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Speaking of Sales... 7134

May 1, 2006

4 Min Read
Speaking of Sales...

Youve spent a lot of time, effort and money to get someone to call you on the phone or visit your facility. When a prospect walks in, you want to see your investment pay off. But what if the person just isnt ready to rent a unit? In this case, you should have a fallback readyan alternate offer for when your first attempt fails.

Do you say, Thanks for coming in. Why dont you come back if you need a unit? That doesnt make the cash register ring. Retail sales, however, are an excellent fallback. Ancillary supplies arent there only to add dollars to each rental; they can create a customer interaction where one doesnt exist.

If you sell a person a box, they will go home and fill it. Then theyll have to figure out where to put the box. If you sell someone packing tape or storage tubs, they will go home and pack up some things. Again, theyll have to decide where to stash the stuff. Where do you think theyll come next?

I know small sales are not always exciting. And we all want to make the most of each day. Selling someone three boxes and a roll of tape just doesnt sound that wonderful. But little transactions can set off a series of events leading to a rental.

So, when people come in to see you and dont rent, get a conversation going. Talk to them about what sorts of projects they have coming up, and take them on a tour of your retail section. Show what will be needed and sell some supplies. This way, you create some revenue from the time spent, and help prepare prospects to sign a lease later.

Certainly, if someone rents a truck but not a unit, youll see them again. Most likely, theyll be rolling up to your door and asking for storage because they ended up with excess property following the move.

Its easy to forget a storage rental of 100 years can start with the purchase of one roll of tape. It can happen. This is why you want to develop a fall back position for every situation where a person isnt quite ready to rent. You know the scenarios:

1. I am not moving until next month.
2. I have to shop around some more.
3. I need to check with my spouse.
4. No, I just need a truck.
5. Im not sure Im ready to do anything yet.

Fine. Go to your fall back position. Sell boxes, tape and other supplies. Depending on the persons situation, you could create a sizable retail order and show you care enough to be helpful. When the time comes to rent a unit, youll be the first choice.

If you let someone hang up the phone or walk out of your store without making some kind of purchase, you risk two things:

1. They think you didnt care enough to sell them something. Bad for you.
2. Your competitor sells them something. Still bad for you.

In the first case, youve created negative feelings and wont be the logical first choice for the storage rental or next supplies purchase. In the second case, you have allowed your competitor to take a customer away from you.

This is why large automakers have so many models of cars. If they dont sell you the top-of-the-line, most profitable car the first time you shop, at least you buy something and will be riding around with their logo on your car. Chances are youll give them the first crack at your next auto buy.

Dont let future customers get away from you. Go to a fall back position. If you cant sell someone the whole enchilada, at least you can sell them a taco and get them used to buying from you. That way, when their appetite for storage develops, theyll head back to your facility. 

Tron Jordheim is the director of PhoneSmart, an off-site sales force that helps storage owners rent to more people through its call center, secret-shopping service, sales-training programs and Want2Store.com facility locator. You can read what he is up to at www.selfstorageblog.com. For more information, e-mail [email protected].

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