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Self-Storage Retail: Become a Merchandise-Selling, Cash-Extracting Expert

Kenny Pratt Comments
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Three Big Insights to Selling More Stuff

In his book Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping, Paco Underhill, a consultant to major retailers around the world, outlines three simple insights on how to help people buy more merchandise. The first is there is a direct correlation between the amount of time people spend shopping and the amount of money they spend. Second, people only buy the merchandise they actually look at and consider. Third, people only buy things they think they understand. If they don’t “get it,” they don’t buy it.

Think for a moment about your own experience. When you shop, you tend to pick up things and look them over. If you’re shopping for clothes, for example, you feel the fabric and hold items up to yourself. You take them into the dressing room and try them on. The longer you linger, the more you consider. The more you consider, the more you buy.

Except you don’t consider or buy things you don’t understand. Take the Web service Twitter, for example. You’ve probably heard of it because it’s received a lot of press. However, if you’re one of the many who still don’t “get it,” you probably haven’t spent any time looking into it. If your brain doesn’t understand something that’s non-threatening, it considers the item irrelevant. The last thing you want is for your merchandise to be irrelevant to customers.
Making It Easy To Buy

The questions we must answer are now clear: How do we get people to spend more time shopping so they will look and consider more merchandise? How do we make the merchandise easy to understand?

Here’s the process that worked for us: First, we created a coupon for one free box with the purchase of any other merchandise. The coupon is effective not because it motivates people to buy, but because it gives you the opportunity to sell.

Here’s how it works for us: Once the manager has finished moving in a new customer, she stands up and says, “Let me walk you over here for a moment,” heading to the merchandise-display area. Because the customer is in the manager’s world and sees her as the authority on things related to storage, he never hesitates to follow her wherever she leads him.

She then engages the customer, using the coupon as a means to segue the conversation from the storage transaction to a consultation about boxes and moving supplies. She hands him the coupon, saying, “I have a coupon for you for a free box,” and follows with an open-ended question such as, “How many more boxes are you going to need before you’re ready for your move?”

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