Customer Concerns: Squelching Common Sales Objections in Self-Storage

As a self-storage manager, you spend a lot of time on sales; and that means handling customer objections. Whether you interact with prospects in person, on the phone or online, you need to be able to answer their questions, alleviate their concerns and convince them that your facility is the best choice. Following are tactics to help you do so and thereby close more rentals.

Sarah Beth Johnson, Stacie Maxwelland 1 more

April 10, 2024

6 Min Read

In the competitive landscape of self-storage rentals, customer objections are inevitable. Effectively addressing them is crucial for increasing sales and establishing positive relationships with tenants.

In this article, we’ll explore concerns commonly expressed by prospects and proven strategies for overcoming them. We’ll also explore the impact of contactless services on the sales process and how to adapt your approach as a result. By adhering to the following guidance, you can transcend traditional selling to create a holistic experience that not only meets customer needs and closes rentals but builds trust, loyalty, referrals and profit.

Common Sales Objections

Let’s begin by examining a few common customer concerns and general strategies for addressing them. Price is often on the list, but you may be surprised to learn that it isn’t always the primary objection or even in the top three.

Cost. If the customer says your rates are too high, highlight your facility’s value by emphasizing security features, convenient access and additional services like 24/7 surveillance, climate control and online payment options. Consider offering a discount or promotion in exchange for a longer-term commitment.

Security. Provide detailed information about the measures you have in place, such as video cameras, access control and abundant lighting. Share testimonials from satisfied self-storage tenants who have experienced the safety of your property.

Suitability. If the customer isn’t sure whether the self-storage unit you’ve offered them will meet their needs, conduct a more thorough assessment to understand their requirements. Explain the options available and offer guidance on how to select the most appropriate size and type. Finally, provide a tour, as seeing is often believing. Some facilities even have model units on display right in their rental office.

Commitment. It’s common for customers to be averse to signing a long-term commitment. Many don’t understand that self-storage is based on a month-to-month lease that can be terminated at any time. So, make sure they understand the contract and how easy it is to end the rental or move into a larger or smaller space if necessary. Transparency in terms and conditions builds trust and confidence.

Accessibility. If a customer is concerned about being able to access their stored belongings, explain how simple it is to enter the facility and find their unit. Highlight the convenience of extended access hours if you offer them. Showcase any technology-driven solutions you use such as a mobile app that opens the gate. Of course, if your facility is only open Monday through Friday during regular business hours, be honest about that, too. You don’t want to overpromise and underdeliver or set unrealistic expectations.

A Proven Approach

Every self-storage customer is unique and may have different needs and concerns. However, you can use the below tactics to polish your sales skills and surmount many objections, including those listed above.

Listen actively. Practice active listening with your prospects, which allows you to interpret their needs and respond more effectively. If you do an online search, you’ll discover that this skill involves multiple steps; but in general, it means being attentive and engaged. Ask open-ended and probing questions. Request clarification when necessary, and repeat what the customer said back to them in a concise paraphrase. Also, pay attention to non-verbal communication, including facial expressions and body language.

Educate the customer. Provide comprehensive information about your self-storage facility, including security measures and available services. Explain the value they’ll receive and help them see beyond the cost of the rental.

Customize. Tailor solutions to meet the unique needs of each prospective self-storage tenant. Offering personalized recommendations and demonstrating flexibility can significantly improve customer satisfaction.

Use testimonials. It can be quite effective to share success stories and positive experiences from existing customers. Real-life anecdotes can help alleviate prospects’ doubts and build confidence.

Follow up. Implement a system to address customers’ lingering concerns and provide additional information. A proactive approach demonstrates your commitment and genuine interest in their contentment.

Successfully overcoming sales objections requires effective communication, empathy and reassurance. By employing the above strategies, you can build trust with your self-storage customers, which ultimately increases the chances that they will stay with you longer and refer your business to others.

The Impact of Contactless Services

The advent of contactless services in self-storage and an increased reliance on technology for rentals, payments and communication have prompted a shift in the customer experience. As phone and in-person interactions give way to digital exchanges via email, chat and messaging apps, you must adapt your sales and service strategies accordingly.

Often, a potential self-storage tenant interacts with your social media pages and website before you know the person exists. This means you’re losing opportunities to overcome their objections—unless you do so preemptively online. A proactive approach aims to reduce a prospect’s concerns before they arise.

One of the first things you must do is refine your written-communication skills. You must be able to convey information clearly and concisely to ease customer apprehension and ensure a positive experience. Just because you’re no longer talking face-to-face doesn’t mean you have to be impersonal. You can enhance engagement by personalizing your written responses. By tailoring them to the recipient’s specific situation and needs, you demonstrate attentiveness and a commitment to excellence.

When interacting with a prospect online, you don’t have the luxury of hearing their vocal tone or inflection or seeing their facial expressions. Thus, it’s more critical to be pleasant and comprehensive in your written responses. Include relevant details to build trust and credibility. In addition, be prompt. Timeliness is vital in the Digital Age.

Implementing an artificial-intelligence tool like a chatbot can also streamline the self-storage sales process and help you handle objections by providing instant responses and solutions based on predefined scenarios. Analyzing customer interactions on your other written platforms can reveal patterns that help you fine-tune this strategy and improve the user experience. However, don’t rely on this method exclusively. By combining technology, personalized communication and a nuanced approach based on the mode of interaction, you can successfully navigate this changing service landscape and ensure positive outcomes.

Becoming the Clear Choice

Prospective self-storage tenants often delay their decision to rent due to uncertainty, competition, price sensitivity and a perceived lack of attention from facility staff. Securing a rental commitment depends on your ability to assess the customer’s needs, showcase property features, offer helpful tips and professionally close the deal. The above tactics build trust and enhance a buyer’s inclination to choose you over other operators in the area.

No matter your level of self-storage experience, overcoming customer sales objections is a pivotal skill. Ultimately, it takes a holistic approach that builds customer trust and cultivates a positive experience.

Lou Barnholdt and Sarah Beth Johnson are sales directors and Stacie Maxwell is vice president of marketing and training for Universal Storage Group, which offers third-party management, comprehensive training programs, and start-up or conversion services for the self-storage industry. The company owns six facilities and manages more than 70 for other owners.

About the Author(s)

Sarah Beth Johnson

Client-Development Specialist, Universal Storage Group

Sarah Beth Johnson is client-development specialist and Stacie Maxwell is vice president of marketing and training for Universal Storage Group (USG), which offers third-party management, comprehensive training programs, and start-up or conversion services for the self-storage industry. The company owns six facilities and manages more than 70 for other owners. Sarah is the frontline representative who introduces USG to facility owners and investors. She started her storage career in 2012 as a facility manager.

Lou Barnholdt

Sales Director, Universal Storage Group

Lou Barnholdt is a sales director for Universal Storage Group, which offers third-party management, comprehensive training programs, and start-up or conversion services for the self-storage industry. The company owns six facilities and manages more than 70 for other owners.

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