Gabfocus Episode 43 | Teaching Your Team to Follow Up & Sell

Gabfocus Episode 43 | Teaching Your Team to Follow Up & Sell

How does your team communicate with leads & tenants?

You've done all the work of getting a potential customer on your radar. What do you do now? Having good communication, follow-up, and sales training is crucial for your team. Join us as we talk about the best ways to follow up with your leads and communicate with your customers.

Featured Speakers: Carol Mixon-Krendl & Hailey Teal
Moderators: Tommy Nguyen

Category: Operations
Focus: Owners & Operators
Aired: November 3, 2022
Duration: 1:05:47


If you don't have time to watch the whole session, here are some of our favorite parts:

  • At 6:15, our panelists outline the various channels they use to communicate with leads and tenants and how they communicate with customers via whichever channel the customer prefers.
  • 8:40, Hailey discusses how they train their managers in proper email etiquette, and Carol covers the importance of utilizing concise language and proper grammar.
  • Starting at 12:30, our experts cover general guidelines and best practices they have for their teams when interacting with leads or tenants.
  • At 14:40, Carol talks about the importance of making training materials concise, palatable, and easy to comprehend.
  • 15:45, our guests discuss how continuous feedback is vital to driving consistency in communication across your business, especially when you have multiple employees.
  • Around 20:30 our panelists discuss the importance of celebrating wins along with providing constructive feedback to your employees.
  • At 23:00, Hailey talks about the importance of same-day responses to any potential leads who have reached out via various channels.
  • 24:30, Carol discusses how younger generations want even quicker responses, sometimes even within the hour.
  • Starting at 27:00, our guests cover the importance of having a script and follow-up guidelines and how they should include opportunities for "human moments" to empathize with leads and tenants.
  • Around 31:35, Hailey talks about the level of selling or upselling they ask of their team.
  • 37:00, our panelists discuss the importance of hiring teammates with good attitudes and how if they can find someone with the right attitude, they can train the rest.
  • At 42:20, our experts talk about pairing teammates who may not be extremely outgoing with managers who are, putting rockstars next to soon-to-be rockstars for training.
  • Starting around 47:40 both Hailey and Carol discuss how long you should continue to follow up with leads who are not responsive.
  • 53:00, Carol discusses the benefits of having an onsite manager versus an unmanned location.
  • Starting at 55:10, our panelists talk about how they train employees to deal with potentially difficult interactions or tenants.
  • Around 57:40, Carol covers the importance of matching the personality of your managers to the right location or community.
  • At 1:00:00, the experts answer the Question of the Week!


Question of the Week

We asked our experts: What is the most important rule for your team when interacting with leads or customers?

Being positive and being helpful to solve their storage needs." - Carol Mixon-Krendl

"We want team members who approach every interaction with a good attitude and who have a good outlook on those customers and a good outlook on their property." - Hailey Teal

Gabfocus Takeaway

Empathizing and making a positive, personal connection with leads and tenants is important to both converting leads and building advocates who will refer your business to others. Hiring people with the right, friendly attitude is incredibly important to achieving this, and if you can find a "people person" with the right attitude, you can train them on the rest of the job. When it comes to communication, you want to respond quickly, concisely, and via the channel of communication that your lead or tenant prefers. While customers enjoy that personal touch, they are also looking for a seamless, positive experience, and a well-trained employee equipped with the right tools can ensure your tenants, new and existing, remain happy for their entire stay at your business.

What are Gabfocus Sessions?

Gabfocus Sessions are virtual workshops for self storage owners, managers, and operators. Brought to you by the team behind Gabfest: StoragePug and Affordable Storage Guys Management.

Each session features hand-picked industry pros who will dive deep into relevant topics surrounding our industry, share best practices, and explore trends in the market. It's our hope that these sessions help you navigate your self storage business better during these uncertain times.

Want to learn more about self storage? Join us on select Thursdays for Gabfocus.

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Questions Answered in this Session

  1. What are the main channels of communication?
  2. How do you train your team to interact with each channel?
  3. Do you have any general guidelines or best practices for your team when interacting with leads or customers?
  4. How do you ensure that your team is staying consistent with their communication?
  5. What are your expectations for your team when following up with potential customers?
  6. Do you have a script or set of follow-up guidelines?
  7. What level of selling or upselling should your team be doing?
  8. What makes a good salesperson?
  9. How do you help your team become better at selling?
  10. What kind of notes do they take?
  11. How do they set next steps (and what are they)?
  12. How long should your team follow up with leads?
  13. What are the most common types of customer service?
  14. How do you prepare your team to handle more difficult customers or interactions?
  15. What is the most important rule for your team when interacting with leads or customers?

Live Poll Results: What tools are most important to provide to your employees?




Meet your speakers


Carol Mixon-Krendl


Hailey Teal

Hailey Teal

Jenkins Organization


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Resources from this session

Awesome Quotes

“Once your operation is in place, you can become more dynamic with your pricing, but that requires data. You need some method of being able to record the data that you need to know whether your price is in the right place - whether you need to move it up or start giving some concessions.” - Warren Lieberman
“I never want to downplay to what someone else is doing. I'm better than they are, then I'm going to be worth a higher price. That's what value is. If you go out to a restaurant and get really good service, would you go back? Yes! What if it was pricier? You'd still go back because you got better service and a better product.” - Jim Mooney
"It's good to be informed on your competition. I don't want to ignore them, but I don't want to respond too strongly to them either." - Warren Lieberman
"We did a survey of 10,000 facilities on their pricing. We found out that two-thirds of those operators didn't change the price of a single unit of the course of a month." - Warren Lieberman
“Rate increases and value pricing are the number one ways to grow your revenue.” - Jim Mooney
"Tenants in more convenient units tend to be less price sensitive." - Warren Lieberman
"The size of the unit is only one aspect of what people are willing to pay for." - Warren Lieberman


Foundational marketing strategies to have in place - whether leasing up or stabilized:

  • Website
  • Set up listings (Yelp, Google My Business, Apple Maps)
  • Social Media
  • Establish Local Partnerships

Lease up marketing strategies:

  • Lead Generating Strategies (like digital ads)
  • Aggregators (Sparefoot, Storagefront, etc.)
  • Awareness Campaigns (like billboards, flyers, and sponsorships)

Your average customer value
Find the average stay length of all tenants. Next take your economic occupancy and divide by how many units you have. That will tell you what the average customer pays.

Multiply the average length of stay by what the average customer pays, and that's the average value of a customer.

For example, if a customer stays for 12 months and pays $100 per month, then their value is $1,200.

Your average lead value

Figure out your closing rate (or conversion rate) i.e. how many leads do you turn into tenants? Multiply that by your average customer lifetime value to figure out what your leads are worth. 

Pro Tip: see which lead sources are converting the best. It may be that certain sources have a higher conversion rate, so those leads are worth more to you than a source that barely converts.

Typical Lease-up timeline

According to our panelists, it's typical to see a 3-4% increase each month, putting your facility at 36% after the first year, and 72% after the second.

Alternately, you can look at your lease up goals through the lens of your units, aiming for 20 units rented per month.

For Nick and StorageMax, they pro forma their economic occupancy at 85% with their sweet spot at 92%.

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