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November 1, 2007

3 Min Read
Speaking of Sales

America has always been a melting pot. For centuries, people from every nationality have immigrated across borders and oceans with the hopes of making themselves a new home in our great country and theyre still coming. In fact, were in the middle of one of the biggest periods of immigration our nation has ever experienced. Just how does all of this affect your self-storage business?

This period of immigration differs from those of the past in two ways. First, the immigration of Americas ancestors involved people of a select few countries. In the late-19th and early-20th centuries, we saw big waves of people from Ireland, Italy and Eastern Europe. Now the stream is steady, and its coming from everywhere.

Second, and more important to self-storage, past waves of immigrants tried to become Americanized quickly; but nowadays, they cling more to their cultures. Instead of buying everything new upon arrival to the States, they see no need to change. They bring their homeland with them, using the Internet and cable TV to stay connected to loves ones and places. The American Dream still involves a home, car, vacations and a stock portfolio; but todays dream does not leave behind ones native land.

Keeping the Dream Alive

In the past, salespeople could sell wares to settlers by letting them know they needed this stuff to become American. Now you sell your wares because your service helps people stay in touch with something they hold dear. They bring furnishings, mementoes and treasures. This impacts all business, but it has a very positive effect for self-storage.

Each year, more immigrants and children of immigrants make progress in building their own American Dream, acquiring and accumulating new purchases in addition to keeping their beloved keepsakes. I dont know about you, but our sales reps frequently speak with people with all sorts of accents. If youre in an area rich with cultural diversity, find a way to appeal to these folks. Let them know youre a friendly, professional company looking to earn their business.

You can offer these customers a way to keep goods safe as they figure out how to get enough living space to create the living environment they desire. Theyll also want to store those things that remind them of home. Remember, these reasons to store are very satisfying for a persons emotional state and not short-term needs.

Some émigrés may still think self-storage is only for people who are moving and need to store stuff between homes. Invite them to explore our facilities. Educate and help them understand its a great long-term tool to manage the unfolding of their American Dream while maintaining their treasured past. Here, in our country, they can have it all; they just need a place to store it.

Tron Jordheim is the director of PhoneSmart, an offsite sales force that helps storage owners rent to more people through its call center, secret-shopping service, sales-training and Internet-lead-generation services. Mr. Jordheim is also a member of the National Speakers Association. You can read what he is up to at www.selfstorageblog.com. For more information, e-mail [email protected].

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