In traditional selling, the goal is to convince customers that they need your product and that it would be good for them to have the product. But when it comes to senior living sales, the goal is not to sell a product your prospects need. The goal is to provide them with support just like a coach or guide and help advise them on the best options for them.
This kind of selling requires listening to prospective residents, their families or friends. It is called “legacy learning.” You try to understand your customer by asking the right questions about his life, family, work, goals and fears. As soon as they open up and share their thoughts and feelings, that's when the magic happens. As the conversation goes deeper, eventually it will lead to a meaningful offering of your community, which rightfully supports his needs and goals.
How do you drive the conversation towards that end? First, you need to understand your prospect.
Reality of Change
Change is inevitable and that includes retirement and aging. What is the prospect’s view about these changes? Does he enjoy the independence or fear the loss of control? Many link senior living community to the loss of control over personal health, professional status, finances, appearance, family and friends. How does he feel about it?
Purpose for Senior Living
While amenities like the Olympic-size pool and superb dining are sought after features, they’re not the stars in senior living. Having a sense of purpose and belonging is the top priority of a prospective resident. Even at this age, seniors still want to be productive and they want to leave behind a heritage for their children and grandchildren. A senior living community should be able to support these purposes.
Aside from understanding first our prospective senior living residents, what else can the sales team do to succeed in "Legacy Learning"? Here are 5 tips that will help improve a senior living sales experience.
Ask legacy-building questions
To encourage your prospect to tell their story, begin by asking questions such as:
- What is important in your life?
- What did you do for a living?
- What is your greatest achievement?
- What makes you happy?
It’s been mentioned above “selling requires listening.” So listen and connect the dots to know what are your prospect’s goals and wants. In addition to simply listening it's important to make notes and record important information. A senior living CRM is a great place to record this data as it can be easily shared and reviewed online later in the sales process. Making notes on prospects will also give your staff more personalized information should the prospect end up becoming a resident.
Connect Through "Active Listening"
Show your prospect that you’re truly listening. Be sensitive to his or her feelings. Share in their joys and sorrows, their successes and failures. If you have follow-up questions, ask nicely. "Active listening" is an important skill that any sales professional should work to develop - especially those handling sensitive life decisions like moving into a senior living community.
Ask the hard questions when the prospect is ready
After some time of building rapport with your prospect, you could begin asking the hard questions. Ask about his health? What fears and regrets does he have? This conversation can help you understand more about his needs in relation to senior living community. If you haven't qualified this prospect yet now could be the time to start talking about financial information and what they can afford. You never want to lead with asking financial questions as this comes of as insensitive and disrespectful to the prospect.
Use creative ways of following up
After this initial call or meeting you should have a great deal of personal information about the prospect. Hopefully you've built some rapport and have a fairly good idea if they might be a good fit for one of your communities. Since the average senior living prospect visits about 3-5 different communities before making a decision NOW is a great time to stand out from the competition. You can do this in the way you follow up after the meeting.
Let the prospect know that you were paying attention by relaying back a lot of the notes you took during the meeting. Confirm their different interests and goals and maybe send them some follow up info on something they asked about specifically. Most sales people don't follow up after a prospect meeting - even if that prospect is a perfect fit! This is a great opportunity to set yourself apart and make an impression on the prospect.
Legacy Learning may not be the easy way around selling senior living options. But it is the key to understanding and building a relationship with your senior prospects, earning their trust and achieving an impactful sale experience. Checkout our other senior living sales blog content to get more tips. If you're interested in learning about senior living sales CRM's click the button below to download our free e-book on some of the different options in the industry. Although we don't provide a CRM ourselves we'd be happy to talk and guide you through the process of choosing one.