Inside Self-Storage

JUN 2019

Inside Self-Storage (ISS) is an information source for industry owners, managers, developers and investors covering news, trends, facility operation, finance, real estate, construction, development, marketing, technology, insurance and legality.

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T he more you focus on the value you offer your self-storage tenants, the less significant price becomes. While a lower-priced facility might draw more people initially, your long-term and repeat customers will be those who see the advantages your business provides. Not to mention, those value-driven customers will be your biggest cheerleaders, recommending you to family, friends or colleagues in need of storage solutions. As prospects begin their search for self-storage, they often compare price (what they pay) vs. value (what they get). If the perceived return doesn't exceed the cost, they'll move on to a competitor. So, how can you effectively create and promote value? Consistent messaging in every interaction with customers is key, whether you speak with them over the phone, through e-mail, on your website or via social media. Chances are, you already know your competition well and how your facility shines in comparison. If you don't, call them or shop their websites. Assemble a list of how you offer more value and work those items into your sales conversations and marketing campaigns. Here are some to consider: • Unit features: Do your units have high ceilings? Extra-tall doors? Do you offer a size your competitors don't, such as small lockers or large RV units? Are units climate-controlled? If so, they are cooled and heated? • Specialty storage: Do you offer records storage? Wine storage? Something else? • Site features: Do you have a super convenient location? What about wide drive aisles or easy turn-in access? • Security: Is your property fully fenced? Is there gate-controlled access, video cameras, individual unit alarms? What about a resident manager? • Amenities: Do you offer truck rentals or free use of a moving truck upon move- in? What about handcarts for tenant use? Do you sell moving supplies or accept packages on customers' behalf? Do you offer tenant insurance? What about 24/7 access? • Payments: Do you accept major credit cards, cash, check? Do you offer online billpay? Do you waive or reduce the admin fee? • Reputation: Do you have positive word- of-mouth and online reviews? What about customer testimonials you can share? Turn the Conversation Away From Price One of the first things most customers ask is, "How much are your storage units?" This is the perfect opportunity to educate them on the unique value you provide, highlighting your facility's features and benefits. If you simply tell them the cost and you're not the cheapest place they've contacted, chances are they'll end the conversation and you won't get to sell them on what you offer. Here are some better responses to the price question: • Sure, I'd be happy to give you those prices; but fi rst let me make sure we're looking at the right size unit for you. What are you looking to store? • Of course, I'll get that pricing for you right now. While I'm looking that up for you, let me just tell you a little bit about what makes us unique here at ABC Storage. Once you've redirected the conversation from price to value, you can better understand the customer's needs and offer him a better solution than he would've received by just focusing on price alone. People don't mind paying more if they receive a great return, so emphasize all the advantages you provide. Eliminate the need for your prospects to shop anywhere else. Sell on value rather than price and you'll increase rental rates, move-ins and revenue. Matt Casady is the marketing manager at Stor-N-Lock Self Storage, which operates more than 22 locations in four states. The company's slogan has always been, "Storage Made Easy!" For more information, visit www.stor-n-lock.com. By Matt Casady Selling Value Over Price OPERATOR INSIGHTS Once you've redirected the conversation from price to value, you can better understand the customer's needs and of er him a better solution than he would've received by just focusing on price alone. 46 ISS I June 2019 www.insideselfstorage.com

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