Most professionals that have been in a sales position have experienced having the customer right in front of them while they feverishly tried to close the sale. You have the product they want but for some reason they have every objection known to man as to why they do not want the product or service. So what happens? You continue trying to sell the product so much that it gets to a point where the customer walks out on the sale. What is the reason for this? What could you have done differently to save the sale? I’ll let you in on a technique called WHIF that will help you overcome sale objections.
In the self-storage industry, we are not selling material items – we sell value to our clients. The tenant may need self-storage in order to make room for a new baby that is on the way or until their dream home is built; either way, we are providing a service. The service we provide is a safe place to keep their items out of harm’s way. When we think selling to a tenant, we want to stay away from the stereotype. You know the one, the used car salesman with a short sleeved dress shirt on that, most likely, reeks of cigarette smoke. No one wants to come across like that when they are in a position to help their tenants. So what are some good techniques to make sure the sale goes through and you are not looked at like the used car salesman?
My favorite technique is WHIF. Now, most of you are thinking, wait a second – WHIF is a baseball term for when you take a swing and completely miss the ball. Why would I ever want to do that? I’ll tell you! In sales, WHIF stands for Work, Hobbies, Interest and Family. Using the WHIF technique you’ll learn about your tenants in order to better understand their needs. By asking questions upfront about why your customers are in need of a self-storage unit can give you insight and help you to offer them the ideal size unit that will accurately fit their self-storage needs. Knowing about your tenants allows you the ability to better understand their needs and make proper suggestions to them for items that add value to their self-storage experience.
For example, you may find that one of your tenants came in for a self-storage unit in order to store boxes that no longer fit in their garage. After talking with them and using the WHIF technique, you discover their hobby is fishing and they have a boat at home. They could instantly save space by storing their boat at your facility. Now, you are able to suggestively offer boat storage to your tenant. Just by learning a little more about your tenant you are able to add value to their self-storage experience and fill an empty unit.
When using WHIF remember to use the technique of suggestive selling rather than overselling. Have you ever heard the term, “people like buying from people they know”? This means to be personable and inviting with your customers. Ask questions to learn more about who they are, what they do, and why they need a self-storage unit. Learning about your customers allows you to identify with them and understand their needs. This will result in building their trust. You might find out they are from the same area where you grew up. Maybe they are moving into town and need help learning about the area or they are interested in gaining contacts within the community. The list goes on and on with things we can say to build a relationship with our customers. The ultimate goal is to gain their trust in order to be able to offer them the products that best fit their needs. If you’re interested in learning more sales skills, follow the link to read 5 Steps to Happy Clients. Remember, no one likes to be sold. If you can show them the value in the things they actually need, you will make the sale.
In the sales world, nothing is guaranteed and it will take plenty of practice to feel confident in using the WHIF and suggestive selling techniques. The main goal when using the WHIF technique is not to sell but to suggest and offer based on what you have learned about the customer. People like to do business with people they build a relationship with and trust. The more you know your customers and your customers know you, the better business relationship you will have. Go ahead and just WHIF.
Joshua Lazar is an Operations Analyst for the U-Haul Self-Storage Affiliate Network. Josh brings vast sales management, marketing and retail experience to the team. He has led many teams to success in the Car Rental and Title Loan industries. He is a graduate of Arizona State University (Go Devils!) with a degree in Communications and History. When Josh is not at work he enjoys the outdoors and teaching his son all the lessons of the world.