By Elizabeth George
Remember the book, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus?
When I think of the approach that salespeople in senior housing often take to selling their communities, this is what I’m reminded of.
The premise behind this best-selling book is that men and women misunderstand each other because they speak different languages. Men want to pull away from difficult conversations, for example, while women want to talk about what’s bothering them. Men are motivated when they feel needed and women are motivated when they feel cherished.
You Say To-May-To, I Say To-Mah-To
That’s a bit like the different wavelength our industry is often on when we’re communicating with prospective residents and families. And it could be one reason why people are deciding to remain in their homes instead of coming to live in our communities.
Russell Rush, Managing Partner of R3R1 Consulting Group and a Senior Living Foresight partner, explains it a little differently than me (of course.)
“As senior living salespeople, we are always fishing for new residents to replace those who are leaving. The problem is that most senior living salespeople have the wrong bait. Many believe that residents want to live with them because they want the services of their community. However, they do not address the deep-seated reasons why the seniors will not move and leave their beloved homes.”
Not speaking to our prospect’s core motivations can cause a disconnect. We’re marketing our beautiful facilities and comprehensive amenities to people who need to hear something entirely different from us.
Russell offers his thought on what’s happening. “I think a large part of our industry’s sales challenges are because salespeople are not being taught to understand and address the core reasons why most seniors decide not to buy senior living solutions,” he says. “Therefore, they must work a lot harder at their jobs and, in many cases, do not get the results they are trying to achieve.”
Helping senior living salespeople reach a higher level of success is what motivated him to create his sales training program, “The Science of Selling Academy”, which is being offered virtually in July (click here to learn more).
In his program, Russell teaches others how to address the behavioral motivations of prospects and their influencers. This includes how to communicate with them and resolve their unspoken objections, which then motivates them to move. The method he’s refined has resulted in him persuading 8 of 10 prospective residents and their influencers to make a commitment during the initial meeting with him. He has been successfully using this process for years, proving over and over its effectiveness.
Share the Love
Russell is still active as a successful salesperson in the industry. I asked him about his own motivations for sharing his process and secrets with the industry. In an era of intense competition, why not just keep the knowledge to himself?
“I’m motivated by the opportunity to help more seniors experience a great last chapter of their lives in a senior living community,” he says. “I know how many seniors I’ve helped who might have otherwise stayed home if they weren’t shown the benefits of leaving their homes and finding purpose and connection with others in a community. I want to share my years of learning and success with others so fewer salespeople will have to struggle and more of them will succeed in helping residents and communities to thrive.”
Get a professional sales certification through the self-paced Science of Selling Academy. Learn more HERE.
No one reads replies way down here, so I don’t think repeating myself will receive much criticism from those who subscribe to this blog.
I am a leading-edge Babyboomer, having moved into my first CCRC at age 65 (Now in my 2nd CCRC.) This Babyboomer generation is the coming silver tsunami that the industry is trying to figure out. There were a few Babyboomers in my first community, and there are some here on my current campus. Fourteen years ago, when first starting my search for a CCRC, I was in an appointment with a Marketing Rep. I referred to the city’s other CCRC as “your competitor across town.” This rep quickly corrected me by saying the competition was NOT the other (or any other CCRC), it was the person’s own home.
Back to my becoming a CCRC resident in two different places, two different states. In neither place was I asked my motive for choosing the CCRC life. Never asked what the determining factors were for the choices (two) we made. Never asked what my family, friends, and neighbors thought about our move. Never asked what kind of reactions we get when we describe our lifestyle to outsiders. Never asked what market niches we might identify as worthy of pursuit. Never asked how we initially learned of the place we selected. Never asked about other places we visited and what we liked/didn’t like. Never asked if we still get contacted from “those other places” because we’re still on their mailing lists — and, rather than pitching the snail mail or trashing the emails, “How ’bout forwarding them to us (Marketing)? We’d love to see them.” Never asked about what we were told about life here that turned out to really not be the case.
I’d love to know Russell Rush’s reaction to what I just wrote, since it evidently did come out in the interview behind this article.