Copyright 2006 Derek Naylor
Let’s discuss a powerful, yet rarely talked about method of increasing the profitability of your self-storage facilities…raising the lifetime value of each customer.
I urge you to sit up and pay close attention to this. Acquiring new customers is not a new concept to you. How to do it most efficiently might be. But the mere act of acquiring a new customer has likely been a goal of yours for years.
However, increasing the value of each customer is a rarely thought of act in most industries including yours.
And Im not talking about raising your rent here either. Thats one way to increase their value, but it is usually hard to scale and sometimes causes you to lose a customer.
Im talking about cross-selling, up-selling and forming alliances that each put hard cash into your bank account each time your customers raise their hand and accept these valuable offers.
I believe, and I think you ought to consider believing, that your customer base is the single biggest asset you have. Yes, even bigger than your sites themselves.
Your sites dont have credit cards or checkbooks. Your customers do. And, if youre an enterprise with more than a few facilities, you likely have thousands of credit cards and checkbooks just itching for you to give them a good reason to make a deposit into your account.
In order to fully understand this concept, you need to start thinking of each customer as somebody with more needs than just storage. Lets explore a few ideas
Since most storage decisions take place around a move, your customers probably need:
A realtor, a mortgage broker, a carpet cleaner, a mover, packing supplies, insurance providers, etc. The list can go on and on but Ill stop there for ease of understanding.
Like you, each of those professions has a significant cost to acquire a new customer. Some in the thousands! Do you think they would pay you a finders fee of $100 if theyre accustomed to paying $200?
Or, equally as good, do you think theyd send you a new customer if you sent them a customer? Multiply this out in a few industries and you have bigger profits either way.
Too complicated? Not really, but lets simplify this one step
You already have an inventory of packing supplies, insurance and a few extra spaces that need to be rented. How many times, after the initial rental pitch, do you offer insurance, packing supplies or your referral program to your customers? If youre anything like most facilities the answer is a resounding NEVER!
Do the math; take your total number of existing customers and sell a small percentage of them $100 worth of extra product. What does that do to your bottom line? Sell another percentage of them an upgraded or additional space, what does that do? Get a few of them to give you one or two more referrals, what does that do? Not only does that increase your profits but it self-perpetuates this entire process and it starts all over again.
Are you starting to see the HUGE possibilities?
I dont want to belabor this point so Ill wrap this article up by saying this: Your customers are absolutely, positively willing to pay you more than they currently are. Spend time everyday thinking about this and put automated systems in place to capitalize on this truth it might be one of the most profitable decisions youve made since you decided to get into the self-storage business!
I challenge you to take the next 30 minutes thinking about this article. Make a list of ideas and beta test a few of them.