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Specialization and Market Distribution

April 1, 1999

5 Min Read
Specialization and Market Distribution

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The Argus Self Storage Sales Network


Mike McCune

When Mike McCune and his team of real-estate professionals became involved in theself-storage industry from a brokerage standpoint five years ago, they made some importantdiscoveries. "We found this was a very difficult market to get your arms around, sowe started exploring it, and decided that what the industry needed was a brokeragenetwork," says McCune, a 30-year veteran of the real-estate business who serves aspresident of Argus Real Estate Inc. and the Argus Self Storage Sales Network (ASSSN).

"We thought self-storage represented a much better investment opportunity forreal-estate investors than what was being perceived by the investment market," McCunesays. "A number of people knew about it, but the rest of the world was relativelyunaware or thought that the risks of the business were excessive." Contributing tothese general perceptions, he says, is "the fact that there was no organized marketfor buying and selling, and that the information available was very uneven inquality."

The Argus Self Storage Sales Network, based in Denver, has become the only nationalalliance of independent real-estate brokers that specialize in self-storage transactions,with 36 brokers throughout the United States. "The network provides potential buyersand sellers of self-storage facilities immediate access to a broad market while stillmaintaining the advantages of local broker expertise," says Jason Laughton, thecompany's director of operations.

Specialization and Market Distribution

"Argus is the embodiment of two principles necessary to successfully completereal-estate transactions," says McCune. "First, the broker must be knowledgeablein both local and national markets. Even more importantly, he must have a specialty inself-storage so that he can offer experienced, informed and professional advice to theclient, whether they are a buyer or seller. Without the unique knowledge provided byspecialization in the industry, a broker cannot provide the insight and experience neededto help the client in pricing, marketing, negotiating and closing the deal in a timelymanner."

Laughton points out that the second necessity of a successful transaction isdistribution. "I--as well as my associates--believe in a tried-and-true formula forselling real estate: Maximum distribution of complete information leads to more qualifiedprospects, which in turn leads to more offers and the best sales price. Thus, Argus isdesigned to give an owner the confidence that his property will get the largest,professional exposure to the purchasing market," he says.

To accomplish this "distribution" of information, Argus has aggressivelydeveloped a marketing approach that connects with those interested in the self-storageindustry. The approach has several facets to ensure that all interested parties are awareof a property's availability.

Print Advertising

Since the beginning of Argus' involvement in self-storage, it maintains a very activepresence in industry publications.

Internet

Argus was among the first to utilize the Internet in distributing information aboutproperties through it's home page at www.selfstorage.com. The Internet allows Argus toinstantly provide pictures, maps, demographics and other detailed information on listedproperties. An affiliation with the nationally known loopnet.com, the nation's largestsource for commercial listings on the Internet, allows Argus and its clients access toinformation and is central source for searching self-storage listings.

Argus Market Monitor

Argus mails a monthly newsletter to over 15,000 industry professionals contained in aproprietary database. The Market Monitor features all available properties listed withArgus affiliates and provides a timely article on the real-estate aspects of theself-storage industry.

Tradeshows

Argus representatives and affiliated brokers attend at least five industry tradeshowseach year across the country, where they meet other industry leaders and learn the latesthappenings in the industry. At tradeshows, clients' properties are prominently displayedin the Argus booth, where prospects and brokers can meet and discuss what is available.

Database

Argus maintains one of the industry's largest and most comprehensive databases,including owners, investors and various self-storage affinity groups. This allows Argusand its affiliated brokers a broad reach in general marketing, and also allows specialfocus for certain types of properties or locations.

Property Presentations

Argus adheres to a professional standard of quality in its representation ofproperties. Since a property presentation is usually the first thing a potential buyersees and the principle selling document of a property, it must be thorough, clear andattractive. Argus presentations usually contain site plans, pictures, maps, detaileddescriptions, demographics, historical financial information, proformas and surveys of thesurrounding competition.

Affiliated Brokers

Although Argus believes that its comprehensive marketing approach blankets theself-storage industry with about 800,000 individual contacts each year, by far the mostimportant part of the marketing program is the affiliated-brokers network. This network of36 brokers represents an experienced, professional group of independent brokers affiliatedwith the ASSSN. The average broker has well more than 15 years of experience in realestate, and 40 percent of the brokers hold the prestigious CCIM, SIOR or MAI designations.Their broad experience and focus on self-storage bring to a seller or buyer intimateknowledge about the local market and the industry. By being active in their markets, thebrokers have developed extensive industry contacts and relationships. In large measure, itis Argus' affiliated broker's experience, reputation, relationships and hard work thatmake the selling and buying process work so well.

Fees

A party participating in the ASSSN receives the services and benefits of the networksimply by working with an affiliated broker. "It costs nothing more to the buyer orseller to benefit from the network. They simply pay a traditional brokerage fee to thelocal (affiliated) broker," McCune says.

The fees for ASSSN brokers are comparable to those charged by competitors in theirrespective markets, McCune adds. "The difference is our brokers are going to be moreefficient because they have access to a large network. It takes less time for them to moveproperties, so they are motivated to make more money for their clients and forthemselves."

Summing Up

The ASSSN, like the self-storage industry itself, is a reflection of the rapidmaturation of sophistication of the industry. "The development of Argus has brought anew standard to marketing properties and representing clients. The industry deserves thespecialization and marketing energy that Argus and its affiliated brokers bring to thereal-estate market," adds Laughton.

The bottom line on this network, explains McCune, is "that it is successful onlyto the extent that buyers and sellers believe they are receiving what they are promised.What we promise is professional, thorough representation, broad exposure, and presentationof the industry to the outside world in a professional way."

For more information about the Argus Self Storage Sales Network, contact JasonLaughton at (800) 55-STORE.

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