Be the Best Self-Storage Manager
By Stephanie Tharpe
As a self-storage manager, you are the professional. Selling your site, services and value is up to you. Ask yourself these questions:
- Am I confident in myself?
- Do I know my competition?
- Am I passionate about my product and services?
Let’s look at how each of these elements can help you become a better manager and improve sales and referrals at your facility.
The first key to selling your facility is self-confidence. If a potential customer sees you absolutely believe, without any doubt, that your facility is the best around, he’ll pick up on that right away. Even if he walks out the door without renting, he won’t get that kind of enthusiasm and confidence from your competitor down the road. Nine times out of ten, he’ll return to rent from you.
In a world of self-service, people actually crave being waited on. We already have to pump our own gas, bag our own groceries and fill our own drinks at fast-food restaurants. Having a manager that goes out of his own way to accommodate a customer with one-on-one interaction is crucial.
Why Is My Site Better?
Because of you! A great self-storage manager is the biggest key to the success of a facility. What are you worth? Your knowledge, commitment and dedication are worth the $5 or $10 more per month your facility charges. Do your competitors help customers at 10 p.m. on Sundays or holidays if needed? Are their sites safe and secure? Is someone watching the property 24-7? The biggest customer-service tool you have to offer is you and your commitment to your tenants.
Passion for your position may sound crazy, but it’s what it takes to compete and rise above the competition. Have you ever been to a restaurant and had bad service? How did you react? You likely left a smaller tip—or none at all. You may have even asked for a manager because the server was not attentive enough. Miss drink refills? Or did it take the server too long to wait on you? Was he disinterested or distracted?
Now, flip that around. You went to a restaurant where the server was extremely attentive, made jokes, smiled, and thanked you for coming in. He asked if you would like dessert and the drink glasses were never empty. Which restaurant are you going to go to again? Does it really matter they charge a few bucks more for a steak?
People will pay extra for attention. A trick that really works in self-storage is recognition. When Mrs. Smith walks through your door and you call her by name and ask how you can help her, you make an impression. Tenants are impressed when you remember them. Plus, happy tenants are your best source of advertising. I’ve rented units at my facility because a tenant was in the office at the same time as a prospect, and the tenant sold the new customer for me!
Become the best. Once you work hard, become dedicated and go the extra mile, you’ll develop the passion on your own and you’ll have no trouble selling yourself. You will know without a doubt what you’re worth and it will come across in every phone call and walk-in, and with every tenant you serve.
Stephanie Tharpe is a property manager for A Plus Storage in Nashville Tenn. She has been a property manager for five years and is also a staff trainer. She’s a moderator for Self-Storage Talk, and the third-place winner in the 2009 Inside Self-Storage “Best in Self-Storage Marketing” Contest.