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Knowledge = Sales Power in Self-Storage: Building Trust and Value With Customers

Brad North Comments
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Know Your Competitors

To sell against competitors, you must know them better than they know themselves. This way you can easily overcome pricing objections and turn any self-storage prospect into a customer.

It’s also extremely important to build relationships with your competition. Make at least quarterly visits to competing stores. While at each location, observe how the staff handles phone and walk-in customers. Ask yourself:  

  • Do they provide a features-and-benefits presentation?
  • Do they provide any helpful hints about using self-storage?
  • Do they ask for the appointment with phone customers?
  • Do they take walk-in customers through the sales process in a positive way?  

Observe each facility’s features so you understand the unique advantages you provide to customers relative to this competitor. Make a lot of mental notes during your visit and write them down as soon as you can. The longer you delay in documenting your observations, the more likely it is that you’ll forget this valuable information.

Note: Don’t ever “bash” your competition when talking with customers. Instead find ways of selling your differential advantages. Remember, you must know your competitors to sell against them. Having this information will give you a great deal of confidence. 

Use the Knowledge

Now that you have information about your customers and competitors, make sure you have a strong program for following up with leads. Always ask the prospect for a name and phone number during the phone-sales presentation. If the caller isn’t ready to make an appointment, send him a brochure or coupon, and set a time to follow up with him.

This proactive approach tells the customer you care about him and want his business, and creates an appointment for a visit. Industry statistics show that when a prospect visits a facility, he rents a unit more than 85 percent of the time. If you become proficient in generating visits to your site, you’ll become successful in your self-storage operation.

Brad North is the founder of Advantage Consulting & Management, which specializes in facility management, feasibility, onsite sales, marketing and operational training to the self-storage industry. He’s a frequent contributor to various industry publications and a nationally recognized speaker and consultant. For more information, call 678.491.7984; visit

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