When it comes to the art of sales and the processes surrounding the art of sales, some things have changed over the years; for example, business people have moved away from knocking on doors to posting infographics on Pinterest. While the end game is still the same: get more clients and build a successful business, there are some things that have not changed over the years with regard to sales. When it comes to the senior living industry, Roy Barker of Moore Diversified Services and seniorlivingsalesandmarketing.com reminds us that there are things that will never change in the world of sales, especially in the senior living business.
Prospecting Remains Vital
If you market a senior living community, it is crucial that you maintain a waiting list of clients so that you have a constant flow of residents to fill any units that become available, and quickly! Its important to remember that lost revenue days can’t be recaptured. Prospecting, in this case, means going out there and finding people who may benefit from your community and services that you offer both today and maybe even a year down the road. Seniors and those approaching the retirement age are thinking about how to ensure their comfort and quality of life years earlier than they would have even ten years ago but taking that final step to actual move is a very difficult decision. Talking to as many qualified people as possible gives you the opportunity to build a substantial pipeline of potential customers for the future. You’ll want to be sending out mailers, flyers, advertising in the local newspaper (if you’re lucky enough to still have one), placing ads online, participate in senior focused trade shows, and emailing people on your contact list to name a few.
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Without a Plan, You’re Going Nowhere Fast
One of the things that are never going to change when it comes to sales is that you need a plan. People realize that maybe a full-blown business plan is not the way to go anymore, with the lean business models taken over, but whether your plan is scribbled on a napkin or prepared by a professional business service, you need a plan to act on and use as a marker for your progress. When you start to tackle your sales and marketing plan, the best way to approach this is to break down your bigger goals into smaller goals and use the momentum you get from achieving those more modest goals to propel you toward your bigger goals.
Always Deliver and Always Close
While the terminology surrounding sales has grown up a bit and people are starting to shake off the “sleazy” feelings associated with sales, the fact remains that anyone with a business to run, especially a senior living community, needs to be always promoting their business, throughout the community they serve. They need to be ready to talk about their product and services when someone is interested and wants to hear more. Always being “on” is still a genuine thing. Don’t take your website and internet marketing for granted; you still need to be connecting with prospects in an authentic and meaningful way; otherwise, they are just going to go to the next senior living community that pays more attention to their personal needs and wants.
Listen. Then Talk
The easiest way to make a customer or potential customer feel special is to listen to their needs. Ask probing questions about their situation, their likes, and their dislikes. If your marketing a senior living community, and you meet people who are already living in a community, don’t be afraid to ask them about their experiences; you don’t need to “poach” people from other communities, but you can learn a lot about how to improve your business by listening to the experiences of others.
People Need Human Interaction
The internet is great. Really, it is. It has changed the face of business tenfold, and it continues to allow marketers to up their game and make a name for themselves from virtually anywhere in the world. However, one of the biggest mistakes owners and marketers alike have made over the last ten years especially, is that they think the internet is just going to bring them the amount of customers they need. Many have tried it, and many more have failed. People still long for human interaction, and they want to know they can trust the service, product, brand, or whatever it is they are buying. And the only want to build trust is through human interaction. This can be done with emails, phone calls, videos, meetings, interview, and more. Just don’t ignore the fact that your customers want to see you and know you as a person and business person. Remember that your business is not just about making money, it’s about putting your best foot forward and letting people get to know you. You are what will differentiate your community from the other senior living communities in your area and beyond.
Change is Good
Once you start to feel like you have gotten into a good rhythm with your sales and marketing for your senior living community, change it up. Don’t allow your business to stagnate because you didn’t continue to tend to it. Your business needs constant attention, and you need to be willing to get a little creative sometimes to continue to serve your market – it might mean finding an entirely new market – that’s what keeps businesses going.
Accept Rejection with a Smile
Sales people get walloped with rejection. It’s just par for the course. The most successful sales people are the ones that can stand tall after being rejected and recognize that not everyone is their customer, and they don’t want everyone to be their customer. This has been true for as long as there has been a business to deal with: the most successful sales people don’t give up. No matter what. Recognize the rejection as a learning opportunity and move on.
Sales isn’t for Everyone
While it remains true that not everyone is naturally good at sales, you can learn to increase your potential for sales through training, in person and online seminars, or get professional help from sales and marketing experts like Roy Barker. The fact is that the more you push yourself out of your comfort zone, the more successful you will be.
What else do you think has stayed the same in the ever-changing world of sales and marketing? Leave a comment below and be sure to share this with your network!