“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” ~ Wayne Gretzky
For those that may not know, Wayne Gretzky was the Babe Ruth of professional hockey. He holds 61 records including the most goals scored with 2,856. Mark Messier is second in the record books with 1,000 fewer goals, just to put that into perspective.
This quote really ties in with managing a self storage business. You’re not likely to get that referral if you don’t ask for it. You’re not likely to get that Google review if you don’t ask for it. You’re not likely to sell as much merchandise if you don’t ask for it. The worst thing that can happen is the customer saying, “No thanks” to your question but the upside can be very rewarding. But as Gretzky would tell you, just because someone passes you the puck doesn’t mean you’re ready to take a shot. You have to position yourself for a high probability of success. In our business, you do that by paying attention to detail; making sure you make all the right “first impressions”; curb appeal, friendly greeting, clean golf cart, clean property, clean restroom, etc. Then you move to the next position by building rapport with the customer; asking probing questions to make sure you’re giving them exactly what they need. Once you’ve built rapport, uncovered needs, and impressed the customer with your level of professionalism and ebullient personality, you’ve positioned yourself to take a few shots; i.e. insurance, lock sale, boxes and other moving supplies they may need.
Now let’s move forward 6 months or so. Maybe the customer has had a couple of issues they have brought to your attention and you have given exceptional customer service each time. The customer is so impressed with how you have treated them and responded to their needs, they express their gratitude to you. Now you’re like Wayne Gretzky with the puck, looking at an empty net. TAKE THE SHOT!!!! You will never have a better opportunity to ask for a referral or Google comments.
The thing you want to be mindful of is how you frame your question. You never want to ask for a referral with “Do you know anyone …” That’s a closed ended (yes or no) question and is like asking, “Do you have a lock?” Of course they have a lock, but they don’t have one of our high security disc locks! Now is the time for a good open ended question. “I’m so glad you are pleased with the service we provide. Who do you know (that rents storage elsewhere) that might benefit from the kind of great service we give our customers?” Or if asking for Google comments, “I’m so glad you are pleased with the service we provide. Will you help others receive the same great service by posting a Google review for us?”
You may not get a response for a referral right then and that’s okay. Let the customer know, “That’s fine if no one comes to mind right now. I’ll ask you next time you come in”, and then be sure to do that the next time you see them. Referrals are the easiest customers to deal with because they were referred to you by someone they trust. Google reviews are like money in the bank. When people go online shopping and see several others praising you, you greatly enhance their chances of renting with you. These are the little things that make us great and set us apart from those other guys.