A very important example of why you should never give up.
In senior living sales and marketing it’s easy to get beat down with no’s, maybes, I’m just not ready, or I found another community.
The reasons seem endless and can be very discouraging. But what makes the difference between a mediocre and an outstanding sales professional, assuming both have the basics like a friendly, outgoing personality, knowledge of the industry, and communication skills, is persistence. For senior housing professionals; never give up on receptive prospects until they are comfortably settled into another community and even beyond. And please note, I am talking about professional follow up, not being a nuisance.
Personal experience of this philosophy in action, while in another industry, translates well to sales and marketing teams in senior living. In November 2013 I decided to put my home on the market. I interviewed several residential real estate agents to sell my house. It came down to two agents that I felt could do a good job. Agent 1 and Agent 2. I made the decision to go with Agent
1. Things started out very well, the house was showing great and eventually, after a month, even with bad weather and the holidays, I got a reasonable offer. So we began the process on the road to closing. During this time Agent 2 was consistently sending me a combination of both real estate and personal information. She would send me market reports of my neighborhood and my city but she would also mix in holiday recipes and other such items. Agent 2 kept up this flow of information for well over three months. While I never used any of the information she sent, she accomplished her goal of staying fresh in my mind. Unfortunately the original deal fell through. I didn’t feel like I got the support I needed from Agent 1 so we decided to part ways and I began my search for another agent. The day that my house was delisted on the multiple listing service, Agent 2 sent me a postcard and then later followed up with a phone call asking about relisting the house with her. After I talked to four or five more agents, it finally dawned on me that Agent 2 had provided me with solid examples of her great marketing skills. Even though it initially looked like she had lost a client, she never gave up and continued to build a relationship with me. Because of this I decided to put her marketing prowess, her communication skills and her tenacity to work for me. The good news is that, after only two weeks with her, we already have a sales contract and things are proceeding very smoothly. While it sounds like such a cliché, I think the take away from this is that persistence pays. Agent 2 knew her industry enough to know that things sometimes fall apart and she wanted to be there when they did.
Keep Doing the Things That Count
The same things can happen in senior living. Seniors typically want to stay in their own home but sometimes that doesn’t work out. Sadly there are unexpected, life-changing events, and those who thought they were not ready change their minds and become ready. Also, residents can move into another community and, after living there for a few months, decide that it is not the place for them. If you have been able to maintain some contact with them over this time you may find yourself the one they call when they are looking to make a change. So make a point in 2014 to stay on top of your follow-up, even if you think it’s fruitless. The relationship you build could be your next sale and, who knows, you might just make a friend. Roy Barker Director – Special Projects Moore Diversified Services If you like this article (or even if you don’t) it would be a great honor to have you subscribe to our mailing list HERE.
We agree, persistence and continued follow up are critical in senior housing sales. The decision of whether to move to a senior community is highly emotional due to a fear of change plus negative associations about “those places”. Prospect-Centered Selling (SM), developed by One On One, empowers Sales Counselors to pro-actively encourage self-awareness and a readiness for change. Ongoing, personalized and creative follow up is essential helps. Our Visit to Close ratios in independent living are 50% with 1/3 from Prospects who took over one year to decide and another 1/3 that took more than 90 days. So like Roy says, be persistent. It is good for you and even better for the Prospects!
Thanks for the great comment David and for the reinforcing data on just how long the sales cycle can be.
Great post and a great story about persistence. Another suggestion is that even once you have a deposit, or better yet rent in hand – continue to remain in front of your customer so they don’t feel forgotten.
I just (literally this week) moved and signed up for Direct TV in my new house. They sent me an email almost every day with “Your Installation Date is Almost Here” or “Make Sure You’re Ready for Your Upcoming Installation.” While I found it amusing and maybe a little annoying (I mean really, how difficult is it to be ready to get satellite installed?) they definitely kept in my face and made me feel like they were excited to have me as a customer.
I always try to keep in contact but after this I decided that I would do something similar (though maybe not quite as frequently) with all new residents.
You make a great point Sonia. We should not just drop our new resident but should continue some level of communication with them so we can show our genuineness in this huge decision they have just made. Thanks so much for the comment.