At some point in your life, you’ve been on the phone with someone who used some sort of sales or customer-service script. It’s likely the call was “recorded for quality assurance.” The organization probably had another employee who listened to the call to ensure the representative checked all the right boxes in the script.
There’s nothing wrong with any of this. In fact, it’s good for a company to confirm its customers are receiving good service. However, following a script line-by-line can feel impersonal and robotic to callers, which can deter sales.
During my tenure in the self-storage industry, I’ve devised and implemented several sales scripts for facility managers, and I’ve come to realize a few things that might help you create your own. So, let’s jump into the elements of a solid sales script, so you can craft one that works for you.
Practice and Customize
First, you need to understand that everyone has a different communication style. While there are certain parts of a self-storage sales presentation that are mandatory, much of the conversation is customizable and depends on the flow of the discussion.
To ensure the best sales presentation, take the script components you feel are most important and practice! You might even do some role-playing or review recorded calls to ensure you’re hitting all the right notes. Fair warning: Perfecting this technique takes time and patience.
Greet the Customer
The first element of a good self-storage phone-sales script is a natural greeting. Aim to answer the phone in three rings or less, with something like, “Thank you for calling XYZ Storage. This is Sean. How can I help you?” It’s amazing how many managers have trouble delivering this line in a friendly manner. It could be because they’re busy or just having a bad day. Regardless, this is the first impression with the prospect, so make it count. It may sound silly, but try standing up and smiling when speaking. It can help you sound welcoming and energetic.
After the greeting, ask the caller for his first name so you can use it throughout the call. If possible, request a phone number and e-mail, too. You can ask for this info any time during the conversation. Include space for the answers on your script sheet so you can easily refer to it later. Also, include the date and your name.
Ask the Right Questions
Many callers simply want to know unit availability and pricing, but it’s your job to engage them further. Start by finding out if the customer has ever used storage before. This’ll help you understand his level of knowledge about the product and avoid “taking down” to him about things he already knows.
Next on your script checklist, determine what the caller is storing; then you can demonstrate you’re the expert by recommending the best unit size. One of my biggest pet peeves is when managers ask, “Do you know what size unit you’d like?” Instead, try “Can you give me an idea of what you’re storing so I might determine the right size for you?” A good manager should be able to calculate a size based on potential unit contents. It’s also vital here to recommend a climate-controlled or drive-up unit (if you offer both). Remember, your customers are often experiencing a stressful situation. Be the problem-solver, and they’ll thank you for it.
Once you’ve recommended a unit size and type, the customer will likely ask the price, so give it to him. When quoting the amount, use the word “only,” for example: “The 10-by-10 unit is currently only $xx per month.” Feel free to offer a special if there’s a serious price objection or some other compelling reason to do so.
The next item on your list is to find out when the caller will need storage. If he’s looking to store soon, offer to reserve a unit. If you secure the reservation, get at least a name, phone number, e-mail and mailing address. Bonus points for taking it one step further and obtaining a credit card number! Super bonus points for getting a deposit to go toward the rental!
Always impart a sense of urgency to your caller. Never say things like, “Oh, we have plenty of units in that size, so there’s no rush.” Instead, say, “With our great pricing and demand being high in this area, that size unit will rent quickly. Would you like to reserve it today?”
Next, find out how long the customer thinks he’ll need storage. This question is helpful in helping you determine what type of special (if any) to offer, plus it keeps the conversation going. The more information you can gather the better. Remember, you’re trying to have a meaningful discussion, not act like a robot spouting automated messages. The more rapport you can establish on this initial call, the more likely the caller will become a tenant.
Another important question is “How did you hear about us?” Just make sure you have system to track this valuable information. If you aren’t using software that allows you to track leads, follow-ups and other key statistics, start now. Implementing a great phone-sale script means nothing if you don’t leverage the data you collect.
Finally, invite your caller for a facility visit. Appointments are a great way to get potential tenants to the property and super helpful when placing follow-up calls. Again, obtain the person’s name, address, phone number and e-mail. Offer to send a confirmation e-mail with a reservation and general property information.
Share Facility Amenities
How well do you know your facility? As a successful self-storage manager, you should be able to name at least three amenities that make your site special. I’ve always kept a list of things my facility offers right next to my phone. That way they’re always in front of me instead of me and I don’t have to rely solely on my sometimes-feeble memory. If you aren’t sure what qualifies as an amenity, here are some examples:
- Resident manager
- After-hours access
- Flatbed carts
- Delivery acceptance
- Cargo elevators
- Video surveillance
- Online billpay
- Electronic gates
- Moving and packing supplies
- Truck rentals
- Professional pest control
Know what amenities your competitors offer, too. This’ll make it easier to overcome objections if they arise.
Wrap It Up
Before you end the call, thank the customer for his interest and offer to provide directions to your property. Remember to take copious notes during the conversation with your potential new tenant. These should be entered into your management software for potential follow-up calls based on when the caller needs a unit.
If you’re able to master the skill of taking all this information and working it into your phone-sales conversation, you’ll be well on your way to making the most of every prospect call that comes your way.
Sean Landry is owner and president of Expert Storage Management LLC, which offers third-party management services for self-storage, including staff hiring and training, revenue management, pricing, unit-mix optimization, marketing strategies, and more. He founded the company in 2016 after a successful career as a facility manager and consultant. For more information, call 504.251.1260; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; visit www.expertstoragemanagement.com.