September 1, 2007

3 Min Read
Speaking of Sales

You might think politics and self-storage dont have a whole lot to do with each other outside of the planning-and-zoning commissions office. However, like any business, storage operates in whatever environment we find ourselves in at any given time. Some operators may think they are somewhat insulated because every segment of society needs and uses storage. Im sorry to say that may not always be the case.

National politics do influence our industry. Although most people choose not to talk about certain uncomfortable issuesparticularly those pertaining to the Presidents approval rating and the warthese concerns do influence the mood of the nation. They put a depressing veil over a chugging economy with rich capital markets. Your local area may not feel a direct impact from this, however. Capital markets are still pumping dollars into all real estate classes, and those with thriving businesses continue to build on their success.

But some areas close to military installations are feeling a lot of hardship from additional, extended and current deployments. Families who depend on the income of spouses serving in the war are having a difficult time. This ripples out into the wider local economy and impacts self-storage.

History shows that people keep a tighter hold on their wallets when the economy seems uncertain than during periods perceived as good times. Although the veil of uncertainty seems widespread, many areas of the country appear to be flourishing. You can celebrate this sense of well-being with your customers, but deep inside, they may be scared out of their wits about world politics.

A Sense of Order

How do you sell in such an environment? Its probably inappropriate to talk openly about geo-political situations with prospects and customers. It might get prickly. But you can be sensitive to the underlying uncertaintiesthe shadow of doubt people occasionally feel is following them, and we might notice the veil of gloom.

Take a spin on this selling climate and present your services as a source of comfort. Be the person who knows how to make the best of a troubled situation and turn it into a good experience. Be the store that feels right to be in. Be the place where people can keep the things they hold dear.

Customers who have cherished mementos and treasures sitting safely in a storage unit are more likely to feel anchored in certainty and emotional security. This is no joke. If everything else in your life feels like its out of whack, knowing that your parents sterling-silver tea set is safe and secure means at least one speck of your life is settled and in order.

Your business is successful when your customers feel an emotional satisfaction from doing business with you. Make this happen and your average length of stay will go up dramatically. Sell security, peace of mind and comfort, and youre customers will appreciate their every visit. 

Tron Jordheim is the director of PhoneSmart, an offsite sales force that helps storage owners rent to more people through its call center, secret-shopping service, sales-training and Internet-lead-generation services. Mr. Jordheim is also a member of the National Speakers Association. You can read what he is up to at For more information, e-mail [email protected]

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