We’re still focused on the 5% “need driven” prospects, but the real question is how do we sell to the remaining 95%?

By Susan Saldibar

I don’t operate a senior living community, but the fourth video session between Steve Moran and Alexandra Fisher — co-founder of Sherpa, a Senior Housing Forum partner — got me thinking:

What if I had a community and could remove all the pressure of move-ins? Absolutely zero pressure to sell. How would I approach someone who I knew could benefit from living in it? What would that conversation look like?

My sense is that it would be pretty much centered around the prospect’s concerns; not mine. Simple. But wait. In the real world, I need move-ins. So it just got hard.

Alex Fisher knows how hard it is. One of the biggest obstacles is what she calls this “inherited practice” of selling care. But what we really need to be doing is learning how to motivate “change” in people who don’t “have to” change.

Problem: We’re still focused on the 5% “need driven” prospects.

As Alex tells Steve, “Only about 5% who inquire are in a crisis. Since they have an urgent need for your product, it makes sense to focus on demonstrating how your product and services can benefit them. That’s great. But, this approach will be ineffective, actually counter-productive, with the 95% of your lead base that is “not ready yet.”

Challenge: How do we sell to the remaining 95%?

So it’s with the other 95% that Prospect-Centered SellingSM really gets put to the test. No more talk about how our community is better. The prospect takes center stage. Now we’re focused on conversations like:

  • Why might a change benefit the prospect?

  • What does the prospect value and how can it be achieve?

  • How might the family dynamics be improved?

  • What needs to be considered to get to a decision?

And it requires a keen awareness of the stage of readiness the person is in. Because most prospects are thinking more along the lines of “Why would I do this?” rather than “I have to do this.”

So what do you think?

I think there is one thing that we can all agree on. If we really want full buildings, we’re going to have to learn how to sell change.