Employee evaluations are tough to do in self storage if you are not at the store very often. You can mount a camera that streams to the internet and can watch what is going on at the store at any time. Or you can use someone like PhoneSmart to call the store posing as a tenant or prospective tenant from time to time.
We are probably tougher at scoring sales calls than most services, because we are a sales oriented company and we think that being sales oriented is the way to go. It is surprising to see how not-sales oriented some storage operators are. I have a theory that storage used to be a construction game. It didn’t much matter where you built, as long as you keep your costs down and had an appropriate unit mix, you could well. Then it became important to have a good location to draw in renters and to be able to command top of the market rates. This is when storage became a real estate game. Before long, other people where placing their well built facilities on good pieces of land. Then the competitive edge came in running a tight operation. This is when storage became an operations game. Software providers and management companies worked on being able to understand the key indicators and control points to run an efficient business.
But now most operators are watching their numbers and running their reports and there is no longer much of a competitive edge in operations. Today’s competitive edge comes in effective sales lead management. If you are creating more leads from your contacts and closing more leads than you used to, you will proper. Secret shopping is a great way to know if your staff is selling your callers or merely answering the phone.
You can tell if your people are just being friendly and knowledgeable, or if they are using their friendliness and their knowledge to make sure their callers stop shopping around. If your people can sell on the phone, they can sell to walk-ins.
How do you run your business? Are you still in construction or real estate? Are you still struggling with operations? I would suggest you start selling. It’s what your sharpest competitors are doing.
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Disclamer: This entry is intended to promote our partner StorageMart and some or all participants received compensation.
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