Getting the A-Game Out of Your A-Team: Sales Recruitment & Training Tips (Part 2 of 2)


Apr 15, 2015 | Marketing & Branding

In Part 1 of our blog, we discussed the critical importance for sales candidates to have the key behavioral attributes that are associated with successful selling today. Possessing these largely innate skills can even trump selling experience in the senior living industry.

Why? Because the most current sales best practices in senior living can be taught, while essential personality traits and the natural ability to create successful relationships with others cannot. Psychologists tell us that personality and ingrained behaviors are extremely difficult to change. While some people seem to have been born with a knack for easily engaging other individuals, others struggle.

Once you’ve identified a team of sales consultants that display the key markers for sales success, training them in proven, evidence-based sales techniques is key to optimizing their sales results and your community’s ROI. In this article, we’ll turn our attention to the value of Results-Based Selling techniques.

Why Evidence-Based Sales Training Matters Today

Recognized sales expert, Kelly Robertson offers valuable guidance for sales professionals everywhere in his article, “17 Best Practices of Top Performing Sales People.” Robertson states, “Many people wonder what separates a top-performing sales person from the rest of the pack. In most cases, it’s because they apply a number of best practices in their daily routine.”

Karen Nelson Crolius, Senior Vice President & Senior Consultant for SageAge Strategies offers some very sound advice to communities that are committed to optimizing their sales performance and reaching or exceeding their sales goals and move-ins. In addition to her leadership role with SageAge Strategies, Karen brings over 20 years of leadership experience on the community/provider side of senior living as a senior executive responsible for both operations and the sales and marketing functions. She is also fully certified in three key areas that demonstrate expertise in Alzheimer’s and dementia care, including: Certified Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care Trainer, Certified Dementia Practitioner and Certified Dementia Care Manager.

Says Karen, “There are several key principals of effective selling that every community today should understand, embrace and apply consistently.” For example:

  • Everyone sells in a community, and they should understand the basic principles of effective sales. Your primary sales counselor should always have back up support they can count on.
  • We strongly emphasize the need for person-centered sales, meaning your sales counselors need to get to know the “life stories” of the people who are interested in your community. To be clear, it’s not just about the potential resident who will live there, but also their supporting family and the dynamics within the family. Our CARE Sales Training program provides an effective basis for understanding these relationships and applying the correct approaches for addressing the needs of the various parties.
  • In the sales process, it is also extremely important to understand where the family is in the decision making process in order to know how to move the sale forward.
    • If they are in the denial stage (sticking their foot in the water, but not ready to act), it is often very difficult to move the process forward. If you try to sell them in this phase, you will frequently lose them. Usually with the denial phase, you see many excuses, reasons not to move, fear of moving and defensiveness. In this phase, you are really there to be of assistance, to allow them to tell their life stories and to be an exceptional listener and information resource. Here it is important to be as supportive as possible and to create a basic relationship based on empathy and trust.
    • If they are in the thinking stage, they are more willing to listen. They are usually in a situation where they know they are having problems. They sometimes look back to when things were better and seek a magic solution so they can go back to the way things were. Here you can help them understand better what their problems are and what the potential outcomes might be if they do nothing.
    • If prospective purchasers are in the planning stage, they know a change is coming, but are still not committed to the “when.” Generally, they are more open to talking about specific solutions. Once they are in the planning stage, if the counselor has built a solid foundation of personal rapport and trust, they have an opportunity to move the process to the action phase. Here you are helping and supporting them through the steps of making the move.

Karen adds, “Personalizing all of your ‘touches’ with prospects and families – regardless of the phase – enables those relationships to grow and sustain. Knowing when it’s time to sell and recognizing what specific benefits and advantages your community offers that speak directly to the prospect’s needs and preferences is extremely important. Understanding how to address objections that arise during the different stages of the decision making process is also key.”

“Beyond having best-practice selling skills, knowing your competition’s sales strategy is also essential to optimizing your community’s growth goals. Many of our clients utilize “mystery shopping” to assess their own sales team’s performance from a customer’s perspective as well as to clearly identify competitor sales techniques used to sell against them.”

Best-Practice Sales Training Improves Your Conversion Rates and Builds Occupancy

Is your sales team consistently achieving their goals? If not, do you understand why? Do you know how to turn your community’s sales shortcomings into sales success and sustained growth?

“The CARE Sales Training I conduct has provided successful solutions for many senior living communities around the country,” Karen continues. “It fully equips your sales team with the latest tools, training and knowledge required to most effectively convert leads into prospects and prospects into sales in today’s competitive senior living environment.”

The program is based on the latest best practices in:

  • Prospect Cultivation
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Empathy and Engagement
  • Customer-Centered Problem Solving
  • Handling Questions, Concerns and Objections Effectively
  • Results-Based Selling Techniques
  • Effective Use of Materials
  • Closing the Sale

Specifically, CARE Sales Training enables each member of your sales team to successfully:

  • Connect with internal and external customers as a trusted resource and problem solver.
  • Assess your prospects’ situations and position your services to meet their unique needs and concerns.
  • Resolve their problems by developing responsive, customized action plans that address their specific situations.
  • Execute programs and services that provide your prospects with real value by solving their problems and enriching their lives.

“We also work with you to identify any informational and operational challenges that might be barriers to your sales success,” says Karen.

We Would Love to Hear from You!

If you have comments or questions on the value of trait-based recruiting practices and best-practice sales training, we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any experiences you’ve had in these areas, whether they have been successful or not. Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Expert Sales Training Assistance Is Available Today

SageAge Strategies is the ideal partner for strategically growing your sales and building your census. If you are a senior living provider considering the need for assistance in increasing sales through best-practice sales training and growth strategies, we encourage you to contact us for more information.

SageAge Strategies is a multiple award-winning, strategic growth and marketing organization that operates exclusively in the senior living industry and was recently named one of Inc. Magazine’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America. For more information, please call or e-mail Adrienne Mansfield Straub at 570-601-1720 ext. 202 /

Contact us today!

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