Some salespeople think if they are persuasive and persistent enough, they can get people to give in and buy. But fact of the matter is you cannot sell anyone anything. People make up their own minds. You can put your offer in front of them. You can rattle off features and benefits. You can make it easy to buy. You can even tailor your offering to market research. But when you get to the point of decision, it is the prospect who makes the call. However, you can help him talk himself into the sale. How? Ask the right questions and have confidence in your offer.
The right questions help the prospect sort out all the things to consider and emerge with solutions to problems that involve your service or product. They make it plain to your prospect that buying what you offer is a good idea. Confidence in your offering suggests you have had many happy customers. It tells people you believe your product is a good value for the money. Finally, it means you are not afraid to ask for the business or to approach people who are not yet ready to buy.
Good salespeople ask an initial set of qualifying questions. The answers can tell you where your prospect is in the buying process, what his expectations and requirements are, and what sort of experience he has had with your industry in the past. The next set of questions helps the prospect visualize using your product or service and experiencing the pleasures of ownership.
The right questions help the prospect determine how your offering can be used and how he will see benefit and value. There is an old sales adage that says, “If the salesperson says it, it might be hogwash. If the prospect says it, it must be truth.” If you tell your prospect he will be happy storing his belongings at your facility, he might not believe you. But if, after some good questions, he tells you he will be satisfied with your service, he will believe it.
One of the most powerful questions to ask is, “If you picture putting your belongings in our 10-by-10 or 10-by-15, which one do you think would work better for you?” Now, this question involves some setup so it sounds natural and helpful. Many sales closings have been lost by those who didn’t use the right line of questioning or wait for the right time to ask. If you master the use of this question, it can be very effective. But remember not to shoot until you see the whites of their eyes.
Close With Confidence
Confidence in your offering comes into play as soon as someone asks, “How much is a storage unit?” This question translated into real language means “Please tell me the value of your facility.” If you hesitate when giving the price or sound remotely apologetic, your prospect will get spooked and run. When he responds to your price with a grumble, he is seeing if you think the price is too high. Most people have no idea what storage costs. The best way for a customer to determine if you are overpriced is to suggest that you are and then gauge your reaction. If you are not confident, you will not get the rental.
If the prospect sees that your pricing doesn’t make you flinch or quiver, he is likely to agree with it. Use positive phrasing, such as, “Our 10-by-10 is only $167, which is a really good rate for the area.” This tells your prospect you know prices in the market and yours is not too high for the value. It goes a long way in allowing him to sell himself on your store.
Confidence is also important when explaining your site’s features. If you don’t express pride in your security and convenience measures, prospects will not realize what makes your facility special. You need them to understand your value and how you differ from competitors. You want them to think, “Well, it sounds like this place has got everything I might need, and the rent isn’t too bad, either.” After that, it’s easy for them to conclude, “Ah, I might as well just rent here.”
Don’t sell. Be aware of your prospects’ thought processes. Help them talk themselves into renting from you. Ask good questions and have confidence in your store. Then simply ask, “Which day would you like to move in?” Good luck and good selling.
Tron Jordheim is the director of PhoneSmart, which serves the self-storage industry as an off-site sales force that turns missed calls into rentals. This rollover-call service serves as a backup to store managers. Mr. Jordheim has started several successful businesses from scratch and assisted with acquisitions as general manager of the Mid-Missouri Culligan Bottled Water franchise. For more information call 866.639.1715;