Training Self-Storage Managers to Use New Sales Tools: Teach, Practice, Role-Play

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When training, be sure to approach the activity from all four areas, but emphasize those in which your staff is dominant. People who are weak at hearing but strong on doing can be told 50 times how to use a new tool. But until you walk them through the process and let them try it a few times on their own, they won’t understand or retain what you’re trying to teach.

Also, explain the “why” and “how” of the new management tool. Employees are used to being assigned busy work, or having superiors who sometimes create processes and tasks that make no sense and create no value.

Often, an employee’s first reaction to a new tool can be skepticism. You need to sell the employee on why this tool is helpful, profitable and will improve business. Then you need to show how it will make his life easier, better and more productive. Buy-in is absolutely essential. If employees are not sold on the how and the why, your implementation will fail.
 
Design a Training Program

When introducing a new tool, you need a training program, something that will guide you and your staff through the process. Many service providers have tutorials, webinars and user guides that will make it easy for you to create the training program. But not all vendors will have training programs, so you made need to create one of your own.

For example, let’s say you want to train your staff on a new lead-tracking tool that resides on your facility’s website. Explain how and why this will better track leads, create superior reports to evaluate sales activity, and make the manager’s life easier. Have a set of instructions the employee can read and keep for reference.

Next, visit the website and work through several leads while the employee watches you go through the steps. Talk your way through the process. Then let the employee try a few practice leads. Talk him through it the first few times, and then let him do it independently. He might make some errors. Correct the mistakes only if he cannot yet self-correct.

Repetition is another essential part of training, so you may need to replicate the training exercise many times before it becomes automatic.
 
The Value of Role-Playing

Role-playing is another important part of any employee-training system. This should not be confused with practice, where you rehearse and repeat an activity on your own until you master it. Role-playing is when you recreate the situation with a training helper. One of you can pose as the customer, the other as the manager.

For example, let’s say you’re implementing a new move-in process to cut down on the time spent on the lease and better capture customer-tracking information. The owner can pose as a customer while the manager walks through the leasing process. He can practice doing the procedure until he knows it inside and out.

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