Overcoming Sales Objections in the Storage Industry
If you own a storage facility, you’re no stranger to the sales objections that may occur. Although sales objections can be difficult to overcome, the right strategies can help successfully address objections so both you and your customers win.
First, we’ll address what sales objections are, how to understand your customer’s needs, ways to identify common objections, and strategies to overcome them.
What are Sales Objections?
Sales objections are in play anytime a potential customer is not progressing towards a purchase. An objection can be stated, but objections are often veiled as delaying a decision to buy or an unwillingness to take further steps in the buying process. For example, a person who says they want to continue to shop around has an objection even if the exact nature of the objection is unknown to you because it is not clearly stated.
Where Do Objections Come From?
Understanding the psychology behind sales objections can help salespeople more effectively overcome them. There are five main psychological drivers behind sales objections.
1. Fear of Making a Bad Decision
Potential customers may raise objections or delay a purchase decision because of their fear of making a mistake. They will be hesitant to commit to a purchase without feeling confident that it is the right choice. For example, a storage customer may not feel confident choosing between a drive-up unit or an inside and climate-controlled unit. They may be asking themselves whether climate control is worth the extra expense or whether the convenience of drive-up access is a better choice.
2. Need for More Information
Potential customers may raise objections or delay the purchase decision as a way to gather more information. They may be uncertain about specific aspects of your offering and want to clarify before making a decision. For example, a potential customer may not understand what you mean by “state of the art security” or “climate control” but fears sounding dumb by asking questions.
3. Fear of Being Taken Advantage Of
Potential customers may raise objections or delay as a way to protect themselves from feeling taken advantage of. They may be concerned about the cost or the potential for hidden fees or fine print. For example, if a potential customer has not used storage before, or has not shopped extensively, they may feel like your administrative fee or insurance requirement is abnormal and may be an attempt to take advantage of their inexperience.
4. Lack of Trust
Potential customers may raise objections or delay as a way to express their lack of trust in the salesperson or the company. They may be hesitant to make a purchase from someone or a company they do not trust. For example, a potential customer could be reading online reviews of your company while talking with your representative and they find something that raises doubts.
5. Emotionally Driven
Potential customers may raise objections or delay a buying decision based on their emotions, such as feeling rushed, stressed, or overwhelmed. They may need more time to process the information or need to feel heard and understood.
Understanding these underlying psychological factors can help your salespeople better understand the potential customer’s perspective and tailor responses to address the customer’s specific concerns. Learning what your customer’s most frequent questions and concerns are allows you the opportunity to address those through your website copy, and to train your staff to help address them preemptively or overcome them when conversing with your potential customers.
Discovering the Real Objection
Sales is difficult because potential customers often want to avoid the slightest feeling of confrontation. They would rather tell you that they need to talk it over with their husband or wife than to tell you that they are worried they are overpaying for a 10’x10’ and they aren’t sure they need climate control, whatever that is, even though that’s the type of unit you’ve been discussing for the last few minutes.
Whenever a potential customer voices an objection or stops accepting your invitations to move the buying process forward you need to work to discover what the real problem is. An easy way to approach this is to acknowledge the reluctance and ask questions about each of the most common aspects of the storage decision: convenience, accessibility, security, cost, and alternatives.
This might sound like the following dialogue.
Potential Customer: Thanks for the information. I’ll give you a call back when I’m ready to rent.
Salesperson: I can see you are not ready to make a decision (this is acknowledging what is happening). Do you have any concerns about whether our location will be convenient for you or whether our access hours are adequate? (checking on convenience)
PC: No, you guys are on the way to my office. I think the location is fine.
S: We’ve been talking about a drive-up unit. Any worry about whether that type of storage space will meet your needs?
PC: No, I think a drive-up space will be easiest.
S: Some of my customers are really concerned about security. I know I didn’t go into great depth about our security features. Any concern about whether your stuff will be secure here?
PC: Well, I have seen some homeless in the neighborhood and I’m wondering whether I’d be better off at a facility in a different neighborhood.
Now you have something more substantial to work with! You can continue the dialogue with more information about how you keep your customer’s property safe before the call is over.
Avoid Objections by Using Social Proof and Reducing Uncertainty
One way to reduce objections is by using social proof in the form of testimonials and five-star reviews. In his bestselling book, Influence, Robert Cialdini explains, “…we seem to assume that if a lot of people are doing the same thing, they must know something we don’t. Especially when we are uncertain, we are willing to place an enormous amount of trust in the collective knowledge of the crowd.” You can reassure your potential customer that they are making a good decision when you show them that many other people have been pleased with their decision to buy from you.
A second way to reduce your potential customer’s uncertainty is to increase the likelihood they know what you are talking about when you describe the features of your facility. A specific tactic is to use the phrase “which means” to connect a feature at your facility with a benefit the customer can understand. For example, when speaking to a prospective customer if they express concerns over accessibility to their unit, you might say, “we have a drive-up access storage space available which means you can drive your car right up to the 8-foot-wide door and easily move your things in and out of the storage unit.”
Finally, if you offer online rentals, it is important to communicate an appropriate response to your most common sales objections. Clear text, images, and even video can help your potential customers feel comfortable completing their entire rental process online. Consider including unit sizing tips and answers to frequently asked questions to ensure your customers feel like they can make an informed decision without speaking to your staff directly. Also include any promotional offers you are currently running on your website to help your potential customers feel like they are getting a good deal.
Self storage sales objections can be a challenge to overcome, but with the right approach they can be addressed successfully. It’s important to understand the customer’s needs, identify common questions, and have a plan to address them. By following these strategies, you can effectively overcome these objections and turn them into sales opportunities.