I’ve said it before. As we round out this series, it’s worth saying again: People crave what’s real! Our customers need authentic interaction that puts them at ease, rather than increases their suspicion of us. Last week we explored the thresholds, or phases of the prospect’s decision-making process, which provide a transparent and predictable process for both sales counselor and prospective resident. That transparency and predictability encourage an authentic and trusting connection that equips prospective residents with the information, resources, and support they need to make a life-changing decision.
The initial call is one of the most critical and challenging moments in the entire sales process. It is the moment in the process that tempts even the most experienced to fret over “what do I say?” or to use a “script” and perform the call. This is why we give you permission and, in fact, encourage you to admit you are using a prepared list of questions. Telling prospective residents you have a prepared list of questions to ask gives you credibility with them (because you’re prepared and conscientious), and this makes the initial call less intimidating for you.
Purpose decreases the dread of phone calls, reaches quotas, and sells senior living. For RaDical, it also drives accountability in a different way than most sales systems. Benchmarks, a daily measurement tool, does not measure success by any single sales activity. Rather than a blanket "20 calls per day" or another one-dimensional heuristic, Benchmarks works off a point system:What activity needs to be done today to drive sales? It may be 2 appointments, 5 emails, and 10 connected calls. It may be 4 appointments or it may be 20 connected calls. Sales activity is driven by what is needed to make the sale. Benchmarks gives proportionate credit to the most revenue-producing activities in sales and provides fair and effective daily goals that, when achieved, result in sales.
3E’s: Explanation, Elaboration, Enthusiasm
Open-ended questions have become an industry standard for great selling. Unfortunately, folks often forget that there is a purpose to the questions: the answers given are opportunities for you to respond with how your community matches their need/goal. Every answer from your prospect deserves at least some amount of 3E’s — explanation, elaboration, and/or enthusiasm from you.If you miss the opportunity to respond to your prospective resident’s answers, you have missed the point of asking the questions altogether. Crafting and practicing your own possible answers to the questions is important.
Time Not Tours
What does all this mean? To reference a recent article by Sherpa on Security Housing Forum, “Building a relationship with a prospect is at the foundation of the new evolution of sales.” Trust is essential as “Only a small percentage (less than 10%) of qualified prospects will even consider a move.” So, where do we turn from here? According to Lois Bowers’ recent article on McKnight's Senior Living, it’s time, not (quantity of) tours that are the biggest factor in lead conversion. This research supports RaDical's radical proposition: sales in the retirement industry will always be about people more than about numbers, about authentic relationship more than sales techniques, about education instead of manipulation. As sales professionals in senior living, we have been entrusted with supporting people through major life transition. When that transition is successful, it is rewarding for everyone--resident and sales counselor alike!
If you would like to hear more about RaDical’s radical approach, call Deborah Potter at 850-384-3270.
This blog entry is provided by guest writer Deborah Potter.
Deborah Potter is a consultant with Retirement DYNAMICS® as well as creator and author of RaDical Sales® senior housing sales system. She joined Retirement Dynamics after her rapid rise from sales counselor to area sales manager for one of the largest senior living systems in the nation. Her success is based on driving sales. She’s adept at helping teams to achieve maximum sales by educating older adults on the value of retirement living and equipping them to make the move. Deborah holds a B.A. in English from Auburn University and an M.A. in Sociology from the University of Denver.
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About the Author
Patty Scotten is a consultant with Retirement DYNAMICS® and serves as their marketing manager. Patty has over twenty five years’ experience in the senior living industry and has led several communities in preselling expansions or increasing occupancy levels. She graduated from Elon University and holds a Masters Degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Patty is licensed as both an assisted living and nursing home administrator.