We spend a lot of time learning and practicing the right things to say to prospects and customers, which is a good thing but not the most important. The key words are those customers are saying to themselves. The whole time you are talking to a customer, that person is also talking to himself.
Prospects talk themselves into buying or not buying. While you talk, they are evaluating your every move, gestures, facial expressions and the words you say. If they find you credible, helpful and respectful, they might give you their business. If you arent careful, theyll hear everything you say as, Blah, blah, blah, blah, and tell themselves to go elsewhere.
This is why its always better to get prospects talking about themselves and their situations. You can learn a lot, including how to frame your response. When youre speaking to their concerns, theyll like what you say.
Heres what your prospects should be telling themselves: Sounds like a good place to store. Seems like nice people to deal with. I guess the price isnt too bad. I probably ought to sign up now so I dont spend all day on this. OK, Ill rent with this guy. Their next question will be whether you take cash, check or plastic.
If you arent speaking to the customers concerns and presenting your property with confidence, heres what theyll say to themselves: This place is the same as all the rest, and it needs a cleaning. This manager acts like hes embarrassed by the price. This cant be good. What is he going on and on about? I just had a simple question. Im in a hurry. I dont have time to listen to this all day. I bet I can find something cheaper since the manager seems scared of my question about price. I better go somewhere else. The prospects will say theyll get back to youand youll never hear from them again.
I know you must cover certain points to make sure youre creating value in your property, such as mentioning facility location and best features. But if youre doing this without being sensitive to the unspoken dialogue, youre talking yourself out of a customer.
No, youre not a mind reader, but you can pick up on signals. If your prospects are distracted or fidgety or act impatient, these are signs that youre not making a connection and theyre getting ready to bolt.
Reflect how you act the next time youre shopping or standing in line at a restaurant. Listen to the things youre telling yourself. Youre no different than your customers. Remember that when you answer the next phone call or greet the person walking in the door.
Tron Jordheim is the director of PhoneSmart, an off-site sales force that helps storage owners rent to more people through its call center, secret-shopping service, sales-training programs and Want2Store.com facility locator. You can read what he is up to at www.selfstorageblog.com. For more information, e-mail [email protected].