5 Self Storage Sales Changes You Should Make Today

by Kenny Pratt

Since you have limited time and resources, here are five big (but doable) improvements you can make right away that will help you convert more prospective customers into renters.

1. Stop assuming it is always about price

It’s not.  Of course price is a big consideration for many buyers, but it is not always the most important factor. Often factors that influence convenience or security are the prospective customer’s top considerations.  You will win more customers when you take the time to understand what they want and then help them to see how you can give it to them.

2. Start caring about your prospective customers

What I mean is to start caring about your prospective customers like real people (not just a means to an end).  Real caring boosts your confidence in what you are selling. Caring boosts the value of what you are selling because, alas, you and your service are part of the product.

3. Start asking questions

When it comes to selling, caring is expressed by asking questions.  You ask questions because you want to know if you can help.   You ask questions because you want to know what it means to the person on the other end of the line to have an exceptional experience.

A coworker of mine was recently shopping for storage.  Although she is not involved in the day to day management of storage facilities, she works with me and has heard me coaching our on-site managers on how to sell more effectively more times than she can remember.  She thought she knew what to expect when she began calling around.  As she called self storage locations near her home, she was shocked at how disinterested the on-site managers were in her, in her priorities, and in her desires.

After the first call she had an idea, more or less, what size storage space she would need.   So, by the second or third call, she would simply ask for the price of the unit size she needed.  The property manager would give the price and quote the special.  Then my coworker would say “Thank you” and the call would end with the property manager warmly signing off with something weak like,  “Let us know when you are ready.”

If this sounds familiar, it’s because thousands of these same conversations are happening every day.  Call –> Price Request –>  Price Given –> hang up.

An on-site manager needs to learn to ask questions. Care enough to engage the prospective customer in a dialogue (i.e. a two-way conversation) and discover what kind of space and experience they are looking for.  Only then can you help the prospective customer feel like your location has what they need and want.

4. Start inviting shoppers to move forward

Many on-site managers never ask their callers to do anything to move the sale forward.  A shopper moves forward when they commit to renting, when they get closer to actually renting by paying  a deposit,  committing to visiting your  location,  or reserving the move-in truck.  (For more on this topic check out this Self Storage Sales Training Video).

When you wait for the customer to take the lead give up the high ground.  When you fail to make a clear invitation to do something to move the sale (rental) forward, you are walking away from your place as a consultant and influencer.  You are demoting yourself to passive order taker.

Copy writers, the people who sell with the written word, call this invitation a “call to action”.  It is as basic to selling as water is to farming.

5. Start following up.

Your prospective customers are busy. They are skeptical.  They are distracted.  Some may not be willing to make a commitment to rent from you or visit your property even if you ask them to.  They feel compelled to shop around, no matter how good you are.

Create a system to ensure you follow up adequately with your prospective customers sometime after your initial contact, but before they make a final decision.  Often, that can be as early as later the same day.

Great follow up will cover a myriad of sales sins.

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