Brad's Blog

May May 3, 2013

What? It's already May?! We are entering the busiest time of the year for self-storage.  The real estate markets are picking up and the kids are almost out of school.  I believe we are going to experience our best summer in many years.  There are going to be lots of consumers renting, buying and moving places.  They are going to need self-storage! Make sure your location(s) are looking clean and sharp!  With the customer having many choices available they are most likely going to choose the location that is not only convenient, but the one that is clean, well maintained with a staff that really cares about their business.  It’s time to put your sales and customer service hat on.  Remember, taking the customer through a sales presentation is CUSTOMER SERVICE!  It is educating, building trust and giving the customer a reason to choose you over all the competition! Have a prosperous and amazing summer renting LOTS of storage UNITS!  

Becoming the Market Leader March 7, 2013

Can you believe springtime is upon us!  Wow, every year seems to go faster.  From my self-storage consulting travels it seems like the self-storage industry is on it’s way back.  We held up well compared to other commercial real estate types. I have noticed a difference between those self-storage operators who took the “downturn in the economy” seriously and made improvements in their operations.  They seem to be more poised for the “comeback” in the economy and have taken more advantage of the consumer spending more money on renting a storage unit. My recommendation would be for all of us to “step up” our game and make on-going improvements to our systems, people, training, marketing, sales and customer service.  These are areas within your operations that will transfer over to the customer and will set you apart from the competition.  If you don’t have a formal training program in place, you need to develop one.  For example, we have really focused on customer service training this past year and it is paying off.  We just came off our best year (between our 10 locations) and have noticed our customer referrals, repeat customers and current customers adding a storage unit improve.  This is the strongest return on “marketing dollar” we can have! It is the perfect time to make improvements and become the leader in your marketplace.  I believe many of you have the opportunity to become the price leader in your area.  It will take hard work and a concentrated focus on equipping yourself to become the best!

Customer Service Is Key To Your Future! January 23, 2013

Hey everyone.. it's been awhile so I hope all is well in the self-storage world, and that you've had a great start in the new year!

It's the first month of the year and time to plan your goals and objectives for 2013. At Advantage Consulting & Management we are planning on stepping up our customer service.  I believe customer service will be one of the most critical areas that will separate great self-storage operators from average operators.  The self-storage customer has many choices available to them and I believe they are becoming more selective in who they choose to work with.  They are looking for the self-storage operator that will provide great service during the discovery process.  In other words. they want an operator that will educate, build value, and earn their trust.  Yes, this is customer service at its finest!

It is time that you adopt a self-storage management philosophy that centers around customer service!
Warmest Regards,

Family Get-Away In Lake Tahoe December 6, 2012

In my consulting business I am use to traveling for my self-storage clients.  This past week I had the privilege of traveling up to Lake Tahoe with my family instead.  We had a great time in Tahoe as the area is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.  We stayed on the Lake and had a great view of the mountains.  It was absolutely amazing.  I also hit the slopes with my son.  The conditions were pretty good and I was able to keep up with my 16 year old!  Yah!

What I enjoyed the most about this vacation was not having to set an alarm clock and instead getting to sleep in everyday!  I don't remember the last time that has happened.  The biggest decision we had to make every day was, “Where should we go to eat"?  Wow, how stressful is that!

We stayed in South Lake Tahoe which is close to Heavenly Ski Resort.  It was pretty amazing with the gondola going up to the top of the mountain.  The village of Heavenly is quaint and a really a cool place to hang out.  Everyone is really chilled and laid back.  Too many choices when it comes to the coffee shops though.

We also had the opportunity to travel up to Northstar Ski resort and there we got to hang out in all the shops and cafes.  It was another very cool place.  We then went to the Ritz Carlton for dinner and it overlooked the ski resort and mountains.  We definitely created a neat memory with our kids in the Northstar area!

Well, not much discussion about business this week, but I had to share my FUN time with my family!  Sometimes taking a break is the best thing we can do for our business, it helps to rejuvenate us and keep us sharp.

Manager Bonding and Recognitions! November 26, 2012

Hey Everyone, I was recently in Cincinnati with my team and we had a great 2 days of team building and training.  We went bowling the first day and had a blast!  We mixed up the teams and had some of our self storage managers from our Southeastern district play against the Mid-west managers.  What a fantastic way for everyone to better connect with each other and to have some friendly competition at the same time.  It was funny to see how competitive some of the managers were with one other.  No wonder they run their stores so successfully!  They are true die hards when it comes to achieving their goals and it certainly showed at the bowling alley! Who would have ever thought bowling could be so fun!

After bowling we headed to dinner and we sat at the largest table I've ever seen.  It was cool as we were all able to see each other in a more intimate way.  Before dinner I had each of the self storage managers tell us something unique about themselves.  I wanted them to share something we may not have already known about them.  Wow, did I learn a lot from this.  We sure do have some unique and risk taking managers!  One of the managers in our southeastern district said she was a motor cross driver.  Yes, she races motorcycles and is one of the best in her district.  She said that she usually wins or at least comes in on the top three!  Another self storage manager couple said that they put about 20,000 miles a year on their motorcycle.  They like to take weekend trips and also take road trips on their vacations.  They are very passionate about it.  Another manager shared that they have completed marathons and have also competed in other races as well. There were several great stories to hear.  I actually felt a little boring after hearing some of the experiences and passions from my managers.

The following day we gathered for several hours of training and also recognized our managers for a job well done!  It is an honor to run a self storage management company with such amazing people.  The award recognitions were well received and the managers felt appreciated and part of an organization that cares about their people - which we really do!  The most important ASSET to our self storage facilities are the managers!  They are the ones on the front line everyday and interface with our customers.  We are coming off our best year ever and we give props to our incredible team of managers!!!

Being Personable Goes A Long Way November 7, 2012

Last week I was in beautiful Colorado Springs helping a consulting client with his new self-storage project.  I had the opportunity to mystery shop all of his competitors in the primary market area.  

It amazed me how most of the competition did not greet me when I walked in the door. There was no introduction and it made it quite awkward when talking with the manager.  It's important to always make sure you stand up and greet your customer, as well as welcome them into your store as you introduce yourself.  This is a nice touch and will set you apart from most of your competition. 

In addition, most of the competition did not ask for my name and phone number.  They had no way of connecting with me at a future date.  It is vital that you always ask for a name so that you can use it throughout your sales presentation.  This will make the conversation more "personable" and will help to build a rapport with the customer.  Moreover, always make sure you ask for a phone number so you can "reconnect" with the customer if they are not ready to rent a storage unit.  This is part of lead generation and will help you to create more appointments and rent more storage over time!  

Welcome Everyone To Our New Website!!! October 22, 2012

Welcome to the new Advantage Consulting Management website!  All of us here at ACM is so excited to launch the new site and to provide you with not only ways we can help you with our services, but to also provide you with up to date information through this blog.  Our company goal is to share valuable information to help you take your self-storage location to the next level.

Everything we share in terms of ideas and strategies are tested, tried, and proven through the self-storage locations we manage.  It does not matter if you manage a small location in a rural area of Iowa, or a multi-story Class A property in downtown Los Angeles.  Either way, the information we share will help you sharpen your skills and take your operation to greater heights!

I will also share some of my thoughts from "the road" as I travel out to various self-storage locations to help them to become more successful.  I'm even likely to share some funny experiences along the way, so check back on the blog often for updates.  I look forward to connecting with all of you! 

Brad North