in the cold when the next trend comes to town.

7. Honesty and Candor

Honesty is becoming a rare trait in today’s world. We’re beset on all sides by “he said, she said” scenarios. When you come across an individual who’s not only honest and transparent but straightforward and genuine (especially in a sales situation), you know you’ve found a rare gem. People are attracted to folks who are authentic.

In self-storage, we know people tend to store their belongings with the facility at which they feel comfortable and the manager they feel they can trust. Be that person. Be impeccable with your word and honest with the things you say. I doubt you’ll ever lose a sale because you weren’t smarmy or deceitful.

8. Consistency

Being consistent, but not rigid, is an asset to your self-storage facility. Lien laws and all other procedures rely on a certain level of constancy to remain intact. Having one rule for everyone is a great policy when enforcing late fees and the other regulations of your rental agreement. It’s hard for a customer who’s perpetually late in paying rent to argue against a late fee when you apply this rule to everyone. However, flexibility comes into play here, too. If a long-term customer comes upon some trouble and doesn’t pay on time, you may wish to waive his late fee this one time.

9. Sales Skills

When I speak of closing with each customer, I mean it in two different ways. The most obvious way to “close” is by converting walk-ins, phone calls and e-mail/website inquiries to leases. That’s the goal for every manager. Signing leases is our core business. Without the ability to close on leads, you can’t lease units, driving occupancy and income. Customers will inherently choose to store with a facility and manager team with which they feel a certain level of comfort and trust. Being a pushy salesperson will foster neither of those feelings. However, you can use guided discussions, advice and your local market expertise to build those feelings and close 90 percent or more of your leads.
The second way to close with each customer is to end the conversation with his confirmed satisfaction—or as close as you can get—so he feels everything has been handled or will be soon. After each interaction with a customer, check to ensure he’s satisfied with the results of the conversation before hanging up or letting him walk away.

A simple statement such as, “Thank you, Mr. Smith. Is there anything else I can do for you today?” will open the door to the phrase you want to hear, “I’m all set!” Getting the customer to that point demonstrates two very important things. First, it shows you care about getting it right. Second, it expresses that you’ll keep going until you do get it right. This should be your goal—to positively close every conversation by providing superior customer service, not simply signing a lease.

10. A Great Handshake and Warm Smile

These are essential tools that must be included in every self-storage manager’s toolkit. In today’s world of high-tech communications that keep participants hidden behind the shroud of computer screens and mobile devices, it’s a shame that these key elements of deal-making and confidence-building are lost in the tidal wave.

On the bright side, this is your opportunity to shine! Use your handshake to build confidence in your character and business, while inspiring comfort and trust with your warm smile. Using these tools from the golden age of sales and service can help wavering customers feel secure in deciding to do business with you. Plus, you’ll stand out in the sea of key-turners and gate-keepers found behind the desks of your competition.

Being a successful self-storage manager doesn’t happen overnight. Rather, it’s a continual work in progress. Savvy managers know they don’t know everything, and they never will. Successful managers are those who can take what they do know and actively apply it to boost their business. They also seek ways to create those improvements, in their facility and within themselves.

Stacie Maxwell is vice president of marketing and training for Universal Storage Group, a provider of self-storage management, education and development services. With more than 16 years of experience in the storage industry, she oversees the branding, design, marketing-program planning and implementation for the company, including all offline and online marketing. For more information, call 770.801.1888; visit www.universalstoragegroup.com.

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