Self Storage Sales – Make a Better Invitation

by Kenny Pratt

Too many self storage managers are missing an opportunity when they invite prospective customers to “come see the unit”  or “come check out the facility”.

Don’t get me wrong, inviting the prospect to do something is a good strategy.  I recommend that you make your first invitation an invitation to rent a storage space.  In this video I outline why I make this recommendation and give you some sample wording that you can use when making the invitation.

Here’s the summary:

  • Invite your prospects to move forward toward renting a storage space.
  • Ask for the commitment you really want, i.e. ask the prospect to reserve the self storage space and give you a deposit or come to the store and fill out the rental paperwork.
  • If they say “no” you can fall back to a softer invitation, i.e. to simply come visit your store and get a better idea of what you have to offer.

This is a video post and I’m including the transcript below for convenience.    I know sometimes I want to hear or see one small part of a presentation, but I don’t want to spend the time trying to find the one segment of video I was looking for.   All of my premium (paid) video content will have written transcripts or summaries to make review easier and to suit those who would rather read than watch.  My premium video content will also have worksheets and other resources to help on-site self storage managers learn and apply the material as easily as possible.

One word of caution:  There are run on sentences and other grammatical errors.  This is a transcript of me talking, not an article about the same topic.  We all tend to talk less formally than when we write (that’s why you can tell when someone is reading their speech or presentation).  Let me know what you think.

— Begin Transcript —

Hey, I’m Kenny Pratt with http://sellingstorage.com and I’ve got another video blog post for you.

This time I’m going to talk a little more specifically about the invitations you make at the end of your phone calls with prospective customers.

A lot of self storage managers, like I’ve mentioned before, make no invitation at all.  They say something like, “We’re open from 9am to 6pm, come by anytime,” or “Give us a call when you are ready.” They make no invitation at all to move forward with the sales process. So, if you’re making any invitation whatsoever that would invite a prospective customer to move forward with the sales process…you know, good job, keep it up.

I’m going to tell you though that one invitation that I hear quite a bit which is not very effective, or, well It’s a decent invitation. I’m just saying it could be done better. Is to invite prospects to simply come visit the store or come see the unit.

That is a good invitation because we know that if a customer comes into the store they are much more likely to rent than if they are simply just talking to you on the phone. However, I think there is a better way to go about it.

The reason that is a problem, the whole inviting them to just come down to the store is a problem because if they say “no” you’ve really got nothing to fall back on.

So, let me suggest that you ask for something a little more substantial up front. You’d ask for something a little more substantial like asking them for a deposit on the unit or to reserve the unit and make a deposit. Or, alternatively you might ask them to come down to the store, not to see the unit, but instead to fill out the rental paperwork.

So, if you do that… if you make a deeper commitment…if you ask for a bigger commitment, then what that does is it gives you something to fall back on when they say no.

So, a simple way to ask for a commitment… a deeper commitment might be something like this.

“So, Ms. Smith it sounds like we’ve got a storage space that will really work well for you based on all of the things we have talked about.  The next step would be to reserve that unit and make a deposit.  How would you like to take care of that today, with your Visa or MasterCard?”

And so you’ve made an invitation and now your prospect is going to say
“yes” or “no”. If they say “no” then what that tells you is that they’ve got an objection to handle, to overcome.  We’re not going to get into all of that objection handling stuff right this moment, but it’s very powerful to know that.

And what that allows you to do because you have asked to this deeper commitment up front, this more… I guess, important commitment to come rent the space up front.  Now if they have an objection and you are coming back around to invite them again to move forward, you’ve tried to work on that objection and now you are coming back around to help them move forward again, you can fall back on a softer commitment. Namely, a commitment to come visit the store.

So that might sound something like, “OK Mrs. Smith, well you know I can understand you are hesitant to  reserve the unit right now and put down a deposit. You know I’ve had many customers that I’ve talked to over the phone that are still shopping around, they are unfamiliar with storage and they are uncomfortable making a deposit right away… many have felt that way.  What I’ve found is that when people come down to our store and take a look around, gosh they are just blown away by how clean everything is, by how well kept everything is, by how secure the facility and our location is, and you know they feel pleased with how well they are taken care of.  And they go ahead and feel more comfortable at that point. So, what I’d like to do Mrs. Smith is have you come on down to the store and take a look around.  In fact, I’m so confident you’ll like it when you get here that if you’ll come on down I’ll throw in one of those hardened steel, really high security disc locks that are great for storage, just for stopping by.  Even if you end up not renting with me.  I’ll throw that in just as a thank you for spending a little bit of time with me. So what do you say, would you come on down to visit us at our store?  What would work better for you, later today, or tomorrow, or maybe this weekend?

So you are throwing out… there I’m throwing out a kind of a very soft invitation for them to move forward. For them to do something to move forward with the sales process. Namely, to come visit the store.

So, rather than starting with the invite to visit the store why not ask for what you really want.  What you really want is the sale.  So go ahead and ask for that.  Ask for them to come to give you a reservation and a deposit if you are set up to take deposits at your store. Or, alternatively, invite them to come fill out the rental paperwork and move forward with the sale that way.  Then if they have an objection you can always fall back to a simple invite to visit the store.

So let me summarize.

You are going to invite the prospects to move forward. If they say “yes”, you are a winner.

If they say “no”, you know that you have some objections to overcome.

And when you have done some talking and some talking about or some discovery of their objections and you are inviting them again to make some progress towards closing the sale.  You are going to invite them with something softer.  You can… you are open, you have the ability to invite them with something softer because you started out with asking for the sale.

And in this case I’m asking you to come visit the store because that would be a great outcome as well.

Well that kinda wraps up this little vidoe tip today.  If you liked it I’d recommend you take a peak over at my email newsletter. It comes about once per week and you’ll start off with getting six, kind of a six part series… selling storage persuasion series that help and outline some really simple behaviors that a self storage can take to really boost their persuasive skills.

So, I’m Kenny Pratt with selling storage dot com.  Until next time.

  • Gabriella Hurtado

    I really like the lesson, it’s very refreshing. I totally agreed with you, if we get the commitment from the customer, we have a greater percentage to close the sale. Mahalo

  • Mark Schultz

    I thought the lesson made a very good point. I never actually thought about what the invitation to come rent could mean other than its obvious meaning. I am going to immediately start offering to take a deposit right away or set up the paperwork to rent the unit right away as kenny said. I think it will definitely increase the chances of the prospective customer coming to rent from us. I know that other companies in the area do not make this offer, and I think people would really appreciate the gesture

  • Jim Uding

    It’s kind of like never asking a question where you could get a no.
    Would you rather have the red or the blue?
    I have not though of throwing in a lock as a spiff.. that seems nice.

    Jim

  • http://personalministorage.com Joel Patterson

    The lock idea is excellent, really good way to secure the appointment if they don’t hold the space with a credit card over the phone.

  • Ramona Jones

    Kenny, you are amazing! Someday I will take the time to go through all of your selling storage ideas because I know they will have many other applications. Thanks for including Ivan and me in our email newsletters.

    -Ramona

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