Every month, Sherpa Co-founder Alex Fisher answers your questions about senior housing sales based on her experiences as a successful leasing counselor, sales director, and community owner. Read more about Ask Alex in Alex’s Open Letter To Senior Housing Professionals. 

To submit a question, email AskAlex@sherpacrm.com. 

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Dear Ask Alex,

I am often faced with a lot of distractions on any given day at the office. Any advice for how to best structure my day?
– Interrupted in Oregon

Hello Oregon Dweller,

Great question. I have touched upon this a few times, tangentially, but your question calls for a deeper dive into the Ideal Daily Agenda for Results Enhancement, aka IDARE (I totally made that up).

By now you know that your most precious resource is your time. Prioritizing your day is tricky, with the many interruptions and distractions that go on in our communities.

Before I share what we have found to be the ideal daily agenda, let’s look at the genius of Steven Covey’s Time Management Matrix. The grid is not meant to determine what is important to do in general, rather, what is important to your ability to be successful in your role. So, let’s start with the question: What are important activities for me to do in order to achieve my sales goals?  This is what our grid looks like:

 

 

Let’s examine each quadrant. Note that the Selling Zone spans across both Important quadrants.

The “Have-tos” (Urgent and Important): this is a no-brainer. The urgency is coming from others, and we need to respond and make time for it. We are reacting to things in this quadrant, and we know we have to do them.

The “Squirrels” (Urgent and Not Important): This is the trickiest of them all. According to Covey, most organizations spend 80% of their time here! Note that I have Ops and Marketing activities that dovetail into Sales but are NOT sales. I am not implying that these are things that shouldn’t be done, I am saying that they could be delegated  to others. Ideally, there are others in the community that can provide support, so that these tasks are taken care of while you are focused in sales. The addition of a move-in coordinator, and a sales support position can do wonders to boost sales.

“Laser Focus” (Not Urgent and Important): Here is where the most successful companies spend the majority of their time, or the 80% that the mediocre ones spend with “squirrels.” We developed a daily agenda in sales with this quadrant in mind. Our entire methodology is wrapped around our own ability to focus and to be proactive. This is the zone where Planning and Creative Follow Up take place. As a rule, it is any activity that we initiate without an external trigger.
Did you ever have a prospect call you demanding that you plan for their next step, or complaining that you did not creatively followed up with them, or wondering why you have not asked to come over to visit them at their home? Nope, it doesn’t happen.

 “Escapes” (Not Urgent and Not Important): Another no brainer, we don’t want to spend much time here. However, sometimes we need a break. May I suggest some constructive break ideas that do not involve our cell phone’s social media feed or getting tangled with a resident that wants something from you? Take a walk, with headphones and to your favorite song. Find a place to lie down and meditate or breathe deeply for 5-10 minutes. Stretch. Heroes need breaks.

 

So lets look at your ideal day, or how to be the most focused and effective with your time:

Every day starts with a Sales Meeting. I hope that your Executive Director is able to attend, because his/her presence is important to planning, delegating, and executing on individual prospect’s strategies. Otherwise, perhaps you have another team member that can join you, or your Regional. It is harder to do this by yourself, since a small group can help us get out of our own head, and the assumptions we make when our thoughts go unchallenged. Regardless, start with this:

Who is coming in today? Go to their profile and do a Planning session.  Be curious, inquisitive and prepared for when this person comes in. Ask yourselves: Do we know who they are, what is their story? Do we understand their current environment? Do we understand why they would move at all (Motivators), when they should move (Objections), and should they move here (Preferences)? What Stage or Readiness are they in? What Advance are we prepared to ask for based on this?

Then,  look for creative follow up opportunities. Examine what happened with prospects yesterday, and determine at least a couple of creative, and personalized ways to reach back out to them. You will probably be able to do a couple, maybe 3.

Once you are done with CFU’s,  review your Top Ten and update their action plans. If you don’t have a good plan, do a Case Study to figure out the next best step to advance.

Then, and only then, look at your pending activities list and start to to execute them, in the most thoughtful, strategic way possible, given your limited time. By now, it is probably 10:30 am, and you have a solid foundation to get started.  You will know the kind of conversations you will have during the tour or home visit, you will know what you specifically intend for every one of your calls scheduled for today. You have taken a little time before you make  calls or send emails to tailor your conversation based on with their own unique set of circumstances, fears, motivators, and aspirations. Throughout the day, count and celebrate advances. This will generate in you a bunch of confident and positive energy in the midst of a sea of rejection.

 

To recap, this is your Ideal Daily Agenda:

Start your Sales Meeting. During the Sales Meeting:

  1. Plans for today’s Appointments: Review who will you be Face to Face with today and Plan together (questions, advances we may try to get, quick Case Study on them)
  2. Creative Follow up from yesterday: What Follow up should we do that is personalized and creative? Review Yesterday’s Selling Zone
  3. Review “Top Ten”, do we have a current action plan for all, do we need a PCS to come up with something more creative?

After the Sales Meeting:

4. Focus on executing scheduled activities with the lead base.

Disclaimer: In sales, no two days are alike, and this is just a framework to get you on track. Some days you get as far as number 1, and then all hell breaks loose. That’s okay. What  matters is that you do the Important but Not Urgent stuff first. By the way, “slow” days with no tours are ideal for Planning and Creative Follow up.

 

Have a nice, productive and focused day!

…and of course, stay heroic.

Alex

 

 

 

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