A Solution To The “Not Enough Practice” Problem

by Kenny Pratt

Getting enough practice time is a big challenge for self storage managers who want to improve their phone sales skills.

When I checked my call recording data for several of my stores ranging in size from 600-800 units I found that my property managers were answering, on average, fewer than 2 phone calls per day from prospective customers.

Consider that most of your stores are renting less than 50 units per month and that not all of the new tenants talked to your store manager over the phone before renting. It is easy to see that my numbers aren’t that unusual, and even if your stores are busier than mine your managers are likely fielding fewer than 3 prospective customer calls on an average day.

Can you imagine a basketball player getting better at free throws by only shooting 2 or 3 a day? 

If you want your property managers to get better, you need to give them more practice opportunities. If you invest in training your managers it is because you hope they will change their behavior and adopt the best practices, but gaining the new skills requires practice.

Of course they can role-play with coworkers, and they should. However, role playing can get tedious especially if the person playing the part of the customer isn’t very creative (ask your store manager if you don’t believe me). Also, with role playing it is difficult to get real feedback like you do when dealing with real customers. With real customers you know if they rent or reserve or if they don’t. When determining whether a role play was good or bad, you are making an educated guess at best.

So here’s a solution…

If you have multiple facilities, route the calls from multiple locations to a single store manager. Put one of your property managers on the hot seat, and act like a call center rep for a week or two. Let them focus intensely on learning how to be more effective on the phone, and use this technique to give them the opportunity to practice with the same intensity.

For many property managers the answer to getting better at phone sales isn’t “try harder”, but rather “practice more”. This is one way to help that happen.

Will it take some preparation? Sure. But sometimes you have to do things differently if you want a different result.

  • Amy

    Kenny, I stumbled onto your blog today and I must applaud you on your practical, yet insightful, posts. I’m not a storage manager or owner, but I write for the industry. Thanks for sharing all your great tips! I’ve been clicking on post after post for the past couple hours – can’t get enough.

  • The Self-Storage MGR

    Great advice, Kenny.

    I totally agree. Practice is the key. We all know WHAT to do, it’s just a matter of having enough repetition to make it habit.

    I know you discounted role-playing just a little but it can be a huge help if that’s all you can do.

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