Phone-Sales Skills for Self-Storage: Tips for Facility Operators and 4 Questions to Ask Every Caller

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1. Have you ever rented self-storage before? In some markets, up to 50 percent of residents may have never rented before so they don’t know all the ins and outs of month-to-month leasing programs.

2. What do you plan to store? You need to make sure the use is qualified, not old tires or batteries, fish or other livestock. If it’s a commercial tenant who’d like to rent a unit to store inventory, records or other stock, your sales approach will be different.

3. When do you need to move in? This will help you create urgency no matter if he says one day or one month from now. Here, you can be the hero to someone moving his entire household, for example. You might respond with something like, “Since your movers won’t be coming until the first of next month, you have a unique opportunity to make this the most stress-free move of your lifetime. Just begin by bringing over a few treasured items each weekend, things you don’t want the movers dealing with, like your antique china. By the time the movers arrive, all your most treasured possessions are dealt with, and they can pack and move you more quickly as well. You’ll be so glad you had this extra time. Let’s take a look at which size will suit your needs.” From here, you make recommendations about size and move forward.

4. How long do you think you’ll need storage? Make note of the answer and consider it when recommending the perfect unit location. For example, someone who’s going to be out of the country for a year or more doesn’t care much about unit location compared to a local retailer who’ll be in and out every day and receiving shipments.

This last question also allows you to limit the term of any discount used to close the sale—but only if necessary. For example, if you’re asked to match a competitor’s special or lower rate, you could ask, “If I match that rate for the two months you think you will need storage, and then adjust to the regular price thereafter, will you move in with me today?” This is much preferred to an ongoing, open-ended discount, which robs the property of value.  

Meet Customers’ Needs

One key to closing every sale—commercial and residential—is meeting customers’ unique needs. The more questions you ask, the better you’re able to determine exactly what’s needed, which unit will work best, and which special programs or discounts you should offer. This could include truck rental or even free use of your facility’s moving truck, key release for package delivery, remote control to an RV space, 24-hour access, business-center services, etc.

Once you’ve learned customers’ needs, you can emphasize the benefits of your products or services and how you can exceed their expectations. Show how you can help commercial customers cut costs, increase profit or beat the competition. Demonstrate how you can solve your residential customers’ storage and space issues, including caring for sensitive items such as antiques or cars, or providing moving solutions or referrals for other services they’ll need.

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