By Erich Noack
You may be great at closing self-storage prospects on the phone, but what about those walk-ins? Experts say these customers should be easier to sell to because they’re a “captive” audience, but is that true?
Depending on your area, walk-ins can produce significant leads for your facility, so you need a strategy for closing as many of these potential customers as possible. Taking steps toward refining your company’s physical and online appearance and adjusting your sales approach can drastically increase the number of walk-ins you convert to renters.
Improve Public Perception at the Door
Your customers are forming an opinion of you and your facility well before you even get the chance to talk to them and explain all the great benefits of renting with you. Seems unfair, right? Consider how you feel when you visit a place of business. The appearance of the building, including the interior and exterior space, affects your view of the owners and the products they sell. The same applies to your customers. Consider these points:
- The value of curb appeal is immeasurable. As one of the first points of contact between you and your customer, your facility exterior needs to present a positive overall representation of your company.
- Make your interior inviting. As the second point of contact with your customer, the office is just as influential in developing public perception, so make it pleasing. Your goal is to provide an environment in which customers will want to spend time. After all, the longer they stay in your office, the more likely they are to rent from you.
Improve Public Perception Online
Technology is king when it comes to public perception. The advent of smartphones and the ability to access information from just about anywhere has made consumers more discerning about the businesses they patronize. Your website is perhaps the most important factor in developing a positive public image, so keep these things in mind:
- Your website must be easy to find. This sounds straightforward, but work with someone who has the search engine optimization (SEO) know-how to get your site ranked well in search-engine results.
- Unique, informative content is important. Keywords are essential, but having helpful, easy-to-follow content goes a long way in site ranking and user-friendliness.
- Functionality and attractiveness are equals. Your website has to provide necessary information in an accessible way while also being attractive. Having a website that’s aesthetically pleasing and functionally sound makes potential customers feel good about renting with you.
- A good website is never static. Periodic updates after launch will help you remain at the top of search rankings. Consider employing a firm whose SEO practices reflect a vigilant need to keep your website current and relevant.
Close More Sales
Your facility sells a service, and that service helps customers solve problems. A walk-in wouldn’t be in your office if he didn’t have a need for storage. Your sales tactics should reflect this understanding. Solving a customer’s problem is your mission. Here’s how to do it:
- Listen more than tell. Your amenities are great—the best in town, perhaps. But you must first listen to what your prospect needs and establish trust between company and customer.
- Empathize with your customer. Create an emotional connection with your customer by asking questions and hearing his story. You’ll be surprised how far this goes.
- Enhance your record-keeping practices. Around 80 percent of your sales will happen in the follow-up, so record specific details about each customer to help you reconnect. Note strategies for selling that are successful—and those that aren’t. Also simplify and modernize your record-keeping through the use of a well-designed management software. The right technology assists your company in crossing that line between great and excellent customer service.
Never stop improving your facility and sales methods. Keep up with recent activity in the storage industry by reading blogs and getting subscriptions to industry publications. Speak with others in the business. Attend conventions. Continue learning how to provide for your customers and sell with more confidence. Above all else, listen to your customers and solve their problems from there. This will be the key to closing those walk-in prospects.
Erich Noack is a content writer at StorageAhead, which offers Web-marketing technology for the self-storage industry, including lead-generating search engines and facility-management software. For more information, call 913.954.4110; visit www.storageahead.com.