How to Sell, and Upsell, Ancillary Services and Tenant Protection Plans in Self-Storage
Updated: Oct 1, 2018
An upsell occurs when a customer buys something, and then you manage to sell him additional stuff he might want, or need. Self-storage operators can use these upselling techniques to increase profit. It’s hard to think about upsells without thinking of the most famous one of all: “Do you want fries with that?”
An upsell occurs when a customer buys something, and then you manage to sell him additional stuff he might want or need. “Do you want fries with that?” is a cliché in the fast-food industry that has trickled over—sometimes as a joke—into business in general. The phrase was originated by a company that wanted to sell other products in addition to its flagship burger. The purpose was to add something the customer might not normally have ordered to increase the average ticket price.
The upselling concept can be used in all industries, even self-storage. The markup on retail products at your facilities is (at least it should be) enormous and can immediately increase your bottom line—and your employees' paychecks. The Process for Merchandise
After the manager has shown the prospect a unit, when they arrive back in the office, they should immediately pull items from the merchandise wall/shelf. Since you know what the customer will be storing, choosing items will be easy. For example, if the customers is storing a dresser, and mattresses, the manager should grab a lock, stretch wrap and mattress covers. When the manager retrives those items, he should lay them on the counter and say nothing. Your focus now is back on the lease.
Believe it or not, as the manager is gathering information to complete the lease, the merchandise will start to talk to the customer. The customer may even start touching the items while the information is being entered for the lease. Once this happens; game over. You will have the sale!
Once you get to the point to collect the money, you should ask the customer if they will need other items than what you laid out for them. If they do, great, if not, great! Never ask the customer, "Do you need this, or that?" The answer is no! Assume the sale. At a minimum, you should be selling a lock with every rental.....at a minimum!
In this business, the ideal receipt should include the storage space, a lock, a tenant protection plan and at least one moving product (a box, truck rental, etc.). Whether the customer is storing for personal or business use, he needs all of these things.
To entice customers, give every new tenant who signs a three-month agreement a moving box or mattress cover. This will ease him into the upsell process and spark an interest in your ancillary products. Upselling is all about building customer loyalty and becoming the one-stop-shop for all your customers’ storage needs. The Process for Tenant Protection Plans
Tenant protection plans are a norm in today's storage climate. Nobody really wants a plan, but at the end of the day, we all really do. Peace of mind is crucial is all aspects of life. When presenting the plan, you should wait until you get to the payment screen, or the lease, and simply say, "John, based on what you are storing, a $3,000 protection plan seems about right, unless you need more?" After that is said, be quiet. Let the customer decide. Nearly every tenant gets the protection plan.
If you run into any objections, remember a few things:
1) If it is worth storing, it is worth protecting;
2) Some Homeowners' or Renters' plans do not cover items off-site;
3) If an event happens, even if a Homeowners' or Renters' plan covers this, they could be subject to a much larger deductible and a chance that their overall premium increases.
Upselling to a Larger Unit
When qualifying a customer, make sure you have an idea of what they are storing, but also how often they may need in the space. Although their items may fit into a 10x10, a 10x15 may be better to create some aisle space.
“Many of our customers like to have aisles in their unit so they can get their items in and out easier. (slight pause) I have a larger size available I can show you.”
During your sales presentation, which will subsequently open to the upsell opportunity, always focus on the customer and not just the sale. Upselling is easy and effortless if you listen to the customer and find out what he’s storing. Knowing this information will enable you to tie your products to his needs.