11 Questions That Unleash Your Property Manager’s Best Sales Effort

by Kenny Pratt

Motivating storage managers to sell is a lot like surfing because its easy to do all the wrong things.

When I first tried surfing I exhausted myself trying to “catch” waves.

I sat on top of my surfboard with my feet dangling in the cool water and watched the waves roll in. Time after time I would see a wave approach and I would turn myself around so that I was pointing toward shore, lay flat on my stomach and paddle mightily trying to catch the wave.

After about 45 minutes, with my arms feeling like Jello and my ribs sore from laying on the hard deck of the surfboard I paddled back out and rested, to tired to continue trying to catch waves over and over again. As luck would have it after about 10 minutes of resting on my board a wave approached and began to break.  I happened to be in just the right spot to be picked up by the wave and with just a couple of strokes I started sliding down the face of the now-sloped water.

In that moment, I realized success had everything to do with putting myself in the right position in the ocean and very little to do with how hard I could paddle to catch the wave. Once I put myself in the right position the unyielding forward progress of the ocean took over.

A surfboard doesn’t have a motor because all of the power you need is in the waves that are passing under (or over) you.

The same is true in your organization. There is more power rolling under the surface than you may recognize.

As owners  or managers we spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to push our people forward. Often this is the wrong approach, akin to paddling and paddling in an effort to catch a wave.

Instead, it might be time to rest a minute.

Instead of pushing (paddling), work on finding and surfacing your organization’s higher purpose.  Tapping into values and ideals bigger and higher than yourself positions you in the path of an existing wave of emotional energy.   This emotional energy remains dormant in most organizations.  Now that you know the secret, you can use it to build your business and serve your customers and community.

Here are some action items to get you started on finding, surfacing, and channeling this untapped reserve of energy and passion.

  1. Recognize that you don’t have to be the boss to instill a sense of purpose into what you do, and what your company does. Purpose comes from the heart, not from the marketing department. If you are not at the top, feel free to start from where you are, look for a higher purpose, and then start spreading the idea through your sphere of influence. (Hint: This might be the biggest idea in this entire blog post.)
  2. .
  3. Survey your company landscape. Do you see or hear anything going on at your store or corporate office that would indicate people are working for anything more noble and inspiring than trying to make a few bucks?
  4. .
  5. Ask the people who work for you (or with you) what they think the company stands for. Did you get corporate-speak or a blank stare? If so, you know you are missing the mark. If, instead, you get responses that are connected to deep values or that stir the soul, then you are on the right track, keep going.
  6. .
  7. Is there any consistency to the answers you are hearing to the question in number 3? If you are on track, how can you push those feelings into the nooks and crannies of your organization? (Yes, you actually have to stop and think for a minute. I’m not in a position to prescribe how you should make this happen.)
  8. .
  9. If you asked you customers what your company stands for would their answers agree with your answers? If there is a disconnect, how are you going to bring the two together?
  10. .
  11. How can your purpose be big enough, and overt enough that it actually makes a difference? A lot of companies have a mission statement that is collecting dust somewhere and is having no effect on the processes of the organization or the behaviors of the people in the organization. Remember this: it’s not what the mission is, it’s what the mission does. If you have a mission statement, maybe now is the time to dust it off and ask if it is doing anything. Or, put differently, is it inspiring any doing.
  12. .
  13. If you realize that your organization is falling short when it comes to having a greater purpose, then it is time to pick something and start pushing on it. So the action item in this case is to decide. What do you choose? What do you want to stand for? (Remember, the purpose doesn’t have to be necessarily charitable. For example, consider Google stated purpose to “Organize the World’s Information.”)
  14. .
  15. How is your employee recruiting, selection, and training process going to change to support your bigger purpose?
  16. .
  17. From a marketing perspective, does identifying a bigger purpose push you away from the cluttered middle and out toward the more distinguished edge? Can you leverage your newly surfaced purpose in a way that will make you less boring and less commoditized? As Andy Sernovitz said, “Advertising is the price of being boring.” Can you leverage your bigger purpose to be less boring?
  18. .
  19. Once you stand for something bigger how are you going to prove to yourself and your employees that this is for real and not another round of lip-service?
  20. .
  21. How are you going to show the world?

P.S. If you doubt that adding a sense of purpose can help you drive your business forward contemplate this: the book, The Purpose Driven Life, has sold 25 million copies and is the best-selling hardback book in American history, according to Publisher’s Weekly.

Photo Credit: seabed7

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