By Ed Clement
"Your Self Storage Planning - Site Selection - Design-Build" by Marc Goodin
Sixteen simple items that make a big difference.
1. It takes time for people to realize you are open for business. Marketing that is done four months before opening will pay off more than any other time. Marketing should start no later than when you start construction.
2. It is normal for the first question, and often the only question for prospects to ask is: What the price is? This does not mean anything - it is simply the only question they know to ask. Price is not at the top of the list of why most people rent. Location /convenance is. A pleasing environment and great service helps too.) You need a written walk-in and written phone-in script now!
3. You need to write down your facility's unique selling features and benefits, so you are prepared to let your clients know how you are special. (Example: Feature – over 10 sizes to choose from. Benefit- so you only pay for the space you need.)
4. Your website (and management software) should be open for business 2 months before you open your doors. It takes time for search engines to find your website. This is an important factor in pre-opening rentals. SEO must be considered in your website design and ongoing operations. 90% of essential information must be on the home page. Pictures are a great way to build trust.
5. You need to be the expert and help the prospect come to their own conclusions. For example, it is better for your prospects to observe your large TV screens, cameras, and “smile for our cameras” signs so they can make up their minds vs. you telling them your site is secure. If you want to sell more boxes, you need to point out it takes 30 boxes to move a 3-bedroom house and let them know used boxes are returnable. If you want to sell locks, you have to point out the value of your disk locks.
6. You need to ask every prospect for the rental or the reservation over and over again otherwise you will miss out on many rentals. After you ask, do not say anything- give them the chance to say yes.
7. You need to listen to people’s concerns (there are no objections, just concerns) and provide solutions to these concerns. There are only 8 major concerns. Write them down, along with the answers, and practice overcoming them with your staff.
8. You need a good self-storage management software program. Your management program should be up and running early to take pre-opening rentals.
9. Always give out two or three of the unique selling features/benefits of your site before you give out the price on the phone, otherwise, you will hear “goodbye, click”. Always ask for the rental on the phone.
10. Keep a phone/visitor information log so you can follow up with them in the next two or three days. If they do not rent from you, they will rent from your competition. Typically, this is a feature of your management program.
11. A neon open sign makes it clear you have completed construction and you are open for business. Street pennants, flags, and a sandwich board will help people notice your facility.
12. When someone asks for a deal, there are a dozen much more profitable options that can be offered instead of giving away a free month. Consider offering a free lock, $30 off their first month’s rent, or if they prepay for 12 months, they get the 13th month free.
13. You must ask everyone if they want to go on the monthly automatic credit card payment plan. Let them know people most people do because it ensures there are no late fees, and it saves them time and the cost of a stamp. People who go on automatic payment stay longer and it's less work for you because you do not have to call for overdue payments.
14. It is important to collect everyone’s email addresses on the rental application. You will need to contact them more than you think, so having their email address will make it easier to do so. They will also be included in one of your email marketing lists, a list that will help to increase your profits.
15. You need to start a professional newsletter system long before you open. You must use a professional system like MailChimp, so people have the option to unsubscribe and so that your emailed newsletters look great! You will want to send out group emails for your grand opening and many other ongoing marketing events. You should be diligently collecting everyone’s email addresses, including non-renters, town staff, local businesses, etc.
16. It is important to think ahead. It could take you months to compare and find a good merchant account (credit card processor).
For a free copy of Marc's book, "Your Self Storage Planning - Site Selection - Design-Build"
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ed Clement is a franchise director at Storage Authority. One of his passions and responsibilities is helping franchisees find land by sharing how to find land both online and offline. Ed has a strong background in real estate, investment banking, and management consulting. He is available at Ed@StorageAuthority.com or 727 946 0745 to answer your questions and share the Storage Authority Franchise opportunity.