Eight Ways to Beat Your Self-Storage Competition
Isn't it sweet when a race or ballgame is over and the opposing players hug one another and say good game? When it comes to occupancy and profitability, your opposing player—your competition—isn’t looking for hugs. They want to steal your customers.
Your lender or investor wants you to win, your competition doesn't. So, what do you need to do to beat them? Here are eight ways you can trounce your competition.
1. Invite local 501c3 entities, especially sports teams, to come and store at your facility. One sports team can have up to 20 families involved. And one sports league division can have eight or 10 teams. Work with the league directors and offer them a complementary unit. Your cost? The lost revenue of a 10-by-10 unit. The return? Cheap marketing to a few dozen families.
2. Write for the local newspaper. Don't make it about self-storage, but about items of interest for a broad audience. Want to make a lot of friends? Call it “Corner of Champions” and highlight a local business or student who does something noteworthy. For the more cerebral communities, write short business tips and tricks. Take this even further by targeting a business community, and send them a copy of the article inviting them to participate as a contributory editor.
3. When someone searches for storage on the Internet, make sure you're in the top eight positions. Whether you are or not, the landing page the consumer clicks on should take them to a page that allows them to rent a unit. Don't have them type in information for a quote. Don't tell them about how wonderful you are. Assume the sale and get the rental. Even if you run out of the size they need when they do attempt to rent, get them to complete the information (name, number, e-mail, etc.) and send them an auto response!
4. Make your URL community friendly (yourtowncommunitystorage.com) Drop the alphabets. Paper phone books are dead.
5. Wear a clean, collared shirt. Don't eat in the office. Clean the windows and lose the sticky notes. Obvious? No, not according to the hundreds of stores we've visited.
6. When someone calls, engage the caller, befriend him and make him believe he’s the most important person to call that day. Set an appointment and stop giving out prices so quickly.
7. When someone pulls up with a truck full of furniture and appliances, get out the lease agreement and credit card authorization form. They’re there to rent. Don't freely give out a concession.
8. Being a class-C store with a class-A manager is a class-A store. Believe in your managers, support them, hire the best candidate and train, train, train.
Bob Vamvas is a partner with Self Storage 101, a full-service self-storage management solutions firm with offices in Alabama, California and Texas. Trained and certified in areas such as management consulting, process development, and sales development Bob has worked in both the private and public sectors. He has extensive experience in performance management systems, operational excellence, sales and marketing, competency analysis, communication strategies, coaching and counseling.
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