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How to Botch a Sale

Tron Jordheim Comments
Posted in Articles, Archive

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 you’re 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 won’t need to learn any of the other great ways to lose a sale, because you’ll never get that far.

2. Don’t ask any qualifying questions.

If you don’t know anything about a prospect’s situation or needs, you will certainly blow the sale. Let the customer tell you whatever he wants—just don’t ask him any questions that relate to how he might use your product and service or what he’s looking for in a provider.

3. Don’t paint any visuals for the prospect.

If a customer can’t 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 can’t see how his storage experience will be great, he’ll choose not to have the experience at all.

4. Don’t 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, you’ll be sure to blow the sale. So don’t encourage the customer when he compliments your location or pricing structure, and don’t go out of your way to help him or give him anything he wants.

5. Don’t 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 don’t ask if the property is conveniently located or if they like the extra effort you’ve made to keep the place clean and secure. Don’t ask if they think the size unit you showed them would suit their purpose. Don’t ask if your price sounds right. If you’re careful to avoid asking closing questions, people will shrug their shoulders and walk away.

6. Don’t 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 won’t. 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 you’ll weed these common errors out of your selling repertoire. We’re all guilty of failing to focus on prospects from time to time. But there’s 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, you’ll 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

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