By Brian Maguire
Lets face it: Youre not the only game in town. There are self-storage facilities all over; they may even be right next door. So why should a prospective tenant pick you? Its your job to ensure everything possible is done to capture that future tenant before your competition does.
Lets say you do all the right marketing. Your facility looks its best. You train your staff to look and act professionally. You train them on phone etiquette and how to give a tour. Then you wait for the phone and e-mail leads as well as the walk-ins to come in. Then what?
What happens once a prospect does reach out to you? Are your leads handled as aggressively as they should be? Looking at industry statistics, operators dont appear to turn as many prospects into customers as they could. The valuable leads youre paying dearly for are probably not being handled in the best way possible.
The Missing Link
So is it a staffing problem? Are you under staffed or not hiring the right people? Or is it something else entirely?
The typical self-storage manager must handle every call, e-mail and visitor to the facility in addition to many other responsibilities. In a down economy, staff reductions made in an effort to cut costs make the managers job that much more demanding. Managers need to accurately record all customer information from phone, Internet, e-mail and live interactions. In todays busy marketplace with intense competition, this info becomes one of the operators most important sales tools. But with fewer staff members to handle leads, some will fall through the cracks.
Unfortunately, the manager is often focused on other things and not maintaining accurate records. Historically, less than 40 percent of all customer contacts ever get recorded by hand, and even fewer make it into your management software. Of the ones that do make it, only a third accurately identify the ad source and contact info.
Just as important as accurate data is proper follow-up. It starts with getting precise and key prospect information into your management software so its tools can be used.
If youre serious about improving your lead-management skills and maximizing the potential of your staff, you need the help of automation. Your facility most likely doesnt need more leads; you just need to do a better job of maximizing the ones it already has. To effectively capture and convert traffic to leases, self-storage operators have to take advantage of available technology.
Here's where concepts like customer relationship management and online lead tracking become significant to managers and owners. Taking the lead tracking and management process out of the hands of your staff and automating it is key. With todays technology, its a reality.
Internet-driven technology can consolidate the lead-collection process, creating valuable information that will increase occupancy and revenue. Productivity-wise, this consolidation will do for the self-storage business what the assembly line did for automobile manufacturing. If implemented wisely, the cost of the technology is recovered quickly by the resulting synergy, savings and revenue.
The self-storage industry now has follow-the-lead technology programs with tools to automate, track, integrate, manage and evolve prospect and tenant communications quickly and cost-effectively. All marketing calls and e-mailseven if a call is missedcan be auto-populated into a digital prospect card for managers. The card includes the name of the person contacting the facility, the phone number or e-mail address used, and the advertising source, all at a managers fingertips in real-time.
Lead-management programs can also act as a guide for call-center agents, allowing you to maximize their potential. Of course, all of this wouldnt be complete without seamless integration with your management software, which is included.
The Internet and advancing technology offer extraordinary instruments for knowledge, right down to the last penny. Self-storage owners can maximize employee performance and get accurate data by using innovative tools, which will provide a beneficial map to marketing and employee success.
Brian Maguire is the vice president of sales and marketing for Lead Tracking Solutions, which offers management lead-tracking software with a suite of fully automated and integrated products. For more information, call 866.209.1700, ext. 104; e-mail [email protected] ; visit www.ltsolutions.com .