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Amy Campbell

Amy Campbell
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acampbell@vpico.com

If You Can’t Pay Attention to Your Self-Storage Customers, You Won’t Win Their Business

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A guest installment by Joel Little

As a self-storage property manager, when you talk to customers, do you give them your full attention? Just about everyone who is asked this question will say “yes” because who wants to admit they are not paying attention to the customer? But we know better. Some of us are very fidgety and need to play with something at all times. This can be very distracting. Others let our minds wander and start thinking about what we will be doing once the customer leaves or after our shift is over. Is this fair to the customer? Of course not, so what can we do to pay better attention to our customers?

First of all, do you care about what the customer is telling you? This is a self-examination question for all property managers. Self-storage is an industry that turns the regular, everyday sales person/manager into a storage counselor. In self-storage, you have to figure out the customer’s storage situation and then offer them a solution. If you are not able to do that, you are in the wrong business.

So besides caring about the customer, what else can you do? I suggest making eye contact. This typically helps keep you engaged because you are looking and focusing on the customer and their words. Be active in the conversation. Ask the customer questions that can further help you recommend a solution to their problem. Listen to their answers and then repeat back to them what they need to gain understanding. Next, show them what you have to offer.

Positioning is also important. Stand on the customer’s side of the counter. Don’t put a barrier between you and them. Be inviting.

It is critical that you pay close attention to what customers are telling you. The moment you let your mind wander or lose focus you can miss crucial information that could help you make a sale and meet their storage needs. When you listen intently, customers will appreciate your effort, and you increase your chances of adding another tenant to your self-storage facility.

After all, the end goal is to rent units, and it is very hard to rent storage space if you are not paying close attention to your customers. They will know when you are not paying attention to them, and many will ultimately go find a company that will.

Joel Little is the head sales coach at PhoneSmart, a self-storage call center and marketing firm. He's been in the self-storage industry for more than five years, and has been in retail management for more than a decade. He strives daily to help improve the self-storage industry one call at a time, gaining insight from each customer. For more information, visit www.phone-smart.net.

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