Leasing season is upon us, and we all want to make sure we are getting the most from the season, both in number of rentals and in the amount of income from each rental.

We know the leasing season begins in March and peaks in the summer months.

Here are just a few reminders to us all in preparing ourselves and our stores for success this season:

Make sure you look good from the customer’s point of view!

Are your curbs painted white, landscaping trimmed back and seasonal color at the entrance? Trash or overgrown trees and shrubbery, peeling paint and lights that don’t work can prevent prospects from even giving you a try. Get out there and make sure everything is clean, neat and well organized. Trim shrubs and overgrown trees back to give a neat and clean appearance, remove weeds and keep fence lines free of growth of any type. Repaint and repair as needed and clean gutters. Replace any broken or damaged windows, signage or lighting fixtures.

Track and measure your calls, walk-ins and lease conversion ratios.

Make sure your whole team measures and counts traffic the same way and is getting the most of each interaction, closing the rental and getting referrals from existing customers. For February this year our teams have generated 2.34 walk-ins per each phone call and are closing 91.3 percent of all walk-in traffic. I see lots of wasted prospects when we don’t practice good sales skills on the phone and in our onsite presentations; have urgency to close each one today. Use a Telephone and Walk In Script to guide you through the basics and focus on closing each caller on a visit; once they are in your office you should close most of them. Track and calculate your closing ratios and you will begin to see some instant improvements.

Refresh and make them right at home with you and your store.

Greet each customer at the front door, take charge and make them comfortable, offering cold water bottles, (please recycle) or other refreshments. Ask them, “How can I improve your life today?” and then be prepared with full market knowledge of your community and all of your competitors to show them why you are the best value! (Not the cheapest, but the best value). Other retail environments provide little to no service these days and you want to stand out from the crowd and provide an over the top customer experience.

Don’t give away the farm!

There are many things we can do as managers instead of offering up discounts and giving rent away to close the sale. Improve your sales presentation; ask the right questions and then listen to their responses. Managers who are price selling only will not win the day. Look at your own marketing reports to see why they really rent from you as it is not about price. For 2018, our portfolio results showed that more than 80 percent do not contact or visit any other competitors and that 58 percent chose our facility because of location and convenience and another 24.4 percent because of management and features; price was only 14 percent.

Get more referrals from your community; small businesses and business organizations you belong to.

If you are paying dues or fees to belong to these groups, then participate and reap the rewards. Meet and network with as many new people each month as you can, get their business cards and add them to your email database. Get the electronic membership list and reach out and touch them with interesting local content-filled emails. For only pennies you can produce professional looking emails with strong headlines that encourage people to open and read them. Do not use direct selling in your emails and social media posts. Rather, engage the audience and encourage feedback.

These are just a few of the actions you can take to make the most of leasing season this year. Try them and then sit back with a glass of tea and reap the rewards for the rest of the year.


M. Anne Ballard

Anne is President of Marketing, Training and Developmental Services for Universal Storage Group, a full service management company and top operator. She has served on the SSA Board of Directors and is a two term Past President of the Georgia Self Storage Association. Universal manages/consults to over 60 facilities in more than 14 states and overseas. She has been a frequent speaker at state, national and international conventions and a five-time industry winner of ISS Best Manager Training and 11-time Facility of the Year winner. She handles facility planning, feasibility studies, design, start-ups and operational consulting and training around the world.