Not all Self Storage Facilities are created equally

Online facility management with Storman Software

No two businesses are the same – especially nowadays, as companies adapt to a changing marketplace & become more creative with their offerings in an attempt to “stand out from the crowd”.

With this in mind, it’s important to make sure your prospects (potential customers) understand your points of difference. After all, if they’re shopping purely on price, the more-expensive facilities probably won’t even make it onto the list! If that’s you, then it’s time to give prospects a reason to choose you! Let’s take a look…


Self Storage facilities are different?

We work in the industry, so we know this – but do your prospects? If they’ve only ever seen self storage on TV (and it’s a bunch of rusting shipping containers on a block of land with a chain-link fence around it), then that’s what they’ll assume it is. If they get your quote and it’s substantially more expensive than your competition, they may not stop to ask why.

Your facility may be at the opposite end of the quality scale – but if your prospects don’t know this, then you may not even get considered as an option – even if you’re genuinely worth it.

Some examples of points of difference may include:

  • Price
  • Ease of access
  • Covered driveways
  • Range of unit sizes available
  • Location
  • Size of goods lift (small lifts mean many trips – especially for removalists, who usually charge by the hour)
  • Security offerings (PINs, individually alarmed units, on-site manager, cameras, guard dogs, CCTV, etc)
  • Customer testimonials, your Google reviews or your Google star-rating

Our goal here is to make sure your prospects understand that not all self storage facilities are equal… so how do you make sure your prospects are comparing apples with apples? Easy – start with the bananas.


Discover your Points of Difference

The first step to finding out where you stand is to mystery-shop your competition. Ask a friend or colleague (someone they won’t recognise) to visit a competitors facility and find out a little more about their offering. More importantly, find out where they excel, where you excel and what tactics they’re using to sell against you.

If your competition runs a facility like this, you may never be able to compete on price - but you could certainly compete on looks & security!
If your competition runs a facility like this, you may never be able to compete on price – but you could certainly compete on looks & security!


From this information, we can create two lists (frequent readers will know that I love lists) and begin to ascertain our businesses strengths and weaknesses.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Start by writing down everything that both you and your competition offer. This is the POP (Points of Parity) list. It’s basically a list of things that you can’t compete on, because you’re both the same in this respect. These are your apples.
  2. Secondly, write a POD (Points of Difference) list. This is a list of areas where your business excels in comparison to the competition. These are your bananas! It’s these exact reasons that you need to highlight when you’re talking to potential customers.
  3. Finally, you may wish to create a POD (Points of Difference) list for your competition too – this is made easier if you’ve visited them and seen their offering first hand. It’s this list that you’ll need to have “ammunition” ready for, because your competitors are likely using these against you.


Give customers a reason to choose you

Now that you’ve worked out your facility strengths and weaknesses, it’s time to weave these into your sales process! Highlight your PODs in your sales spiel, on your website and in your marketing materials.

Develop some strategies in dealing with your competitors PODs, too – it can be something as simple as helping a colleague come up with something to say in response, if a prospect says something like “I understand you don’t have undercover areas in all of your facility, is that right?” – to which you might reply: “That is true, but all of our access corridors lead to an undercover area where you can park your car to unload, so you & your goods will be dry while you’re putting them into storage”.


Turning negatives into positives

If analysing your competition has revealed a series of weaknesses in your business, spend some time working out how to make changes or improvements. You may also be able to turn a negative into a positive, as per some of these examples:

  • They have 24/7 access, we don’t: Turn this into a positive by selling the benefits of a daytime-only facility. “Do you really want strangers roaming around at night time when there’s no one here?” – or evaluate the storers requirements on a case-by-case basis.
  • They have a move-in truck, we don’t: “We’ve decided not to have a move-in truck, in order to keep costs down for our customers. We do, however, have a trailer that you can use for free during move-in… and if you did need a truck, we have a deal with XYZ hire company for 20% off van & truck rentals.”


Further reading…

If you come across a customer that isn’t sold on storage (in order words, they’ve called to inquire about pricing but they think storage in general is too expensive), you might like to direct them to my other blog post, “7 reasons why Self Storage is a good idea“.

Additionally, you might also like to learn a few new ways to stand out from the competition, by being appealing to your customers. Happy selling!


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