A Simple And Honest Tactic For Getting Higher Prices

by Kenny Pratt

Here’s the trick in a nutshell…

If you wish your property managers could rent more units at higher rates or with no discounts you need to give them a way to test a higher price without fear of losing the sale.

In the first part of this post I outline why your property managers are quoting the lowest authorized prices on a consistent basis.

In the second half I show you how you can put together a follow up process that allows your property managers to quote the full price (or a higher price if they aren’t allowed to discount)  on your storage spaces without fear of losing the sale (including some key phrases that make this work).

Why Property Managers Quote The Lowest Prices and BIGGEST Move-in Specials

On one hand you wonder why they (meaning your awesome property managers) aren’t able to get more for your units or why they are offering discounts on nearly every rental, and on the other you are hounding them to rent more units and maybe your paying them bonuses on their net move-ins.

Because so much is riding on the rental your property managers do what any property manager would do, and they offer the biggest, most audacious discount they are allowed to give in hopes that the prospective customer will choose to do business with them. (Maybe this is a slight exaggeration, your property managers are probably more high-minded, but go with me for a minute…)

This is perfectly logical behavior ESPECIALLY if you think you only have one shot to make the sale.

If you are in do-or-die situation you hold nothing back.  When it’s do-or-die, you go out with all your guns blazing (you might even stick a knife in your boot for good measure – just in case).

  • But what if asking the prospective customer wasn’t a one time opportunity?
  • What if it wasn’t do-or-die?
  • What if you could reliably adjust your price and move in special based on what your prospective customers found in the marketplace?

If you could do those things then it would open up a whole new world of possiblity for you.

You would increase your asking rates and  stop offering discounts to the subset of prospective customers who are going to rent with you regardless of the price (people like former customers, or relatives of currrent customers, or the guy who lives down the street and wants his stuff close and never considered storing anywhere else but with you.)

If you could put your full price out there and then adjust if it wasn’t making the sale, you would be in a position of power.

A Six Step Process For Using Effective Follow Up To Get Higher Prices

Now that you see where I’m coming from, here’s the quick process that solves the problem.

  1. After you do everything you can to showcase your property and why any person in their right mind would want to store with you, you quote your highest price for the storage space.
  2. .
  3. You invite them to move forward. Something like “It looks like we have a great storage space for you, when would you like to come fill out the paperwork, later today or maybe tomorrow?”
  4. .
  5. You learn from their answer. If they follow your lead and begin to set the appointment you’re golden. You have a new customer on her way that is going to pay you full price. If they resist setting an appointment or indicate that “they are still shopping around” then you go into recovery mode.
  6. .
  7. When you follow up with the prospective customer, ask about what they have found while shopping around and where they are leaning. (You do have a name, a number, and/or an email don’t you?)
  8. .
  9. Based on your current vacancy in the desired size and how aggressive you are willing to be, you adjust your quoted price, or move-in special so that it is more competitive.   Simply adjust your approach (price, special, size, location of unit) based on your occupancy and how badly you need the sale.   You don’t have to win every deal.   However, if you have a ton of vacant units in a given size,  then it is better to get some revenue from them, than none at all.
  10. .
  11. Ask for the rental again. This time you are more competitive (but only as competitive as you need or want to be, and no more).

Some Self Storage Follow Up Phrases to Help You Get the Job Done

1.  “Let me check with my co-worker.” OR “Let me check my inventory”

When you ask the prospective customer to come fill out the rental paperwork and they indicate they aren’t ready, then you need a way to rewind to adjust your offer. It might sound something like, “I understand you want to shop around a little before making a decision. I’d love to have your business. Let me check my inventory and see if I can’t come up with a better deal for you. Can I call you back this afternoon to let you know what I come up with?”

2. “What have you found so far?”

You ask the prospective customer what they have found when you call them back BEFORE you quote them the new price. This way you know what they are comparing you to. You also have a really good idea for what it will take to be competitive and you won’t accidentally quote a price or move in special that is too low or aggressive.

3. “If I could do [Name New Deal] would that entice you to do business with me?”

This is a final attempt at testing the waters and asking for committment from your prospective customer. This is especially useful if you are quoting on a size with a lot of vacancy and therefore you have a lot of flexibility in what you offer. You are hoping the prospect says yes, and if you have come this far they probably will. However, it never hurts to leave yourself an option of adjusting further.

4. If they say “No” to number 3 above, then ask, “I’d love to have your business, what would it take?”

Some people think this is a good question to ask early in the sales process.   I disagree.

Asking the “what will it take to earn your business” or something similar early in the sales process is unreliable because it assumes the prospective customer knows what she wants. Many don’t.

Most people are using the shopping process as a way to get educated about storage.  They are finding out what is available, and why it might be important. If you are asking this question in the context described here, as part of a follow up conversation, then you are at the very end of the process and the prospective customer is on the verge of storing with you or someone else.  By this time they ought to be able to answer the question, “what will it take?” with as much clarity as they ever will.

In Summary

Effective follow up allows you to ask for higher prices and avoid unnecessary discounting. With an effective follow up process in place the first interaction is not a do-or-die proposition, and your property managers no longer feel compelled to quote the lowest price up front.  Follow the six step process outlined above and you can start renting more units at higher prices while still capturing the price sensitive shoppers.

This Is the Third Post In a Series About Follow Up

If you missed the first post that outlines three cases when follow up is really helpful, you can check it out here.

The second post in the series: Warning: Your Offer To Beat Competitor’s Prices May Not Be Working walks you through why offering to meet or beat your competitors prices and move in specials is misused and usually doesn’t get your prospective customers to call you back.

I’d love to know what you think:

  1. Do you wish your property managers could ask for higher prices or rent with fewer discounts?
  2. Do you give your managers any leeway on the prices they quote prospective customers?  Why, or why not?
  3. Does your property manager have any leeway in what they offer as a move-in special?

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