Gabfocus Episode 58 | Top 5 Sales Skills for Managers

Gabfocus Episode 58 | Top 5 Sales Skills for Managers

Self storage managers are an important part of the sales process, and a well-trained and equipped manager is an expert at converting leads into renting tenants. But how do they do this? Join us as we dig into the sales skills, strategies, and tactics that will help any self storage manager succeed!

Featured Speakers: Carol Mixon-Krendl
Moderators: Tommy NguyenMelissa Huff

Category: Sales
Focus: Managers & Operators
Aired: March 28, 2024
Duration: 1:02:32


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

  • At 9:45, our expert discusses the importance of following up with leads and discusses how most people will start looking for other options after 7 minutes.
  • 12:30, Carol discussed the trend of increasing vacancies and why this means that tightening up your sales process is more important than ever.
  • Starting at 14:10, Carol covered the importance of onsite managers to the sales process and the advantages they have over offsite options.
  • At 19:30, our guest talked about the importance of product knowledge to converting leads at your facility.
  • 22:04, our expert started discussing why you should train your managers on your product so that they don't rely on other sources.
  • Around 25:35, Carol talks about the amenities that you should highlight to customers during the sales process.
  • At 28:00, our guest covers the importance of actively listening to converting leads into renting customers.
  • 30:00, Carol touches on how to train your active listening skills and how to learn to relate to your customers' issues and problems.
  • 33:00, our guest discusses how to help guide a sales conversation while still actively listening to the needs of the customer.
  • 35:45, Carol highlights how providing solutions to the problems of your leads can turn them into a renting customer.
  • At 38:40, our guest talks about how to keep the conversation going and how to lightly guide it towards conversion.
  • Starting at 39:50, Carol discusses tips and tricks for providing helpful advice to your potential customers and making the storing process simple.
  • Around 44:20, our guest talked about improving the customer experience at your facility to attract new leads and convert them to customers.
  • 47:10, Carol discussed planning a tour route around your facility to highlight all of its best features to potential customers.
  • 49:00, Carol started discussing how customer experience can drive reviews and options for a referral program.
  • Around 53:20, our guest talked about hiring the right person for the job and the importance of finding managers who enjoy talking to people.
  • 54:50, Carol covered how the sales process has to be more than a transaction to increase your conversion rate of leads to renting customers.
  • 57:50, Carol answers the question of the week!


Gabfocus Takeaway

In 2024, tightening up your sales process is more important than ever because customers have so many options when it comes to self storage. You have to make sure that you follow up with your leads quickly, relate to any issues or problems that are pushing them to need storage, and then help them find the best solution to their need or problem. Self storage sales is more than a simple transaction, so managers need to know the product they are selling, learn how to actively listen, be problem solvers, give great advice, and provide the best customer experience possible. Building these skills can turn almost any manager into a sales champion and add that human touch to the sales process that will convert more leads than your big competition down the road.

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 Lighthouse Storage Solutions.

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. Why is lead followup so important in 2024?
  2. Why are managers critical to the sales process?
  3. Why is knowing the ins and outs of your product important to the sales process?
  4. Which amenities catch the attention of potential customers the most?
  5. Why is listening so important to converting leads?
  6. How can you train your listening skills?
  7. How can you guide the conversation in the right direction while still listening well?
  8. How can helping your customers solve their problems lead to rentals?
  9. Should you focus on closing the deal or finding the best solution to their problem?
  10. What are some tips and tricks for identifying issues and providing solutions?
  11. What good pieces of advice can you offer to leads?
  12. How can you "advise" instead of "sell" when it comes to converting leads?
  13. How can you improve the customer experience at your facility?
  14. How can a good customer experience bring more leads?
  15. How do all of these skills work together to help you convert a lead?
  16. If you had to choose 1 of these 5 skills, which is most important when it comes to converting a lead and why?

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




Meet Your Speakers

Carol Mixon-Krendl

Carol Mixon-Krendl

SkilCheck Services


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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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