6 Ways To Make Selling Practice Easy

by Kenny Pratt

Most armchair quarterbacks would make terrible quarterbacks in real life.

Most guys watching football are out of shape and slow. They are weak compared to even the worst guy on the field. Even if they were strong they wouldn’t be able to effectively block, or tackle, cover a receiver, or throw the ball. They spend too much time watching and not enough time practicing football skills.

Wouldn’t you agree that there is huge difference between knowing what a player is supposed to do on a given play and actually being able to do it?

There is a giant gap between knowing and doing. Learning what is effective helps you see where you are deficient.

Learning exposes the gap. Practice closes it.

But forget about professional athletes. You don’t need to get that good. Let’s lower the bar and learn something from the little kids who take piano lessons. (I know all about this. I have three daughters who take piano lessons.)

Most kids learning piano have a lesson once per week. If you take my kids as an example, they have a lesson one day each week and they practice and additional four or five days for about 30 minutes per day.

Here are 4 powerful observations taken from the experience of little children learning piano that you can use to build self storage sales effectiveness in your organization.

  1. The real power is in the practice between lessons. The lesson is like a guidepost. It is important and points you in the right direction, but the real ground is covered during the daily practice sessions between lessons.
  2. .
  3. Practice can be enjoyable. Sometimes my daughters are practicing because they have to, but most often they enjoy the process of learning new skills and refining their ability to make music. I bet you and your store managers like learning and growing too.
  4. .
  5. Consistent practice speeds up progress. That’s just how the brain works. When you do something consistently, you learn faster than if you only do it once in a while. Just like I have seen my daughters get a little rusty on their performance pieces if they have taken some time off from their practice routine, I have seen my self storage managers get rusty when it’s been a while since we have focused on certain parts of the sales process like making an invitation to rent.
  6. .
  7. Scheduling the practice increases consistency. My girls have set times for practicing each day to make it easy for them to get into a consistent practice rhythm. Scheduling also makes accountability easier. I know that if Sarah is not playing at 8:30 in the morning, that something is wrong (we home-school, so my daughters practice the piano throughout the day).
  8. .

Once you realize that you need your self storage managers practice if you are going to get anywhere with your self storage sales program, the next question becomes, “how do I help them?”.

Here are 6 tips to help you build practice into your property manager’s routine.

  1. Schedule the practice time. It’s easy to put things off if they are not urgent (like a ringing phone), not in your face (like a customer), and don’t have an immediate pay-off (like eating lunch). Learn from piano students the world over, and schedule time for practice. I recommend you set the time to be first thing in the morning after your store opening routine. If there are customers first thing in the morning, then practice at your first break in the action.
  2. .
  3. Create some uninterrupted time. If you are really serious about seeing improvement, then send a clear message to your on-site staff and schedule them to come 30 minutes before you open or stay 30 minutes past your close in order to have some consistent, uninterrupted practice time.

    Even when you have to pay time and a half for any overtime induced by the practicing, the investment will be quickly rewarded. A single new renter converted due to the increased skill will more than offset the expense.

  4. Be clear about what you want your storage managers to practice. If you are not describing specific, observable behaviors you are probably not being concrete enough. In case you missed it, this post outlines why focusing on behavior will build self storage sales effectiveness quickly and shows you how to do it.

    Again, we can learn from little girls who play the piano. The piano teacher shows them how to position their hands and asks them to do the same when practicing. She tells them specifically which fingers to use to play which notes in a given phrase of music so that their hands will be well positioned to play upcoming phrase. Over time it becomes intuitive, but at first it must be explained as concrete behavior and/or demonstrated.


    Abstraction is what experts do. Beginners need concrete.

  5. Create plan to practice only one small skill (or piece of a skill) each week. No one becomes Chopin or Vivaldi or a sales genius all at once. Skills are built line-upon-line, step-by-step. Focusing on one small win at a time ensures quick success. Over here I elaborate on small wins.
  6. .
  7. Use tracking numbers to keep your managers accountable (Here’s a step by step guide).
  8. .
  9. Give effective and timely feedback on the quality of the practice and the results you are seeing.

We’d all like to hear what is working for you. What are you doing to help your store managers practice? What results are you getting?

If you’ve enjoyed this post, you might want to see some of the others in the Creating Self Storage Sales Culture series.  Here are some of the posts in the series:

Focus On Behavior To Improve A Property Manager’s Selling Strength

Small Wins Lead To Selling Success

Storytelling – A Secret Weapon In Your Effort To Create A Sales Culture

6 Ways To Make Selling Practice Easy

Photo Credit: TexasDarkHorse

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