Life in the Sales Office (as told by Real People Having Real Conversations with Real Prospects)

How do we get them to call us back?

By Morgan Lamphere

Our sales team in Greenville was lamenting that nobody was picking up their phones. “It’s the holidays,” said Seth. (It was December 5.) “Everybody’s just too busy with shopping,” said Leslie. “Really?” I asked. “What kinds of gifts are they buying their kids and grandkids this year?” “Well, they aren’t buying gifts,” responded Grayson. “Most of the people I talk to are just writing a check and being done with it.”

We were hearing a lot of excuses that people don’t want to talk about moving to a retirement community around the holidays. What would they want to talk about?

What are the most memorable conversations that you have had with a loved one around the holidays?

This Thanksgiving, my husband helped his mother move into an Assisted Living community. He and his brother traveled to New York to downsize her apartment. In the midst of an 18-inch snow storm the movers came to pick up furniture, and Mark and Todd picked out a few family items to come back to our respective homes in North Carolina.

One item that came back with Mark was a church cookbook from the Ukrainian church down the street from his childhood home. We enjoyed reading through the traditional Christmas Eve menu which included a jelly-stuffed pike and “kutya,” which is essentially cooked wheat. When my father, who is Ukrainian, came for Christmas, I showed him the book, and he got tears in his eyes. He recounted when he was a boy his own grandmother had made a similar menu and had even laid hay underneath the tablecloth to symbolize the manger. He didn’t necessarily remember the menu items, but he did remember the fun the family had when he brought his girlfriend (now his wife of 45+ years) to the celebration one year. Ukrainian tradition says the youngest unmarried woman at the table has to eat the butt of the bread – slathered with garlic.

What do you bet that every one of our prospects that we work with has a special childhood memory from the holidays? What does that memory tell us about the history of this person? After listening to my father tell that story, I took some time to help him scan the pages of the book to send to his sister so they could share that memory together.

Why not call a prospect today and elicit one of those memories? Consider what you could do as a supportive guide to show that person that you have heard them and provide some creative follow up as a next step. Perhaps it is finding a recipe online that ties in with their family heritage. Perhaps it is finding a vintage photo of the city where the person grew up. These personal follow-up techniques are sure to get you a phone call back. During the holidays, it can be a challenging endeavor.

About our guest blogger:

Morgan Lamphere is Vice President of Marketing at Retirement Living Associates. She provides support to a variety of senior living communities in the RLA, Inc portfolio.

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