Choosing a self storage manager is a critical hiring decision for facility owners. A good manager will affect your bottom line more than any other factor.
Few industries rely as heavily on a single employee like self storage. A strong manager can help overcome other factors such as a tough location and an older building.
As the face of your facility and the person on the front lines every day, your manager is your facility’s key to success. Your customers might remember your manager’s name more easily than the name of your facility.
To most customers, self storage facilities seem interchangeable. Your manager is the one who will differentiate your facility and make a personal connection with your customers to keep them satisfied and sending business your way.
So what makes a good self storage manager? Read on for a list of the skills and personality traits that effective self storage managers have in common.
Self storage managers should convert a majority of the leads resulting from marketing efforts. If a manager gets a potential tenant on the phone or in the store, they (and you!) should feel confident in their ability to convert them into a renter.
To effectively convert, your manager must be a top-notch salesperson that can close. Competent salespeople are creative in overcoming roadblocks and pricing objections. Sales requires flexibility, product knowledge, and excellent communication skills.
To effectively sell renters on your facility, your manager should know your facility from top to bottom and what differentiates your facility from the competition.
If you charge higher rates, does your manager know why and can they convey that message to potential customers? You don’t want your manager to merely list rates to potential customers. Instead, your manager should sell customers on why your facility meets their needs.
Excellent interpersonal skills are critical for self storage managers. Unfortunately, interpersonal skills can’t always be taught but are inherent to a person’s personality.
Three traits to look for are patience, empathy, and friendliness. People looking for self storage are often going through a stressful time in their lives. Having a self storage manager who can empathize make a big difference.
Patience will be required when dealing with difficult or irate customers.
Finally, friendly and helpful should be your manager’s default attitude. If your manager doesn’t like people, it will be apparent in their customer interactions.
Time Management Skills
Self storage managers deal with a multitude of different tasks every day—from customer service to facility maintenance to marketing and sales to collecting rent. Moreover, they mostly work alone.
Your manager will be required to work independently and switch roles and tasks throughout the day. Knowing how to prioritize duties and responsibilities appropriately is essential to success.
Knowing how to communicate clearly and succinctly over the phone, in person, and in writing is an essential skill for self storage managers.
If your manager knows everything about your facility but can’t convey that information to customers, that knowledge is useless.
They should answer the phone in a friendly manner, convey information quickly without droning on and on, respond to customer social cues during in-person interactions, their written communications should be free of spelling and grammatical errors. All are essential communication skills for self storage managers.
Professional Appearance and Demeanor
It should go without saying that your self storage manager should have a professional appearance and demeanor.
This means your manager should be well groomed, practice good personal hygiene, and dress appropriately.
As the public representative of your facility, you want to make sure your manager looks the part.
Tech Savvy Enough
In today’s increasingly digital world, self storage managers should have the technical skills to use all programs involved in running a self-storage facility, especially your property management system. Offering training to your manager is vital but also ensure they are comfortable with all the technology they have to use (including your website and social media).
Ability and Willingness to Enforce Policies and Procedures
Your manager enforces your facility’s policies and procedures—from gate hours to late payments—so make sure they know and understand them.
It is also critical that your manager enforces policies fairly and firmly with all customers.
If customers see your manager making exceptions for some customers but not others, that will quickly lead to dissatisfaction and ongoing problems.
Ability to Listen and Learn
Of all the skills mentioned, the most important one is the ability to listen and learn.
A self storage manager’s job is multifaceted and requires skills in many different areas. This means you need someone who is willing to listen (to you and your customers) and be open to learning new ways to do their job effectively.
As a facility owner, you must communicate your expectations to your manager, and you want to ensure that they can listen to what you are saying and put it into practice.
Additionally, your customers need a manager who can listen to their needs or problems and help them find solutions. In both cases, the ability to listen and learn will go further in assisting them to achieve success than any other skill.
Follow the hiring tips above, and chances are you'll have a great, long-term storage manager in place in no time. Best of luck.