A strong sales team working in conjunction with an effective marketing plan is an essential ingredient for your community’s census growth. Combined with customer service excellence, resident satisfaction and a strong brand reputation in your market region, sales function is the chief mechanism for spearheading growth strategy and translating consumer awareness and interest into residents of your community.
In an increasingly competitive senior living marketplace comprised of more informed, discerning and demanding seniors and their adult children, and the sales function has become more challenging at the same time, it has become increasingly important to your success.
What factors may be limiting your sales success? What can you do to remove them?
In a recent article by Mona Hilton titled, Why Senior Living Sales Teams Struggle – And How to Change Them, the author lists several common industry obstacles that cause salespeople to be less effective. You may see some of these issues in your own organization, and if you do, there’s no time like the present to begin fixing them. After all, new customers are the lifeblood of any business.
As Ms. Hilton says, “The great news is, the more of these challenges you recognize in your organization, the bigger your payoff will be for changing them. And the more you have to gain!”
Common Sales Obstacles Frequently Take the Following Form:
- Lack of Follow Up – According to a recent survey, 65 percent of business managers cited follow up as their top sales failure. Follow up failure is the biggest reason for lost sales.
- Lack of Performance Measurement and Tracking Tools – Many managers, even those in large corporations, do not have needed information, tools or accurate statistics on their sales team’s performance to manage and lead them effectively. Managers should provide clear sales objectives to their teams and possess tools to measure progress toward goals.
- Too Many Distractions from Priorities – No matter what your position or function, there are always things that can fill up your day with non-priority activities. Find ways to limit distractions that get in the way of priority tasks, such as speaking with prospects, addressing their needs and making sales. Diane Masson, CASP, publisher of Marketing 2 Seniors www.marketing2seniors.net, suggests, “Shut the door to your office for one hour and just make phone calls.”
- Poor Organization and Time Management – Many sales people do not have a system for organizing their time and using it as productively as possible. Sales teams greatly benefit from organization and a “plan” to keep them focused every day.
- Staff–Centered Communications – Sales people often make the mistake of communicating with current prospects on their own terms at their own convenience – not the customers. Your prospects and clients are as busy as you are, maybe even busier if it’s the adult child of an aging parent. Make it as convenient as possible for them to respond to you – even if it’s late at night or very early in the morning.
- Lack of Effective or Current Support Materials – Do you have effective sales and marketing support materials that specifically address the needs and problems of your customers? Are they well written and presented in an attractive and professional manner that reflects the quality of your community and services? Are they up to date and reflective of your latest facilities, services and amenities? If not, you are limiting your sales teams’ effectiveness and their ability to sell your community.
Implications for Senior Living Providers
Evaluating your current sales team’s performance, recruiting the right sales team members, providing appropriate, best-practice sales training, developing SMART sales goals and tracking systems and creating customer-centered marketing materials are all essential to competing effectively in today’s market and growing your sales volume. If you need additional assistance or support in any of these areas to optimize your sales effectiveness, be sure to look for an experienced organization that operates exclusively in the senior living marketplace and has the specialized expertise and experience in senior living sales and marketing solutions required to succeed.