Property Management: 10 Things I can do TODAY to build my business!Ah, the life of a property manager in the self-storage business. We wear a lot of hats, are asked to handle lots of responsibilities, and generally feel like our to-do list is never complete. Good managers take tremendous pride in what they do, in how the store looks, in the quality of the service they provide, and in the strength of the relationships they build with tenants. They like to think of the property and the business as if it were their own, and run it that way. That usually means taking a little extra care that everything is done right. Once we get ourselves and our team into a solid routine of daily activity, seasonal planning, and long term goal setting, the business can be operated like a finely tuned automobile. That formula sounds simple and can be, but even the most well managed operation, in the best of times needs to be constantly challenged in order to stay sharp. We all get to these plateaus. We get there personally and we definitely get there professionally. Once were on a plateau, its easy to get comfortable and just hang out! Gearing back up for the push to the next level doesnt sound like fun at all. Sometimes changes in the global economy, the local community, or even the self-storage industry can present challenges that we have either never faced or have not seen in a long while. A very mature store with several years of success can all of a sudden find itself slipping in occupancy or struggling to minimize discounts. Some of these issues are out of our control, and some are self-inflicted. By self-inflicted we dont mean that the team purposely sabotages the business or the property. Actually, the team can still be very strong, with a deep devotion to their business and still experience these challenges. What happens? Two common traps that we easily to fall into. One, the routine that we spoke about earlier that was so successful gets stale. Our perspective gets jaded. The marketing ideas that we used to love developing become hard work and the relationships begin to slip just a bit. The second and more common is that we get satisfied with where we are. That plateau we spoke about. We relax, we stop challenging ourselves. So what can we do to avoid those traps? What practices or habits can we adapt to stay fresh in our approach, or just give us a quick boost, kind of like one of those energy drinks for our business?Below is a list of 10 simple things that can be done in one day as a matter of routine that would not only get you and your team re-engaged, but also spark your business. This list can be added to or have items exchanged for. Its not the final list, if you will, however it covers all aspects of your daily operation and if a list like this can be implemented each day for 3 weeks, then these activities will become strong habits that will push you and your operation to that next plateau.1. Do a thorough Walk through of your grounds: Take a pen and pad with you, and record anything you see that doesnt look, smell, or feel right. Be critical as a prospective customer might be. Try to put yourself in their shoes, and figure out what they might see upon a tour of the store. Have those plants out grown their purpose? Do the rusty door handles on the drive-up units make the whole presentation bad? These are items that we see every day and simply dismiss because were so used to them.2. Attack your Inquiry Follow-up list: Nothing is more important to the future success of our operation like prospects. We are constantly in the business of replacing people and this list is like gold. Hopefully, it builds every day; but sometimes we can put it aside or leave it for someone else. Not today, lets divide the list into parts if we need to and assign a time for each part. This way throughout the day, the calls are being made, but not overwhelming us. Make sure you take excellent notes on their accounts to help guide you the next time. Make it a goal to get a certain percent of those calls to conclusion with either a yes or no, so they can be removed from the list.3. Mention Moving and Packing Supplies in every sales presentation today:Building this piece of the business into your sales presentation helps boost sales, but also creates value for your store. The customer appreciates knowing that they can get all their needs satisfied in one place. Remember to note that you offered supplies to them on the original inquiry, so that upon move in they can be closed on retail items more easily.4. Contact 10 Long Term tenants and remind them about your pre-pay options/discounts:Suggestive selling is one of the most powerful techniques we could ever use. Were all familiar with how fast food restaurants and other industries have used this practice to build their sales for years. Heres your chance. A little friendly reminder call to these folks with an excited voice goes a long way. An example, for being one of our best customers, we want to remind you of some savings opportunities we have for pre-paying your monthly rent. 5. Mention the Referral Program to everyone that pays their bill today:Whether they stop in, or pay over the phone, during the conversation, mention your referral program. No marketing is more cost effective or binding than the word of mouth from satisfied customers. People like getting free rent too. Even if tenants mail you a check or pay via your website, drop them an e-mail thanking them and reminding about Cash for referrals or whatever your program is.6. Add 5 names to your database:Picking up lunch? Stop by 5 stores, businesses, or offices around the sandwich shop, drop off your business card, and get their contact info for your e-mail marketing campaign. This will also help build some good will in the community as several of these folks will be chamber members or maybe even past customers.7. Randomly Audit 15 files:Keep your team sharp by doing a random but complete audit of 15 tenant files. Include all documents that should be signed, initialed, etc. Include in this the software review and secure gate system check to make sure all information is accurate and up to par. Many store managers receive bonuses for having strong audit scores, so make it about the money if nothing else.8. Refresh your Signage:Take a look around the property and see what, if any sign and/or messages you have out there. Look at exterior and interior areas, the office lobby, and collateral youre handing out. Are the messages consistent, appealing, and current? Do they have a call to action on them? Are there to many RULES and not enough VALUE being displayed? Has the wind beat your outside banner to a pulp? 9. Do an On-line search of your Store:When was the last time you put on your prospect hat and searched for storage in the community? What did you find? Is your store prominently placed? Does it stick out amongst the competition? Is your information attractive and user friendly? These questions need to be asked all the time as the internet and the standards we expect from it, are constantly changing.10. Drive your rental truck to the bank to make the deposit:Rental trucks are a great add on to any storage business for obvious reasons. Amongst others they act as huge billboards advertising your business and its location, website, etc. Get it out into the community as much as possible. The other cool thing about this is that rental trucks like these are never found in bank lots or professional building lots so they attract more attention when they are.These are a few ideas of simple tasks can be built into our daily routine. After acting on ideas like this every day for 3 weeks they become habits which will not only drive our business to the next level, but also keep you sharp. We all need a little reminder from time to time about the details that keep our store moving forward. Hopefully some of these will work for you.