The word sales instills fear into the hearts of most people.
Why do we have such a distaste for sales? Sales, according to Roy Barker of Moore Diversified Services and seniorlivingsalesandmarketing.com, is nothing more than providing a solution for the needs of others. If you let go of the negativity surrounding the idea of sales and just focus on delivering solutions, the entire process can shift for you and your results will be much more positive. Here are seven ways to avoid sounding like a pushy salesperson the next time you talk to prospective residents and their families about your senior living community.
This is a great way to approach sales. Instead of trying to close the deal from the get-go, offer your services as a way to help potential residents make decisions. Invite prospects in for an information session, a meal, and a tour. Assure them that you aren’t going to try to get them sign any deals or commit to any packages right away. You want them to have as much information as possible to make an informed decision. Consultations provide information with no expectations from the seller. So offer consultations.
Don’t Talk About Yourself
During that consultation, allow your potential resident to talk as freely and openly as they wish. The open exchange of dialog will let you gather valuable information to help determine if they are a good fit for your community; what’s more, it will make your potential client feel like the entire consultation process was about them. People love nothing more than to feel like they are being listened to and most of all heard, there is an enormous difference.
Ask a lot of Questions
In addition to the information your potential resident is providing you, be sure to ask a lot of follow up questions. Make sure you ask open-ended questions that prompt your potential resident to continue to talk. Don’t ask close-ended questions that result in just a yes or no answer. Besides, when you ask those kinds of questions, you probably already know the answers and are just confirming what you already know. Consultations and meetings should be about learning something new. You can only learn something new about your potential resident when they are actively talking.
Pre-qualify Your Leads
If you have found that some of your consults or meetings haven’t been a good fit for your senior living community, try pre-qualifying those leads before actually meeting with them. Or make your consultation the “pre-qualifying” piece of your sales funnel. Either way, have a series of questions ready to see if your potential client will fit into your community, or if you even have what the prospect desires. It can save everyone a lot of wasted time. Always be courteous and be sure to thank the prospect and their family even if they aren’t qualified to move on to the next stage of your sales process.
Focus on Solutions
When you have collected enough information from your potential resident, you can show them all the ways that you can help them live a comfortable lifestyle in your senior living community. Rather than just throw a bunch of information at them, use the information you have to show them precisely how your community meets their needs. For example, if a potential resident mentions several times that they need a quiet space to rest because they are light sleepers, demonstrate how quiet the living space is while touring, or talk about the high-quality construction material and insulation that reduces noise. Don’t tell them about how there is shuffleboard tournaments on Sundays if they are worried about noise reduction.
Listen. Above all else, listen to what your potential resident and their family is saying. Ask as many questions as you need to ensure a good fit for your team and for your potential resident. Continue to follow up with them after the consultation or meeting by sending them a thank you note, a recap email, and scheduling a follow-up call to see if they need more information to help them make their decision. Staying in touch is the key to success for your senior living community.
Ask Potential Clients How to Proceed
When the consultation is over, ask prospect and their families how they would like to proceed. What do they see the next steps being? Who are the contact points? How do they prefer to be contacted? Do they need more information? Make sure to completely address any and all questions they may have. You can avoid sounding pushy by putting the ball in their court. Give the potential resident and their family members the power to decide what they want next, and you will look like a hero — instead of a pushy salesperson — when you can provide the solution to their problem.
The most important part about sales is the relationships you build. Instead of thinking about senior living communities as transactional relationships where you provide a place to live in exchange for money, think of them as living, breathing things that need tending — just like the residents who live in these communities. Think of your potential clients as people who are going to help your business thrive, not only by giving you money for service so you can operate but by being representatives of the kind of community you run. Follow these simple steps, and you won’t sound like a pushy salesperson anymore. Put potential residents and their families first, and the rest will fall into place.