The self-storage busy season is just around the corner, and soon your phones are going to start ringing. Are you ready to make the most of every rental opportunity? There isnt a lot of time to prepare, so I'm going to share three important sales tips that should help you maximize every chance you get.
Selling Tip 1: Don't Over Think It
Dont over think your prospect pool. Sometimes it's enough to know that they need storage. It's tempting to want to categorize the different types of people we serve and try to figure out how to build the right sales presentation for each. Marketers are always trying to segment customers so they can get better conversion rates. But you know what? When push comes to shove, none of that really matters.
Dont get all hung up on how different prospects behave. If a customer wants a storage unit, rent him one. You can ask some simple qualifying questions that will help you determine which unit will best suit his needs. Then show him what you've got and let him choose.
I dont mean to oversimplify things, but it's better than making them overly complicated. Keeping it simple will help you in two ways. First, it will help you focus on the customer rather than trying to pigeon-hole him. Compartmentalizing people usually only leads to confusion or misunderstanding, whereas focusing on the individual usually leads to a good rapport. Second, it will keep you from getting distracted by details that may get in the way of a smooth sales process.
Selling Tip 2: Make It About Value, Not Price
Yes, everyone wants a good deal and no one wants to spend more than they have to, but getting the lowest price isn't always the best thing. While getting to know your prospects, you'll find out what's important to them. Look for ways to tie those concerns to your property's features and offerings. Those that directly address the customer's needs create value, and value is worth the expense.
When you talk about pricing, always emphasize value. Prospects really dont know how to assess self-storage. Its' not like pizza. We all know why some pizza places charge $5 for a pie when others charge $15. Depending on the day, we might want the one or the other. In self-storage, you as the expert have to paint a picture of what value looks like and why it's worth the money.
Talking about value will help you in two ways. First, it softens the sticker shock people get when they've never stored before and don't know what storage costs. Second, it helps you concentrate on something other than price. Talking about how clean your property is or how quiet your roll-up doors are is a lot easier than talking about money.
Sales Tip 3
Dont ask for the sale, assume the sale. For generations, salespeople have been taught to ask for the sale. That's so 1980s! Asking the customer Would you like to take this unit? is so inferior to saying, Lets get your name on this unit now. Today, it's far more effective to assume the sale.
Most prospects shop hard and do a lot of research before calling or visiting your self-storage facility. There's a reason they're talking with youit's because your store is on their short list of possible choices. Don't let that prospect get away from you. Asking for the sale allows him to say "no." Assuming the sale makes it happen.
Start taking all the questions and phrases you use to ask for the sale and replace them with assumptive language. Here are a few simple examples:
- Replace "If you rent a unit here..." with "When you rent your unit here..."
- Replace "I can reserve a unit for you if you like" with "I'm going to reserve this unit for you."
- Replace "I can accept cash, credit card or check" with "You can give me cash, credit card or a check."
Practice this assumptive language until it becomes second nature. You'll see some great results by assuming rather than asking for a sale.
As the busy season gets closer, youll need to do some sales practice to get ready. Work on these three tips and youll be ready to go. Hopefully, youll have lots of rental inquiries flowing into your store, and you can practice these techniques often until you master them. Good luck and good spring selling!
Tron Jordheim is the chief marketing officer of StorageMart and director of PhoneSmart. He has consulted for many self-storage companies and spoken at industry events in Canada, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. Prior to joining StorageMart, he managed one of Culligans top U.S. bottled-water franchises. For more information, visit www.phone-smart.net .