Look at Who You’re Hiring
The skill level and past experience of your employees is another reason why you need to move beyond raw incentives and adopt a training program. You may not be hiring trained sales professionals to work at your property. If this is the case, you have a gap between what you want your employees to do and what they can deliver. If they weren’t trained by someone else—and not trained by you—how do you expect them to be effective at sales?
Although you may get lucky and find someone with a very high aptitude for selling and persuading, you’ll have more consistent success when you have a system in place to build your manager’s skills. A training system will ensure your average employees get better and your gifted employees become phenomenal.
Training Gives You the Advantage
You have an opportunity to create a differential advantage when you invest in areas your competition isn’t. Even if you already do some sort of sales training in your organization, take a close look at how much time, energy and money you’re investing in your managers. Is it significantly more than your competitors?
Many self-storage operators aren’t investing heavily in sales training, and they’re not taking their employees sales effectiveness seriously. This is a weakness ripe for exploitation.
Make Room for Practice
Building sales effectiveness is not easy. A training program usually helps a person to understand conceptually what he should be doing and why he should be doing it. Although having a conceptual understanding is a good first step, it’s not sufficient. Too often, property managers are like armchair quarterbacks with a conceptual knowledge of the game, but no real physical skill. They know what’s supposed to happen, but find their unpracticed bodies are unable to do what’s successful.
Practice is the key to closing the gap between knowing and doing. You can help your managers scheduling practice time into their daily routine. If your location is busy and interruptions are frequent, consider authorizing your managers to come in 30 minutes early or stay 30 minutes after closing so they can have some continuous practice time.
A training program and practice regimen helps property managers develop the skills they need to sell and persuade. Investing in them sends a message that you care about them and their success. Mastering skills is motivating because it leads to more frequent success in renting storage spaces. Finally, providing a professional sales-training program and making room for your managers to practice sets you up to have a competitive advantage and win in your market.
Kenny Pratt is president of Crescendo Properties Inc., which acquires and operates self-storage properties in the western United States. He blogs about self-storage sales and persuasion at www.sellingstorage.com . To reach him, call 916.849.1199; e-mail email@example.com .