In our past few blogs, we’ve talked about some of the essential skills one should have when starting a self storage business, or any property-ownership business for that matter. We’ve shared our expertise on the importance of learning to network, but now we’re going to take it a step further and show you how to capitalize on those connections. With solid networking skills and maintaining business relationships, you can help further your company in ways that, alone, would have never been possible.
First of all, it’s important to follow up with your connections. (Trust me, I would have gotten nowhere in this business without learning how to network.) Whether you’ve met a fellow property owner at a convention, through an online meeting, or while getting your oil changed, you should be sure to cash in on that relationship. So, what is a follow up? It’s a second chance to talk to a connection, remind them of who you are, and to discuss where you’d like your working relationship to go. It shouldn’t be too forward or intimidating, just a chance to say, “It was nice meeting with you; are you interested in working together in the future?”
Start off by reminding the connection how they met you, “We met on such-and-such day and talked about this-and-that.” (It’s best to follow up within 72 hours of meeting so faces and conversations haven’t been forgotten.) This will help the connection feel at ease and confident that you aren’t a telemarketer or a cold caller. For example, when I meet a new person, I make a point to talk about something interesting so they’ll be sure to remember the conversation. Ask them if they heard about that storage company selling their property for $1, or how do they feel about giving their customers stock options?
Then, once you’ve got them to remember you, it’s time to discuss your future plans. Is the connection a contractor who you’d like to work with? Are they looking for rental space, which you have to offer? Do you simply want to keep each other in mind if an opportunity should arise? It’s also a good idea to offer an incentive so they don’t feel as though you’re hunting for a sale/handout. “If you rent with me, I’ll offer you a six month discount,” or “Do you offer any construction deals for first time clients?”
Finally, now that your connection has been made, keep the relationship alive. Perhaps you ended up doing business together, or maybe you simply earned a space in the other’s rolodex. Either way, it’s a good idea to make yourself fresh in their mind – after all, what is it going to hurt if you send the occasional email? LinkedIn connections are also a great way to keep in touch, or if you have a company newsletter, add them to the mail out list.
With these networking tips, you’ll be sure to help stay on top of your connections, and manage to give yourself the upper hand in your new business venture.