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Sales leads—the magical pool from which your self-storage renters emerge! There are lots of ways to conjure up prospects in this business, but it isn’t always easy to transform them into paying tenants. It takes determination, consistency and finesse. This article addresses the art of customer follow-up, sharing a proven process for success.

Allicyn Bowley

January 31, 2024

5 Min Read

The conversion of a self-storage prospect into a paying tenant isn’t magic; but similar to magic, it requires intent. The customer must want to rent a unit, and the facility operator must be prepared to give them one. The process doesn’t happen by accident. In fact, it can require a healthy dose of determination, consistency and finesse. But sometimes, it’s as simple as following up and asking for the sale!

Some self-storage operators think of their sales leads as an endless pool from which tenants magically emerge. For facilities in certain high-demand markets, it may certainly seem that way. But for most of you, finding and creating prospects takes work. So, why would you risk squandering those opportunities?

In this article, we’re going to explore the simple but necessary art of sales follow-up. I’ll help you understand the source of your leads, how to gather valuable information about those prospects, and strategies for converting them into paying customers. There’s no hocus pocus involved!

Seek the Source

Before we talk about sales conversion, it’s important for you to understand the sources of your self-storage leads. How do customers learn about your business? Maybe they regularly drive by your site. Perhaps they were referred by a friend or coworker, or saw one of your ad campaigns. They may have met you at a community event. Very possibly, they found you online. We live in a digital world, and everyone is constantly connected to the Internet.

Knowing this information won’t only help you make smart marketing choices, it’ll help you tailor and strengthen your sales approach. Every lead is unique, and tapping into what each person specifically needs or wants can seriously boost your chances of landing a rental. It's like being a detective—you figure out what makes people tick and then tailor your approach to encourage cooperation.

Here’s a quick overview of potential sales sources and how to leverage them:

Search engines. Most people begin looking for products and services online. If your self-storage facility shows up in Google Map Pack or in the organic search results, that's great for visibility. It requires excellent search engine optimization.

Website. This is often the first place a customer interacts with your self-storage business, so it must look good and be easy to navigate. Include detailed descriptions of your services, facility photos, unit sizes and prices, and tenant testimonials.

Social media. These platforms are really important for growing your business. They’re a great way to build your brand, talk to customers and share information. Keep them updated, post cool content, and reply quickly to questions and comments.

Review sites. Online reviews are a big deal. If you manage your reputation online, it can really sway people's decisions your way.

Referrals. These can come from apartment managers, real estate agents, past tenants or other self-storage operators. They have a lot of trust built in. Establish good relationships to keep the leads coming.

Local engagement. Being active in your community can lead to natural, word-of-mouth referrals. These are often the best sources of business and don't cost much.

Returning tenants. When someone comes back to your self-storage facility, it means they liked your service before. It's important to understand that these leads are born from loyalty.

Gather Information

Now that you understand the potential sources of your sales leads and how to nurture them along, let’s focus on follow-up. Not every self-storage prospect will become a renter, but you should always aim for this outcome.

First and foremost, gather as much information as you can about the prospect. It's vital to get the right contact details from the beginning so you can communicate with the customer effectively down the line. Whether you're talking on the phone, meeting them in person or chatting online, ask for their name, email address and phone number, at a minimum. You also want to know how soon they’ll need storage and what kind of unit they’re seeking. Note all of these details in some kind of lead system.

Just remember: Timing is everything. Don’t let your sales leads languish. If a person makes an appointment to visit the facility, call them a day or two in advance with a polite reminder. You can also send an email or text. This shows you care. If they don’t show up when they’re supposed to, reach out quickly to see if they’re still interested.

Convert With Confidence

The next big step is turning your self-storage sales prospects into actual tenants. This often boils down to demonstrating a commitment to their needs.

Share facility features. Play up the items that make your self-storage facility stand out. Is your security top-notch? Do you offer convenient access hours or killer prices? Maybe it's your customer service that's the real gem. Whatever it is, make sure the customer gets the picture and sees why your place beats the rest.

Stay in touch. This is key, as it shows you’re on the ball and genuinely interested in helping. There’s a fine line here, though. You need to be persistent, not pushy. Regular, polite follow-ups can be the nudge someone needs to choose your facility over another.

Ask for the sale. There’s a time for being informative and helpful, and then there's a time for the direct approach. Sometimes you just need to come out and ask, “Hey, are you ready to rent a self-storage unit?” If the customer is hesitating, do some light digging to understand their reservations. (Overcoming sales objections is its own art, in fact.) It could be something simple you can easily address or clarify.

Not every self-storage prospect is going to say yes, and that's OK. When someone decides not to rent, find out why. Their feedback can be valuable. Maybe there's something you can tweak about your services, or perhaps they've spotted an issue you didn’t even know about. Either way, it’s all about turning those rejections into lessons, so you can improve for the next potential customer.

Creating genuine connections with your sales leads can make all the difference. When people feel that real bond, they're far more likely to choose your business. It's about being more than a product option; rather, you’re a trusted friend in the self-storage world.

Allicyn Bowley is director of policy and procedures for Self Storage Science LLC, a provider of audits, consulting and property-management services. With 10 years of industry experience, she’s responsible for minimizing liability, ensuring policies are up to date and overseeing the company’s Colorado locations. To reach her, call 720.707.9277; email [email protected].

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