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Relating to People is Key

Apr 26, 2011

By Brom Hoban, TSSA Director of Communications

Key to what? Just about everything, including success in the self-storage industry. Allow me to explain. I recently came across a quote in the Austin American Statesman in an article that featured an interview with a screenwriter.

The fellow was citing his philosophy regarding quality scripts- how to best reach people. “My father, who was a salesman, once told me that people rarely remember what you say, and they remember very little of what you do. But they’ll remember the way you make them feel the rest of their lives.”

I like that quote for a lot of reasons. For starters, I believe it rings true. And note that the man was a salesman. To me, that means that he had discovered that relating well to people was the key to good sales, among other things.

You can see it in action all of the time. I recently had the opportunity to deal with several sales people in the web development industry. While all handled themselves professionally, some connected better than others. And though they all basically offered the same services, I ended up going with the company that did the best job relating to me, and establishing a comfortable connection. Ultimately, that seems quite important when you analyze it, especially if the product or service a customer is looking into involves an ongoing relationship into the future.

In his book Rent it Up! Four Steps to Unlocking the Profit Potential in Your Self-Storage Business, Tron Jordheim of PhoneSmart, echoes that philosophy.

“We have a saying too: ‘Make a friend; make a sale.’ That kind of comes down to the same thing,” says Jordheim.


According to Jordheim, the whole concept sales people have about “building rapport,” may sound daunting, but it really is just about people feeling good that your listening to them and paying attention, and that you actually hear what they said. In short, you’re actually listening to them.

“At out call center, one way to evaluate how successful our people are, is to record the conversation, but listen to just what the callers said,” says Jordheim. “If they sound like they’re happy, something went well. So it’s not about us, it’s about the customer—especially in the self-storage business.”


15 Comments

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