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Getting Past ‘No’: Strategies to Get Self-Storage Customers Over the Rental-Hesitance Hump

Getting Past ‘No’: Strategies to Get Self-Storage Customers Over the Rental-Hesitance Hump
Even though self-storage is a need-driven service, facility operators can still face sales objections from prospects. Here’s guidance to help you flip “no” to a “yes.” The author will help you anticipate customer doubts and have persuasive responses at the ready.

While it’s every self-storage manager’s goal to rent a unit at every sales opportunity, sometimes getting the customer to commit is a challenge. There are many reasons why a prospect might say “no” during your initial interaction. It’s your job to answer his questions, dissolve his doubts and change that answer! Here’s guidance to help you anticipate objections and be prepared to counteract them.

Lay the Proper Groundwork

When a customer comes looking for storage and you have space available to rent, it should be a done deal, right? What could cause a sale to go sour? Was it the price? The property’s condition? Something you said (or didn’t say)?

Stage performers practice to ensure their presentation is perfect each and every time. Self-storage sales should be treated no different. Your pitch should be the best it can be for each and every client. A critical part of success is to ask questions. How did they find you? What will they be storing? Is there anything specific they need?

Your approach should be genuine and casual, not canned. Most people seeking self-storage are enduring a major life change such as a death, divorce, new move, house renovation. Retirement, etc. These transitions can make people feel unsettled and confused, even about something as simple as choosing a storage unit. You become their trusted guide because you’re the professional. Show them you’re up to the task!

Most prospects have already performed some research online before calling or visiting your self-storage facility. They may have compared several properties. By the time they get to you, closing the sale should be simply confirming what they already know about your business and sealing the deal. But as we know, some people just want to be convinced. Below are a few common objections and how you can respond.

Focus on Facility Strengths

When it comes to customer concerns about renting self-storage, I’ve heard them all. Here are several you’ll likely hear and suggestions for counterbalancing them.

  • Objection: How do I know I’m getting the best price? Your competitor is lower.
  • Answer: As self-storage operators, we perform competitive surveys, so we all understand pricing in the area. Our prices do change, and today this is our best. It’s very competitive within the market.
  • Objection: I just don’t think I should sign a contract.
  • Answer: To ease your mind, the contract for self-storage is month to month. You aren’t making a long-term commitment. You can terminate the agreement at any time. If ever you change your mind and need more or less space, we can assist with that, too.
  • Objection: My spouse/parent/significant other usually makes these decisions.
  • Answer: I understand. That person sent you here to do the research, so they must trust your judgment. What other questions can I answer to help you feel confident in the decision you’re making?
  • Objective: I’m just not sure if the unit is the right size.
  • Answer: If you find the unit isn’t what you need, we can transfer you to another space. But from what you’ve described to me, and with a little extra space factored in, I would say this is a good size for you.
  • Objection: I’m not sure I’m even going to need the unit just yet.
  • Answer: What’s the situation you’re facing? Perhaps we can help you figure out better timing for your needs. Also, we do allow short-term reservations so we can take that unit off the market.
  • Objection: Your place is farther than I’d like.
  • Answer: Sometimes it’s better to drive a bit farther to store with a higher-quality, more secure facility. It’s much like getting a great meal at a favorite restaurant that might not be in your neighborhood.

Sweep Away Doubt

There are many reasons why potential self-storage customers might be hesitant to “sign the dotted line.” Price is usually the first protest, then the look or feel of the property, or the way they perceive they’re being treated by staff. The best way to avoid objections is to give them no foundation!

Most managers will say they have a clean, well-lit property and give a list of reasons why it’s the best in the area. But put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. Is it a place where you’d want to put your treasured goods? You must look at your facility every day as if you’re seeing it for the first time. If it’s dirty, buildings are in disrepair, staff are unfriendly, bugs are crawling around, etc., that’s what customers are going to notice!

People want to know you care about the property and their stuff. To create a perception of consideration and safety—which will eliminate many sales objections before they’re even voiced—the best thing you can do is make sure all of your lighting works, your halls and units are as clean as possible, and anything that could prevent someone from feeling protected is addressed quickly.  

Sometimes, you’ll encounter a customer you just can’t persuade no matter what you say or do. As self-storage managers, we do our best to get each and every prospect to rent with us. But if you can’t, it’s OK to let that one go.

Self-storage manager Terri Friesner has worked in the industry more than 14 years. She loves facility marketing and helping customers meet their storage needs. Terri joined the Self-Storage Talk online community shortly after it launched in 2008 and remains a regular contributor. To reach her, email [email protected].

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