Measuring and monitoring time in the Selling zone, especially planning and creative follow up t have led to spectacular results and they result in higher-functioning residents and happier more successful, less stressed out sales people who want to stay.

By Steve Moran

Two days ago I published an article titled Are Your Sales People Doing Things That Produce Results? That was based on conversations with David Smith, one of the founders of Sherpa CRM. He feels strongly that the performance indicators traditional sales managers (and others) use to monitor the day to day and week to week performance of sales teams are ineffective and even worse, may produce counterproductive results.

A Better Way

David’s “Prospect-Centered Sellingsm” approach measures success very differently. Fundamental to his approach is that the single best measure of how to measure how well individual sales people and sales teams are doing is to look at how much time they are spending in the “Selling Zone”. He uses this approach at his own 4 communities and has coached and trained hundreds of others across the US and Canada. Communities that range from middle market to very high end and from independent living to skilled nursing. When used consistently David is seeing Tour to Move-In ratios that approach 50%.

Measuring the Right Things

David and his sales teams have discovered there is a direct correlation between time spent in the Selling Zone and move-ins. Meaning that, in general, the more time spent in the Selling Zone with a specific prospect, the more likely they are to move into your senior community. David defines the Selling Zone as:

  1. Time With The Prospect – This is any time a salesperson spends face-to-face or voice-to-voice with individual prospects. It could be by phone, in the community or in the prospect’s home, with time in the prospects home having the highest value because it promotes a growing trust relationship. 
  2. Strategic Planning – With Prospect-Centered Sellingsm Typical senior living providers do not consider planning for meaningful next steps as “selling”. It is unusual to see senior living community sales offices with processes that encourage and support pro-active planning. On the other hand, those that use Prospect-Centered Sellingsm will often  spend several hours in a sales team meeting focused on planning strategies to help a single prospect get closer to “ready”. Looking at sales journal notes, figuring out who the prospect is and what their emotional as well as physical needs are, and thinking about how to best address those needs . . . even if it does not mean moving into your senior living community now or ever.
  3. Meaningful Advances – For each prospect moving to a senior living community is a journey and like most journeys the path meanders, and the pace varies, but what the team is looking to accomplish is creating opportunities for meaningful advances that motivate and inspire the prospect to “get ready.”

    A call that goes like this: 

    Hi Mrs. Jones, do you want to come in for a tour?”

    “No, not this time”

    “Ok, I will call you back a couple of months”

    . . . is counted as a completed call, however, it is not a meaningful advance call but rather it is a waste of time. It counts for nothing in terms of readiness for change.           

    A call that goes like this:

    “Hi Mrs. Jones, I sure enjoyed coming to visit you last week, how was your weekend?”

    “How are you doing today?”

    “It was a great day, my neighbor . . . . .“

    “That sounds exciting. I wonder why you are even considering a move . . . .”

    . . . is a meaningful opening because it provides you with an opportunity to explore the prospect’s feelings and it helps the prospect hear themselves describe and become more aware of what their current situation really is.

  4. Personalized Creative Follow-up – This is doing a follow-up for specific prospects: follow up that is unexpected, that is a pleasant surprise, something that is memorable. Personalized follow up reflects that you listened and cared about them as people rather than simply as targets for more tours. When used consistently, personalized creative follow up inevitably helps the prospect get ready.

What Doesn’t Count as “Selling”

When assessing sales effectiveness, lead generation or marketing, activities don’t count. Helping with activities or big events don’t count. Filing doesn’t count. Just making phone calls don’t count. Just sending email doesn’t count. Sending brochures or other traditional one-size-fits-all marketing materials doesn’t count. None of these activities really do much, if anything, to advance a sale.

Measuring and monitoring time in the Selling Zone, especially planning and creative follow up, have led to spectacular results, including higher-functioning residents and happier more successful, less stressed out salespeople who want to stay.