Cultivating Leadership in Sales
How to Create a Sales Training Process to Propel Information Into Action
by Cody Reynolds
Fundamentally speaking, we are in business to rent self-storage units and collect money for those rented units.
When it comes to standard operating procedures, there are dangers looming in the form of potentially processing something to death. So how can we give life to these mechanisms and achieve balance in the face of our over-processed world we live in?
I believe the solution is for the information to move from knowledge into action! Sounds simple, but hearing is not necessarily doing and knowledge is not exactly the same as putting that knowledge to use.
I first want to express the philosophy behind what it takes to excel in sales, plus I will cover what it takes to teach the art of conversions from both a trainee and a trainer’s perspective.
When I approach training and mentoring at any level, from novice to advanced, it is imperative as a trainer to understand the language of the trainee.
Roll out a solid training program that involves as many learning styles as possible. Think about it for a second. Everyone has different learning styles: visual, aural, verbal and physical. If we introduce an on-going educational training program on various topics, it can be easily absorbed. A good training process will facilitate memorizing the facts, discovering how the facts relate and applying those facts in real situations.
I personally like to encourage my staff to have some type of training resource in a binder that is supplemented with follow-up verbiage from me on the information I just covered that day with the employee. This way it will be received in both an audio and visual format. Support your employees with tangible reference material. Information overload is common no matter how good a teacher you are and having systems and processes to refer back to will be extremely beneficial. I also like to segment my training programs in evolving phases that can take up to several days (and sometimes weeks) rather than all at once.
Let’s dive into the sales process and take the table above as a sales training example. This tool is a great way to introduce the five parts of a sale and the dynamics between phone leads and straight walk-ins. Put this in a table, leaving room for note taking as you expand on all of the bullet points, and cover the material in various ways until the dots begin to connect.
Here is a rough template regarding the five parts of a sale:
- invitation, and
One will flow right into another in a natural progression when conducted smoothly, so keep in mind that the approach will vary as it relates to walk-ins versus phone leads.
What does your initial encounter look like with your customers when they walk through your doors? The customer is always judging with their five senses and there are certain aspects within your control to help give you the cutting edge in sales as it pertains to sales.
What is the customer seeing as they pull into your driveway and walk up to the front door?
Are the fire lanes painted and trash picked up from last night’s wind debris?
Are cigarette butts swept off the pavement?
This is your moment to set the stage for a professional tone or lack thereof. Is the glass on the door clean or smudgy? Is the lawn well-manicured and are the weeds pulled throughout the facility? Do you stand and greet every single customer to show respect as they enter?
Be upbeat. Don’t drag your personal life into work or be a “Debbie Downer,” especially if the customer is moving. Elevate positive morale in your environment by letting you and your work shine!
Seize the opportunity right off the bat and ALWAYS capture the most essential element of the sale: A name and number.
You: Thank you for calling Super Self Storage this is Cody, who do I have the pleasure of speaking with? Customer: [Susan]
You: Hi Susan, may I please have your phone number in case we get dis- connected? Customer: 499-955-2122
Key Take-away Insights: Remember, some of the people who are calling you and/or walking through your doors are going through some of life’s most challenging situations. Your ability to be professional and properly identify their needs with a solution really does help them in their transition! Always track your leads in an organizational spreadsheet or software to optimize the skill of follow-through.
Fact: The customers who call you or walk into your facility inquiring about storage space are already in the market for space. This should be a huge confidence booster. One way or the other, they are renting space from someone, and it might as well be you.
Be secure in your ability to respond to your customers with bold solutions and take the lead by actively listening. Draw them out of their shell if they lack detail in their response, by asking the right questions directly after the greeting:
- How long?
You “Thank you for calling Super Self Storage this is Cody, who do I have the pleasure of speaking with?”
You: “Hi Susan, may I please have your phone number in case we get disconnected?”
You: “Thank you Susan, how may I help you today?”
Customer: “I need storage.”
You: “In order for me to best identify your square footage needs, may I ask how many bedrooms worth of furniture you will be storing?”
Avoid at all costs the question, “How much space do you need?” after the customer inquires about a storage unit. In many cases the customer may not know how much space they will need. You are the expert ready to help!
You are the self-storage professional. Display your ability to provide a solution in the consulting stage by flowing into this phase with positive assurance.
Mention a couple of features and benefits as an upside to storing at your location at this point in the conversation.
“Susan, based on what you are describing, you will need up to 200 square feet worth of space, or a 10x20. We have a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility that is gated with wide drive-up aisles. I would love to show you our property! When would be a good time for you to come by today and look at the space to see if it would be a good fit for your needs?”
The invitation is such a natural progression from the last step in the sales process.
- Invite all of your phone lead customers to visit the store by scheduling a set appointment
- It is easier to make a sale in person versus over the phone
- This is key to a successful phone presentation
“Susan, based on what you have described, you will need at least 150 square feet up to 250 square feet of space.
Our storage units range in five-foot increments and the best way to assist you is to invite you to the store so you can actually see the size difference on these two suggested unit mixes in or- der to determine what will best fit your needs. When would be a good time today to come by so I can give you a quick tour of the facility?”
The closing encapsulates the sales process by simply asking for the rental.
Remember, the customer is already in the market for space. The battle is half won from the get-go because they are reaching out to you. This is not out- bound sales. They are actually coming to you with a need for space.
If you become knowledgeable and intentionally practice courtesy, then your ability to serve the customer will exponentially succeed! Obviously, you need to do your part and keep the facility polished with good old-fashioned hard work and elbow grease, but this produces confidence in the product you push and builds character!
Honestly, I have discovered that customers are more apt to buy from you as a person than they are the product.
The facility manager has an extraordinary power to connect with the customer on an entirely different level and create the most value out of any tool the business attempts to deploy as a means of marketing!
Implement these five steps in the sales process, harmonized with the other points mentioned above, and you will most definitely serve your clientele well.
Applying a solid sales training program naturally leads to an increase in your conversion rate, enhances the quality of your customer interactions and will build overall value to your infrastructure.
Furthermore, it is also important to support your staff if you are an owner or an area manager by being more systems-driven in the way of broadcasting good training programs for your business model.
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