Some people seem to be natural born sales persons. They have a unique combination of engaging personality, social intelligence, insight, empathy, problem-solving skills and a customer service mentality that makes senior living sales seem easy for them. However, for most others who were not born with perfect sales DNA, it’s not quite as easy. They require some help and direction to make it all come together successfully.
In a January 2013 article entitled “10 Training Tips For Senior Living Sales People in 2013”, author Diane Masson offers several useful sales training tips for improving your sales team’s attitude, focus, techniques and results. In a related article, “Sales Meeting Tips to Increase the Occupancy in 2013”, she also provides insightful tips for making sales meetings more, motivating, substantive and results oriented.
A Prescription for a More Effective Sales Function
Ms. Masson lists the following 10 training tips as the foundation for developing effective sales personnel and getting more production out of your sales function:
- 1) Identify your sales team’s attitude toward the occupancy goals – do they believe they can hit the occupancy goal? As the author suggests, if they don’t believe, they’ll never achieve.
As she says, some sales people get very overwhelmed with the yearly goal. When they hear that 50 CCRC entrance fee move-ins or 120 assisted living move-ins are budgeted, you can look for the squirming in the seat and eye rolling. This means they don’t believe. Well, it’s your job to believe the occupancy goal and encourage your people to believe.
Overcoming Yearly “Goal Phobia”
Ms. Masson provides some tips to turn them into believers starting with breaking down yearly occupancy goals into more manageable sounding monthly goals.
- How many sales are needed per month?
- What is each person’s monthly sales goal?
For a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) with three sales people and a goal of 50 move-ins – that’s 4 sales a month and about 1.3 sales per person per month. Calculate how many tours are needed per person and how many calls on average will draw in the tours per month.
For the same CCRC example it ends up being:
- 60 tours a month and 1,200 team phone calls per month or
- 20 tours and 300 calls per month for each sales person or
- 5 tours a week and 75 calls in a week for each sales team member
How easy is it for one person to do 1 tour and 15 calls in a day? This is how the 50 move-in yearly goal breaks down. It’s very easy to hit the yearly goal with a great team, a good organization, planned advertising to draw in new faces, excellent quality of programming, superb food and a first-class reputation of caring for the residents. Just break it down for your team, BELIEVE and then your team will BELIEVE, too!
Continuing with her 10 training tips…
- 2) Are your sales personnel differentiating your senior living community from the competition down the road? Never say anything bad about the competition, but always highlight your retirement community’s strengths.
- 3) Have you set a quota for a certain number of calls per week and is the director of marketing or executive director tracking it? A lot of sales are made with that quick follow up phone call to invite the senior back again for a 2nd or 3rd look.
- 4) A “wow” tour, including painting a picture of the lifestyle, can make the monthly fee look like a bargain…
- 5) Do you have exciting events that draw new faces into your community and inspire 2nd and 3rd looks to move forward?
- 6) Are they avoiding negative words, like calling your community a “facility”? Who wants to leave their beautiful home and move into a “facility”?
- 7) Does you team focus on selling to personalities? Tailor each tour to the personality of each customer. Are they more into data or “feel”?
- 8) Focus on each senior’s hot buttons, like not being a burden to their kids…
- 9) Are you asking for the deposit – every single time?
- 10) Creating urgency to make a decision now is a must – it’s awesome when you have two different seniors considering the same apartment!
Implications for Senior Living Providers
Coupled with a well-conceived marketing strategy that enhances your brand awareness and strengthens your market equity, having a sales team trained in current best practices for selling to seniors is critical for increasing sales and achieving your annual occupancy goals!