Gabfocus Episode 51 | Maximizing Your Team

Gabfocus Episode 51 | Maximizing Your Team

Your team is the backbone of your operations - finding top talent, training them, and helping them grow is key to any healthy storage business. In this session, we explored the ins and outs of helping your team succeed and stay in sync with your business goals.

Featured Speakers: Sue Haviland & Terry Campbell
Moderators: Tommy NguyenMelissa Huff

Category: Operations
Focus: Owners & Operators
Aired: August 24, 2023
Duration: 1:05:01


If you don't have time to watch the whole session, here are some of our favorite parts:

  • At 10:00, our experts dug into traits they look for when hiring, and they also noted questions they like to ask in interviews.
  • 12:10, Terry discussed the importance of letting your company's core values driving hiring decisions.
  • Starting at 15:20, Sue and Terry covered ways they try to source talent when looking to fill positions.
  • At 17:00, our guests talked about both red flags and green flags they keep an eye out for when interviewing.
  • 22:10, our experts started discussing training programs along with the different programs they've used for their team.
  • Around 30:20, Terry and Sue note the importance of continuous training, not just when your employees are new.
  • At 33:10, our guests cover sales scripts and whether or not they require employees to stick to them.
  • 36:00, Sue touches on the importance of your team quickly following up with leads.
  • 37:25, our guests give more tips to help your team convert leads into customers.
  • 39:00, Sue and Terrie discuss perks they offer employees to help with retention from bonuses to smaller incentives.
  • At 46:00, our guests talk about how they obtain feedback from their teams, especially around development.
  • Around 48:50, our experts discuss various ways that you can evaluate the performance of your team.
  • At 52:50, both experts talked about ways that you can approach issues with employees to improve performance.
  • Starting at 56:00, our guests give quick-fire tips on training employees in various areas.
  • At 58:50, Sue and Terry both answer the question of the week.


Gabfocus Takeaway

From hiring new teammates to retaining them and from training new employees to continuing to develop them, investing time and attention in supporting your team can go a long way toward helping your business succeed. If you take care of your team and make sure that they are set up for success, then they will stay in sync with your business goals and be good stewards of your business. Make sure you have the core values of your company outlined because that is the first step in making sure you and your team are all striving towards the same targets. From there, be supportive, celebrate their successes, and just show that you value them as an integral part of your business.

What are Gabfocus Sessions?

Gabfocus Sessions are virtual workshops for self storage owners, managers, and operators. Brought to you by the team behind Gabfest: StoragePug and Lighthouse Storage Solutions.

Each session features hand-picked industry pros who will dive deep into relevant topics surrounding our industry, share best practices, and explore trends in the market. It's our hope that these sessions help you navigate your self storage business better during these uncertain times.

Want to learn more about self storage? Join us on select Thursdays for Gabfocus.

Gabfocus - logo - 2023


Questions Answered in this Session

  1. What traits do you look for in new employees?
  2. Where do you have the most success sourcing talent?
  3. What are the biggest red flags of potential employees?
  4. Do you have a training program?
  5. What is a training tip that you think people don't use enough?
  6. How do you train employees to handle leads?
  7. Do you offer sales scripts?
  8. How often should they follow up with leads?
  9. What are some other tips that have helped your employees convert leads?
  10. What are some perks you offer your employees?
  11. How do you reward excellent performance?
  12. Do you seek feedback from your employees?
  13. Do you have development plants with your employees?
  14. How do you evaluate performance?
  15. How do you know when there is an issue?
  16. How do you approach issues with employees?
  17. What is your favorite success story about your team or a member of your team?

Live Poll Results: What tools are most important to provide to your employees?




Meet Your Speakers

Sue Haviland

Sue Haviland

Haviland Storage Services


Terry Campbell

Copper Storage Management


Got questions or comments for the panelists?

Our panelists will be happy to answer any questions you have. We hope you enjoyed this Gabfest Session. Talk soon!

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Resources from this session

Awesome Quotes

“Once your operation is in place, you can become more dynamic with your pricing, but that requires data. You need some method of being able to record the data that you need to know whether your price is in the right place - whether you need to move it up or start giving some concessions.” - Warren Lieberman
“I never want to downplay to what someone else is doing. I'm better than they are, then I'm going to be worth a higher price. That's what value is. If you go out to a restaurant and get really good service, would you go back? Yes! What if it was pricier? You'd still go back because you got better service and a better product.” - Jim Mooney
"It's good to be informed on your competition. I don't want to ignore them, but I don't want to respond too strongly to them either." - Warren Lieberman
"We did a survey of 10,000 facilities on their pricing. We found out that two-thirds of those operators didn't change the price of a single unit of the course of a month." - Warren Lieberman
“Rate increases and value pricing are the number one ways to grow your revenue.” - Jim Mooney
"Tenants in more convenient units tend to be less price sensitive." - Warren Lieberman
"The size of the unit is only one aspect of what people are willing to pay for." - Warren Lieberman


Foundational marketing strategies to have in place - whether leasing up or stabilized:

  • Website
  • Set up listings (Yelp, Google My Business, Apple Maps)
  • Social Media
  • Establish Local Partnerships

Lease up marketing strategies:

  • Lead Generating Strategies (like digital ads)
  • Aggregators (Sparefoot, Storagefront, etc.)
  • Awareness Campaigns (like billboards, flyers, and sponsorships)

Your average customer value
Find the average stay length of all tenants. Next take your economic occupancy and divide by how many units you have. That will tell you what the average customer pays.

Multiply the average length of stay by what the average customer pays, and that's the average value of a customer.

For example, if a customer stays for 12 months and pays $100 per month, then their value is $1,200.

Your average lead value

Figure out your closing rate (or conversion rate) i.e. how many leads do you turn into tenants? Multiply that by your average customer lifetime value to figure out what your leads are worth. 

Pro Tip: see which lead sources are converting the best. It may be that certain sources have a higher conversion rate, so those leads are worth more to you than a source that barely converts.

Typical Lease-up timeline

According to our panelists, it's typical to see a 3-4% increase each month, putting your facility at 36% after the first year, and 72% after the second.

Alternately, you can look at your lease up goals through the lens of your units, aiming for 20 units rented per month.

For Nick and StorageMax, they pro forma their economic occupancy at 85% with their sweet spot at 92%.

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