As a self-storage manager, you’re the face of the business—literally. You’re a valuable asset, and the company expects a great deal from you.
Of course, your success begins with the support of the right training, systems and tools; but do you know what’s equally if not more important? Your mindset! To succeed, you need to take “extreme ownership” of the business and realize (with great pride) that you’re responsible for operating a multi-million-dollar investment. With the right mentality, you can exponentially increase occupancy and revenue and provide the best self-storage customer experience.
Let’s explore what I mean by adopting an extreme ownership mindset (EOM) and seven ways to truly embrace it.
1. Know Your Sales Scripts
You must know what to say and when to say it during every interaction with your self-storage customers. The best way to ensure sales success is to follow well-written scripts. If you don’t, you could be losing rentals.
A self-storage manager with an EOM has a speech prepared for the various sales opportunities they face, including in person, on the phone and online. To really master it, try role-playing with someone and rehearse often. Your customers will appreciate your knowledge and see that you’re creating value around their storage experience. This builds trust. They’ll also share their feelings about your facility with friends and family, which leads to repeat business and referrals.
What you can't do is just wing it. When you don’t know what to say and when, you set yourself up for failure. You might forget important information, and you’ll lack confidence. If you aren’t perfecting your scripts and guiding customers through the self-storage rental, you’re losing revenue daily. Use your EOM and trust the system.
2. Encourage Autopay
If you aren’t following a proven system to build your autopay clientele to 90% or higher, you're doing your self-storage operation a disservice. Customers often stay an additional two months when signed up for autopay and tend to absorb rate increases better. Autopay also enhances the customer experience because there’s never any gate interruptions or late fees.
To get new tenants to sign up, introduce the autopay concept with the lease. Let them know about the benefits. The easiest approach is to say, “To get started, all I need is your ID and debit or credit card. Your rent will automatically be charged each month, and you won’t have to worry about it again unless your card information changes.”
When you have an EOM, this becomes a natural part of the lease signing. If there's any pushback, rely on your script and remind the customer about the convenience of an automated self-storage payment as well as your “no-late-fee guarantee.” It should be a seamless process.
3. Focus on Tenant Insurance
A tenant-insurance or -protection program can generate revenue and reduce your self-storage operation’s liability if there’s ever an incident that results in loss or damage to customers’ goods. It provides peace of mind to facility owners, managers and tenants.
If purchasing a tenant-insurance or protection plan is mandatory for your self-storage business, approach the topic with prospects sooner than later. The ideal moment is during your property tour. If you let them know in advance, there’ll be no surprises when you begin the rental paperwork. Have any related information readily available and highlight the coverage limits. During the lease signing, you can point to the various options and ask what works best for them. With a confident approach, you can typically gain about 90% penetration.
Even if your program is optional, your EOM gives you the power to persuade tenants to enroll. Ultimately, it’s your commitment to the process that’ll determine your success.
4. Ask for Reviews
Did you know online reviews can help your facility’s search engine optimization and indexing by 25% or more? If you aren’t asking every single one of your self-storage customers for a review, you're failing to boost your online search ranking. Does your facility provide a QR code to make it easy for people to leave a review? Do you automatically send them a text or email with a link that makes it fast and simple?
If you have an EOM, you’re asking for reviews. You’re telling customers you’d greatly appreciate it if they took a minute to give you a review while pointing to your QR code. Let them know their cooperation really helps you compete with other storage companies.
5. Be a Proactive Marketer
It’s extremely important to have a self-storage marketing plan and be proactive about it. If your current system doesn’t include a calendar outlining what to do and when, you're dead in the water. When you have a schedule, you're prepared to celebrate events and holidays and support the community.
A manager with an EOM plans monthly or quarterly events, spends a few hours each week doing outward marketing to add value to community partners, and sends regular newsletters to all current and past clients as well as everyone in their business alliance. Marketing a self-storage facility is a focus, not an afterthought.
6. Move Merchandise
Your self-storage retail products should be promoted to every prospect and tenant who walks through the door. A manager with an EOM leads each customer to the merchandise area and says, “Did you know it takes at least 30 boxes to pack a home? Do you think you need more small boxes or larger ones for your move?”
You should be selling a lock to every new tenant. Let them know it’s required to properly secure their unit. Keep a couple of locks and a pair of scissors next to your desk so they can purchase one and you can open it right then and there. Selling boxes, locks and other supplies should be a natural part of every rental.
7. Keep an Eye on Maintenance
The EOM is about being a problem-solver, not a problem-finder. Things will sometimes go wrong at your self-storage property. Gates malfunction, keypads go down and cameras stop working. There might be a need for new bollards, curbs that require painting or damaged downspouts to replace. Keep a list of all your top vendors and technicians for when issues arise, so you can move swiftly to get at least three estimates for the work. Once you have the bids, be ready to discuss your action plan with ownership to solve the issue and get your facility back to its pristine state.
To drive your self-storage operation toward success, you must adopt an EOM—an extreme ownership mindset. Yes, you need solid systems and processes to help you achieve results, but it’s your attitude that’ll make the difference between average and stellar performance. With an EOM, you’ll improve a bit every day. Follow the above advice, and it’ll be easy.
Garrett Byrd is the franchise director for Storage Authority LLC, which offers a self-storage franchise model. He has more than 20 years of experience in real estate and self-storage management. To reach him, call 941.928.1354 or email [email protected].