How to Botch a Sale

A lot has been written about how to make a sale, but I would like to address the ways in which you can fumble a simple self-storage transaction. There are plenty of means to this end, but the best can be summarized with a few general guidelines. If you really want to blow the sale:

1. Be disinterested.

If your prospect feels youre not interested in his needs, you will succeed in blowing the sale. Failure to make eye contact or smile, allowing yourself to be distracted, and showing general disinterest in what your customer has to say are great ways to get him to walk out the door empty-handed. Put this guideline into practice early in your sales presentation and you wont need to learn any of the other great ways to lose a sale, because youll never get that far.

2. Dont ask any qualifying questions.

If you dont know anything about a prospects situation or needs, you will certainly blow the sale. Let the customer tell you whatever he wantsjust dont ask him any questions that relate to how he might use your product and service or what hes looking for in a provider.

3. Dont paint any visuals for the prospect.

If a customer cant visualize himself putting his belongings into storage or picture what a particular unit might look like, he will not do business with you. You can also blow the sale by failing to describe your security features and conveniences. If a prospect cant see how his storage experience will be great, hell choose not to have the experience at all.

4. Dont make any agreements with people.

During a sale, you are negotiating a storage contract, and there are many items on which you and the customer must agree. If you fail to see eye to eye, youll be sure to blow the sale. So dont encourage the customer when he compliments your location or pricing structure, and dont go out of your way to help him or give him anything he wants.

5. Dont ask any closing questions.

If you fail to ask closing questions that help people make the small decisions that go into renting a storage unit, you will blow the sale. So dont ask if the property is conveniently located or if they like the extra effort youve made to keep the place clean and secure. Dont ask if they think the size unit you showed them would suit their purpose. Dont ask if your price sounds right. If youre careful to avoid asking closing questions, people will shrug their shoulders and walk away.

6. Dont ask for the sale.

This is the easiest way to blow a deal. If you never ask a prospect to rent with you or invite him to sign a lease and move in, chances are he wont. If you do not ask for the business, most people will be glad to oblige and move on to the next facility on their list.

Now that you know exactly how to botch a sale, I hope youll weed these common errors out of your selling repertoire. Were all guilty of failing to focus on prospects from time to time. But theres always a chance to redirect our energy on maximizing revenue. Every sales interaction has the possibility of going south, but by keeping these anti-guidelines in mind, youll avoid the most common pitfalls. Good luck and good selling.

Tron Jordheim is the director of PhoneSmart, an off-site sales force that turns missed calls into rentals. This rollover call service serves as a backup for self-storage managers. Mr. Jordheim has started several successful businesses in addition to assisting with acquisitions as general manager of the Missouri-based Culligan Bottled Water franchise. For more information, call 866.639.1715; e-mail [email protected].

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