By Jim Breunig
Merchandise Sales are an important part of any successful self-storage operation and require an effective sales strategy to produce consistent results. In this article, we'll share 5 Tips to boost sales and create a memorable customer experience.
Tip #1 - Educate The Customer
From the book Why We Buy, The Science of Shopping by Paco Underhill
Studies in retail sales have revealed 3 important insights. 1. The more time people spend shopping directly correlates to the amount they spend. 2. People only buy the merchandise they actually look at and consider. 3. People only buy things they think they understand. If they don’t “get it,” they don’t buy it.
Tip #2 - Create An Experience
Offering the total solution is a great way to create an experience your customers will remember and talk about long after they walk out your door.
The Lock – When you walk with a prospective tenant to show them a unit bring a Lock W/Branded Key Chain along with you. If the customer likes the unit go ahead and offer to put a lock on the unit and hand them the keys. Believe it or not, most customers will be happy and amazed that you thought ahead and solved a problem for them. That's the WOW factor! This is one of the easiest sales, and will start adding to your per rental merchandise sales goal. Have at least 3 locks w/ branded keychains ready to go and easily accessible for site tours.
When you return from a site tour make a stop in the merchandise area prior to completing the rental or reservation.
Boxes are a necessity when your moving – you can start a conversation with: "Did you know the average move uses over 30 boxes", or "We have some helpful items for packing and storing your belonging's"
Have your boxes assembled and CLEARLY marked - Large, Medium, Small, Wardrobe, Mirror etc., along with the Dimensions and Prices easily visible. Make it easy for the customer and the salesperson to find the information. Don't Forget the Tape! - I can't tell you how many times I've watched someone sell boxes and forget to ask "Do you need tape?" Offering complete solutions to your customers needs is what set's you apart from the completion and creates a memorable customer experience.
Show customers items they may have never seen, or used before and give practical use tips.
Dish Packs and Glass Packs are another great show and tell! Have a demo set-up in your small box display so the customer can see and understand the value.
Newsprint - Have a box that is open for the customer to look at and touch. Use examples of how the product is used - "Great for small fragile items, glassware, plates and dishes etc".
Mattress Bags – One of the biggest missed opportunities! Have you ever moved a mattress? Remember how difficult it was? Mattress bags are an easy solution, and our prices in most cases are better than Wal-Mart!
Bubble Wrap – This is a great product for items such as Lamps, Vases, and larger fragile items like framed art. Bubble Wrap, combined with Shrink Wrap is a great way to protect furniture edges from damage during the move and is also a great up sell opportunity.
Tip #3 - Be The Expert!
Based on your previous notes, conversations, and the site tour you should already have a good idea of what particular items could be useful to the customer. Make suggestions, and use examples of how the products work, and give practical application tips tailored to the customers needs. We may think the customer understands what we have to offer, but in most cases they are unaware of what they will actually need until they're offsite, and already in the process of packing.
Tip #4 - Ask for the sale
You've taken the time to educate and share tips with your customer, now its time to ask for the sale. Based on what the customer told you, start by asking questions like; "How many boxes will need"? I heard you mention a mattress, "How many Mattress Covers do you think you'll need"? Ask, ask, ask, for the sale!
Tip #5 - Finish strong
After the lease is signed, and the Merchandise Sale is complete, offer to carry the purchased items to your customer's car. This should only take a couple of minutes, and will create another experience the customer will remember, and hopefully send others your way.
Plan to succeed
"A goal without a plan is only a wish"
Start by setting monthly sales goals.
An easy method to determine current per rental sales revenue is to take the prior 6 months of merchandise sales (Excluding Truck Revenue) and divide that number by the total rentals.
Example: Merchandise Sales Total -$300 / 30 - Rentals = $10 per rental.
Average sales per rental will range based on a number of factors, such as truck rental sites which should have a higher average sale compared to locations with a high percentage of Parking which may be lower. A good starting point based on traditional storage only locations should be above $18.00 per rental.
Work the sales process 100%
If your sales process changes with every opportunity that walks through your door, so will your results. Consistency is the key to success! Follow a specific sales process from offering a lock at the unit, stopping at the merchandise area with every prospect, explaining your products, and asking for the sale. Also consider using scripts to ensure even more detail and consistency to the process. Understandably not all sales opportunities are the same, but if the goal is to work the process 100% of the time the results will show.
Jim Breunig is a franchise director at Storage Authority. His passion and focus is helping new and existing franchisees in the area's of operations, sales, and marketing. Jim has over 15 years of experience in the self storage industry working with some of the largest REIT's and Privately held organizations in the business. Jim is excited to share his knowledge and is available at Jim@StorageAuthority.com, or by phone, 941-312-1964 to answer any questions you may have, or to share the Storage Authority Franchise opportunity and advantages with you.