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Selling RS-Lite

Two columns ago, I addressed ways to communicate the value of records storage lite (RS-lite) to self-storage customers. Last month, we looked at how to market the service to prospects. This month, youll learn how to develop a sales strategy for RS-lite in a self-storage environment.

To begin, youll need to identify the who, what, where, when, why and how of offering records storage at your facility. Once these questions are answered, determining the tools youll need to proceed is easy. Lets take a peek at how RS-lite works in an uninformed and unsuspecting marketplace:

Who is a prospect for RS-lite?

First, youre already in the self-storage business, and you already have business customers. This is a great place to start, especially since you experience reasonable turnover and have new sales opportunities every day. Second, unless youre in an unusual market, there should be many small businesses in your area, and they all have records to store. So the answer is: existing customers, new customers and your local community of small businesses. Dont rule out your competitors existing customers!

What are you selling?

Just as in your self-storage business, youre selling spacebut with a twist: Youre selling cubic instead of square feet. In short, selling records storage is just a little askew from what you already do.

Where do you sell your service?

Everywhere you can, at every opportunity. You can choose to sell over the counter in your office, via telemarketing, at community events and venues, etc. You can even hire inside or outside, part-time or full-time sales agents. The choice is yours.

When do you sell RS-lite?

Only when the opportunity is just right. Asking prospects appropriate questions is important in any sale. Its also key to predict (and have the answers to) any questions they might ask you. This presumes you have a product to sell and a trained salesperson, and understand the value of the service to the customer.

Why sell RS-lite?

It differentiates you from competitors, adds value to your business, and increases revenue with little effort. Of course, you must have the proper tools and skills to employ the service.

How do you sell RS-lite?

Using guerilla marketing tactics, which puts all of your resourcesnot just your moneyto work, including existing staff, computers, software, marketing strategies, space, security equipment, etc. By using creativity, you can generate marketing techniques that drive your business at a reduced cost.

Skills, Tools and Resources

Whats left to know? You need to learn the right tactics and skills to reach your records-storage goals. RS-lite is a business opportunity, but it doesnt just happen. You must understand the nature of the beast. In medieval times, when cartographers drew maps, they wrote the following along the perimeters to designate the unknown: Beyond here, there be dragons. When it comes to RS-lite, you must know your dragons, or you have no chance for victory.

In your quest, youll need three things: tools, plus the two fair sisters, skills and resources. A tool is a device used to do work. A skill is the ability to do something well. A resource is a source of supply or support. In RS-lite, your tools, skills and resources include:

  1. Business PackagesThese packages can vary, but the RS-lite model generally includes: the Economy Package, the Small- Business Package and the Professional Package. Packages include storage and a modicum of services. They are designed to be attractive and inexpensive to the client and provide high yield to the owner.
  2. Simple TrainingRepetitive training reinforces the art of the sale and simplifies the work of the RS-lite owner or management company.
  3. Compensation PlanningNothing drives results in sales like compensation. Bonuses are the key to motivating employees to sell RS-lite. Your salespeople must be attracted to the sale and rewarded for completing itsimple as that.
  4. Fool-Proof MethodsWork processes must be limited and concise with very few steps. They should be as automated as possible to minimize mistakes and maximize control.
  5. Modeled AutomationChoose a software product with structured limitations. It should make complex tasks easy via a minimal working model.
  6. Outsourced WorkAll tasks can be outsourced to companies or individuals with zero overhead. Work is driven by activities, which have four inherent components: cost, margin, compensation and profit.

When it comes to RS-litea vanilla servicesimplicity is key. Its components must be simple to understand and use for the customer, salesperson and business owner. That being said, simple is not necessarily easy. As my father used to say, Son, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. RS-lite may not be effortless, but it is very straightforward and can be highly profitable.

Cary F. McGovern is the principal of FileMan Records Management, which offers full-service assistance for commercial records-storage startups and sales training in commercial records-management operations. For help with feasibility determination, operational implementation or marketing support, call 877.FILEMAN; e-mail fileman@fileman.com; visit www.fileman.com.

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