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A Quick Course in Sales Confidence for Self-Storage Managers

Sales are a big part of being a self-storage facility manager. When you lack confidence in your abilities, you might struggle to fill units or sell ancillary products. An area manager explains how he honed his sales skills and offers advice for improving your own.

Alvin Green Jr.

March 9, 2022

6 Min Read
A Quick Course in Sales Confidence for Self-Storage Managers

I’m an area manager for a self-storage operation, and the No. 1 question I’m asked when I conduct sales training with my team is, “How can I get good at sales when I’m not good at selling or I dislike it?” My response is always the same: “Anyone can become good at sales if I was able to become good at sales.”

I never would have considered myself to be a great salesperson in my younger years, but I always knew I could be if I had the right tools and mindset. So, I started researching ways to build confidence and employ better sales tactics. Here’s a bit of what I learned and how it might help you improve your skills, too.

Another Point of View

Even though I didn’t think of myself a great salesperson, I’ve always thought of myself as a great customer. Like many people, whenever I want to buy something, I first research the product. After all, the modern consumer can access lots of information to make a smart decision. If I’m approached by a salesperson while shopping, I’m always courteous, even if I’m not interested in their product or help. If I have the time, I try to be open-minded and listen to what they have to say. After their pitch, I politely decline with a simple “No thanks” or “Not interested.”

I pay attention to their demeanor after the interaction. Are they understanding or rude? Do they continue to try and convince me? I’ve always disliked a pushy salesperson! No one wants to feel like they’re being forced to buy something they don’t need or want.

I keep these things in mind when I approach a potential self-storage customer. After many years in sales, I’ve learned that a prospect may not feel like the product we’re offering is something they truly need, but it’s our job as knowledgeable salespeople to inform them of its importance. This shouldn’t be confused with the pushy “You’ve got to have this” pitch. Think of it more as “Here’s why you need this” or “Let me explain why this is necessary.” Most customers are inclined to purchase a product if you provide them with the benefits and present it in a way that allows them to believe they have a choice—even if they don’t!

A Fresh Approach

Let’s look at an example from within the self-storage industry. Tenant insurance is sold at many facilities and is even mandatory at some, but the customer doesn’t always want to buy it. This is where the sales presentation and explanation of benefits is so important. Following is a scenario in which we’ll concentrate on the presentation (words used), benefits (reasons why the product is necessary) and confidence (how the presentation is delivered).

Let’s say a customer is interested in renting a storage unit. After you’ve asked all your exploratory questions to learn about their needs and what to offer them, you approach the dreaded issue of insurance and explain that it’s a condition of rental. They might ask something like, “Do I really need insurance?” My response is always, “Yes, sir (or ma’am), insurance is required here.” I don’t say “our insurance,” because that would imply that we only accept the coverage we sell, which isn’t actually the case. The customer can rely on their homeowners’ or renters’ insurance if they choose. This is an especially important distinction.

I also pause after that statement to give the customer a chance to think about what I said and follow up with questions. They might ask, “Why do I need insurance? Don’t you have your own insurance?” To which I reply, “Yes, sir (or ma’am), we do have insurance, but it only covers our facility. Unfortunately, it doesn’t cover your items.” They might want to know if they really need insurance because they’re just storing “some stuff” and it isn’t that valuable. In this case, I tell them, “Yes, sir (or ma’am). As I previously stated, insurance is required here. But more importantly, if your items are valuable enough for you to pay us to store them, they’re valuable enough for you to make sure they’re covered.”

Often, they’ll choose to accept this, and you can move on to the next phase of the sale. With confidence, you can let them know which level of insurance will be right for their stored belongings. If they ask what’s covered, you might reply, “Great question. Here’s an insurance pamphlet that tells you everything you want to know. There’s a number here you can call if you have any more questions.”

If they ask if they can use their own insurance, you might reply with, “Yes, you can. We accept homeowners’ or renters’ insurance.” Remember, you need to be specific. I’ve had customers try to pass off their auto insurance to cover their storage unit. Be clear and say, “All we need is a copy of your declarations page from your insurance policy.”

Even when I don’t make the insurance sale, I’m still confident and authoritative. But I didn’t always feel that way. I got this way by listening, learning and taking great advice from the many great managers and leaders I’ve met or studied with over the years.

The 6 BEs

As I was preparing to write this article, I remembered another piece I had read a few years ago that relates perfectly to this topic. In “The 6 ‘BEs’ of Becoming a Confident Salesperson,” Chasity Monk writes that to convince someone to buy whatever you’re selling, you must exude self-assurance and authority. She also discusses tools that can help you in the sales process. The most important is confidence, and of course you can’t get it from the store or your marketing department—it has to come from within.

If you’re lacking in the confidence department, here are six “BEs” that’ll help you feel more self-assured:

  • BElieve in yourself. If you don’t, the customer won’t either.

  • BElieve in your product. If you aren’t confident about it, the customer can sense it.

  • BElieve in your price. If you believe in its value and worth, the customer will, too!

  • BE an effective communicator. Be clear and concise in your conversation.

  • BE optimistic of a successful outcome. I always say, “Assume the sale!”

  • BE a product expert. Be as knowledgeable as you can about what you’re selling.

I hope these tips help you build your sales confidence. It isn’t developed overnight. It takes time and practice. But as I tell my own self-storage team, if I can be good at sales, so can you!

Alvin Green Jr., better known as Al, is a certified self-storage manager and the first area manager for Spartan Investment Group LLC, which operates the FreeUp Self Storage brand. He oversees eight facilities in Georgia. He’s also a decorated military veteran and a licensed realtor. Originally from New Orleans, Alvin more than 17 years of self-storage experience. To reach him, call 866.375.4438 or email [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Alvin Green Jr.

Area Manager, Spartan Investment Group LLC

Alvin Green Jr., better known as Al, is a certified self-storage manager and the first area manager for Spartan Investment Group LLC, which operates the FreeUp Self Storage brand. He oversees eight facilities in Georgia. Al is also a decorated military veteran and a licensed realtor. Originally from New Orleans, he has more than 17 years of self-storage experience. To reach him, call 866.375.4438 or email [email protected].

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