Selling senior housing is unlike selling in most other fields. On top of an already difficult decision, our prospects must also deal with major emotional factors that arise with aging and change. People encounter more loss as they get older, whether it be diminishing health, limited social engagement, or in other aspects of their lives.
Even though targeted to business-to-business sales, some good points and general techniques can be found in a recent article on Entrepreneur’s website, “The Only 9 Things You Need to Know About Selling.” The title sounds a bit reductive, but it has some good tips that salespeople in our field will want to keep in mind, namely the first point the author makes: “Selling is a marathon, not a sprint.”
In senior sales, the marathon of selling may take a few weeks, months, and sometimes years! With Prospect-Centered Selling®, however, we have criteria to assess when we are nearing the finish line. Are they ready for a change? What do I ask or say so they will trust me? What small step, what commitment can I ask for that will advance them through the readiness stages?
Until we know the prospect is ready, we must acknowledge and accept their ambivalence, fears and other potential barriers to change. We must meet them emotionally (and literally for home visits!) where they are. We must establish a safe, “non-salesy” zone to allow for emotional breakthroughs so that they can move themselves out of uncertainty and into action. Just like running a marathon, sales require time, planning and training. For senior sales in particular, a well-developed helping instinct will motivate you throughout the process.