When it comes to hitting your monthly, quarterly, and yearly sales targets, the best salespeople will tell you that they succeed each and every time by building relationships with their prospects turned residents – some of them have relationships with potential residents for years before they ever move in. That’s the sign of a true salesperson. Prospects value trust, integrity, honesty, and they especially appreciate being treated like a person and not a sale. Roy Barker of Moore Diversified Services and seniorlivingsalesandmarketing.com says that there are several things that senior living communities need to do in order to strike the right balance of sales to maintain and increase occupancy: they need to stop selling their rooms and services and start selling themselves.
People Buy From Those They Trust
It’s hard to believe that there are still salespeople who are running around like chickens with their heads cut off just trying to pawn off their next sale, so they can hit their targets. When it comes to senior living communities, everyone knows sales go well beyond the traditional transaction to get and keep residents in your community: you need to keep them happy for years to come. The best way to do this is to start with yourself. If you are the person responsible for bringing in new residents, you need to talk to people like they are more than a sale. Staying in touch with prospects and building a relationship with them means the difference between a full house with a waiting list, and a community struggling to stay open.
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Listen to Gain Their Trust
Salespeople continue to make the mistake of thinking that they need to do all the talking, which couldn’t be further from the truth. When salespeople encounter potential residents for their senior living community, all you need to do is listen to what the person needs and wants in a community. Then tell them and show them how you can meet those needs. You don’t need to come on strong with a giant list of all the amenities and activities to keep them entertained; you just need to be able to explain to them how your community offers them everything they want or need. Over-delivering is excellent, but sometimes people just want to know that they are getting what they wanted. Over-delivering will keep them happy for years to come, but pay attention to what will get them in the door initially and then work on showing off everything your senior living community has to offer.
Knowing Your Audience
In order to have an effective sales strategy, and in order to be able to show your most authentic self to your potential residents, you need to know who you are talking to. When it comes to finding new residents for your senior living community, don’t make the mistake of assuming all seniors will want or need the same things out of their senior living experience. The golden years don’t have to be sedate anymore. While illness or disease may stop some from cutting a rug on a Friday night, other senior citizens live vibrant and active lifestyles well into their 80s and 90s. An effective salesperson will know how to talk to seniors of varying activity levels and understand what their expectations are so that they can provide the best service possible. Never assume anything about anyone you meet: they will surprise you! Always ask. Always listen. Then talk. Knowing what motivates potential residents to seek out a community with services like yours is vital to being able to close a deal. It isn’t about selling your community and service; it’s about selling yours and our staffs personalities as people who care about what the prospective resident wants and needs. The more you care and show you care, the more engaged your potential residents will be.
Keep it Simple
Sales is not hard. Stop telling yourself it’s hard. Like all things in life, if you approach selling with a negative attitude, you are going to be terribly unsuccessful. Instead of thinking that you need to sell your senior living community services to people, start thinking of it as offering them a solution — and you are! You are offering them an opportunity to live a carefree lifestyle, and you are offering them support, a warm environment to retire into, and a caring staff who can help them if and when they need it. You are not selling them a room with a bed and a chair in the corner. You are offering them a comfortable place to call home, a hot meal, and an opportunity to meet and socialize with people who have similar interests and hobbies.
You can drop the word “sell” from your vocabulary if that makes you feel more comfortable. Remember that you are your brand, product, and service. You are the face of the company and especially your community. The face of the company shouldn’t be uncomfortable with their product. After all, why would someone want it if you don’t even want to talk about it? Start changing the way you look at sales and start talking about the solutions you can offer, and you’ll be well on your way to filling up your senior living community in no time.
Finally, when it comes to putting yourself out there in the world, do it with pride. Don’t think about how you are exchanging goods and services for money. Think about how you are providing a much needed and valuable service to your residents and the community. Don’t feel bad for wanting to take money for that product or service. Don’t undersell your products because you feel like you aren’t good at sales. Don’t let others find the success you deserve because you think you are not good at sales. Get good at it. Take pride in it. You sold yourself on the idea of being sales leader in a senior living community so why wouldn’t you want to share that joy and passion with others? Put yourself out there and build those relationships and you’ll find that you have no trouble securing residents for your senior living community.