Self Storage Sales Scripts – Why and Why Not

by Kenny Pratt

Here’s the summary: Self storage sales scripts are generally  good for beginners, but can also cause problems.  Problems get worse as property managers become more proficient.

Good For The Beginner

Sales scripts have a lot going for them, especially since most self storage operators are not hiring experienced, professional sales people.  A good script has benefits:

  1. It outlines the sales process from start to finish and give a self storage property manager an overview of how a call will progress from the greeting through the invitation to rent.
  2. It gives a self storage property manager clear, focused direction to help them get started down the path to becoming more effective on the phone.
  3. It’s easy to measure compliance through mystery shops or by reviewing recorded phone conversations.

Not So Good For The Beginner

For the beginner, scoring or grading based on a script can produce a lot of anxiety.  Without adequate training, coaching, and feedback, a self storage property manager begins to feel anxiety when the phone rings with a prospective customer on the line.  What should be a celebrated moment (as in, YES!  someone is calling us and wants to do business with us) becomes fraught with apprehension and dread.  (I know, I did this to my store managers when we first started evaluating phone calls).

Not So Good For The More Experienced

I am assuming you have some sort of formal or informal evaluation process that grades or evaluates the selling skills of your self storage property manager.  If this is the case, you will get the same results that every sales organization gets when there are high-stakes objectives.   Property managers with some experience with your script and evaluation process they will start gaming the system and working toward saying the right phrases, even at the expense of being as effective as possible.

Once the self storage property manager has mastered some of the basic skills like getting a name, getting a phone number, and asking discovery questions, etc. then he or she may be most effective when given a little latitude.  Each person has their own style, and their own voice, and sometimes that means moving beyond the script.

A budding artist goes to art school and is taught various techniques.  She practices the techniques diligently and is evaluated on her level of mastery.  As her training progresses, achievement is based less on completing exercises and more on creating something unique and stirring with the tools and techniques that are now becoming second nature.

Once she has mastered the techniques, true mastery of her art requires her to step off well worn paths and make something that resonates with a person’s soul.

I’m arguing that as a self storage property manager begins to become a sales professional, then the reins need to be loosened so that she has the opportunity to really connect with the prospective customer and care for the prospective customer in creative and helpful ways.  Ways that a tight script will never achieve.

The Recommendation

  1. Develop a script or an outline as a framework for your managers who are learning to become sales professionals.  If you need help, shoot me an email or give me a call.
  2. Use the script as a tool to model effective skills and building blocks of the sales process.
  3. Don’t tie any rewards or immediate punishments to your evaluation process.  Use the evaluation simply as a diagnostic tool to help you to know when and where more training or coaching is needed.  Think of mystery shop scores like feedback in a game.  The game becomes fun, in some part,  precisely because you know where you stand.
  4. If you are going to reprimand, make it based on a property manager’s unwillingness or inability to make improvements (assuming you have given them a reasonable amount of support and coaching).  If you don’t do any support or coaching, then it becomes hard to lay all of the blame at your property manager’s feet.  You hired them didn’t you?
  5. Encourage the heart.  This is new ground for most of the people you employ.  You want them to want to pick up the phone.
  6. As your property managers become more proficient at the fundamentals extend them some trust.  To really create the strongest bonds with prospective customers and do their best work at selling your property and service they may need some leeway to veer off course without fear of being punished or continually second-guessed by a supervisor.

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