For a self-storage manager, one of the most tried-and-true ways to convert a caller or visitor into a tenant is to offer competitive move-in promotions. These are designed to speed up the sales process so your staff can move on to the next potential customer. But as our industry continues to grow and competition increases, more and more factors are influencing the way these specials benefit both facility and tenant. To help achieve a firm grasp on promoting smart, effective move-in specials, we’ll identify a few of these factors, how you can react to them, and what kinds of benefits you should be looking for down the line.
Don’t get carried away.
One of the oldest tenets of the free market is that the consumer benefits from a highly competitive industry. As businesses compete to attract customers, one of the first places they tend to look is their pricing structure. While this is great for the shopper, it can be a major headache for businesses who want to remain profitable.
Some dangers of a pricing war are obvious. By rapidly lowering prices and initiating specials a facility can’t necessarily afford, operators risk serious financial backlash and many unprofitable occupied units. The monotony of tracking competitive prices, while manageable in moderation, can become much more time-consuming while engaging in aggressive price-matching. Furthermore, prices that fluctuate rapidly tend to send consumers seeking more stable rates.
Depending upon your market, a little competitive pricing could prove beneficial. In some areas, consumers measure a storage facility’s worth by how far it is willing to bend to get their business. In others, price is a minor factor compared to cleanliness, security, and above all, proximity to home.
Timing is everything
Move-in specials should not be a long-term financial plan— otherwise, it’s just a permanent decrease in rental rates. This doesn’t mean these specials are not an integral component of your yearly projections. Rather than gunning for short-term gains, most specials reap benefits down the line, once satisfied tenants who took advantage of a discount begin paying normal rates. Careful planning and budgeting should influence when and for how long a particular move-in special will be put into effect.
Just because you thought of a great promotional idea doesn’t mean it needs immediate implementation. Marketers need to be sensitive to industry trends– in the self-storage world, a major consideration is the seasonality of the market. An exciting move-in special geared toward college-bound families won’t be nearly as effective in January as it will be in August.
Another consideration that should effect the ‘when’ and ‘how’ of your move-in special is your facility’s inherent costs. Can you afford to give away three months of free rent while you’re still making payments on a new security system? If the market or facility are not ready for your promotions, don’t force it. In sales, patience can be an invaluable asset.
Where to start
Your move-in specials should fit a mold based on what you think your facility can manage, what your target market is looking for, and how it compares to your competitors. Make sure the details, including price and duration, are made explicit to customers to avoid confusion. The next step will be promoting your deals to reach as much of your target market as possible, so check out our top five places to promote your storage facility.
Let us know about your successful move-in specials and voice your opinion about our content in the comments below.