By Susan Saldibar

Last year’s switch from in-person sales to virtual meetings and tours threw a monkey wrench into many sales programs, especially those centered around traditional relationship-building.

And, yet, some programs, like GROW, have continued to thrive, regardless of what life throws at them. I caught up recently with Deborah Potter, vice president of consulting for SageAge (a Foresight partner). You might remember Deborah’s kick-ass article about GROW, “Your Closet Isn’t Big Enough to Hold My Pain” last year (here’s the link, it’s worth a read).

Embolden and Empower Your Sales Team

Part of GROW’s resiliency is that it goes beyond the discovery of facts and situations that we have traditionally taught as discovery. Knowing facts about someone’s life might work to sell real estate, but it doesn’t motivate a family to face the hurdles and truths involved in this kind of transition.

“GROW emboldens and empowers sales counselors to learn about feelings and fears, on purpose, to build their empathic understanding about families’ current situations so we truly understand what they would lose and gain if they make a move,” Deborah says. Here is how she describes the GROW program:

  1. It is real world, not a set of textbook concepts to overlay senior living sales.
  2. It was developed through actual experience motivating prospects who are seriously wrestling with the decision, not those who were coming anyway.
  3. It is a living, breathing laboratory to work out the hard conversations.
  4. It puts meat on the bones of relationship building, a term overly vague and almost impossible to operationalize, providing a how-to roadmap.
  5. The GROW methodology transcends logistical barriers; whether it’s a Zoom session or personal tour.

Actually, according to Deborah, GROW has proven to work especially well within the online format. That’s because every GROW session is built around the sales barriers attendees currently face in their sales environment. GROW concepts don’t need to be adjusted to fit new challenges.

“When people ask me, ‘how should we sell during COVID?’ I tell them that GROW naturally fits any situation,” Deborah explains. “You don’t need to alter what you’ve learned or change your technique, because whatever you’re challenged with right now, that’s what we’ll be applying GROW strategies to in every session.”

The GROW program provides real-time training (either in-person or virtual). The entire GROW training process is also available through a self-paced portal, so if a new rep comes onboard after a training session, they have the opportunity to catch up with their peers.

Not a One-and-Done Solution

Deborah stresses that GROW is not a one-and-done, 2-week session that leaves it up to the sales counselors to keep the energy going all by themselves. “You can’t learn a language in two days. That’s why we need to establish habit formation, which so many sales training programs leave on the table,” Deborah says.

“Initial training gets us part of the way so that we’re inspired and revved up to start. Then reality sets in when you get into a hectic and busy environment and changing feels awkward. It’s easier to revert back to old ways.”

That’s where GROW Daily comes in. GROW Daily is designed to follow the virtual or in-person facilitated experience with daily learning and development that reinforces real-time learning. Engaging for 5-7 minutes every day with lessons, quizzes, logging activity, reflections, and so on, helps sales teams change habits in ways that stick.

That is what Deborah says makes the real difference long-term. “Habit formation is what it’s about,” she says. “Give people the psychology behind habit formation, then they understand how to do it.”

GROW is a Verb

Since the program was launched in 2019, it has changed and evolved, just as it was designed to do. “GROW is a verb,” Deborah says. “It was never meant it to be stale and standing still. It is a senior living sales laboratory designed to meet every challenge we’re given — even pandemics.”

At the heart of GROW is the goal of developing, within each sales counselor, something deeper so that the relationship flows out of them more organically, rather than being forced. I would think that, given the changes (and monkey wrenches) senior living sales has dealt with over the last year, GROW was made for times like these.

“I hate to sound boring, but what’s always worked, no matter what, is human connection,” Deborah says. “No shortcuts. I believe that now more than ever. The real-world laboratory GROW provides doesn’t just say ‘relationships are important’. It says, ‘these are the kinds of relationships, these are the issues, this is how you get to that point in the relationship, and this is what you do with it.’”

You can get more details about how GROW can help your community here.