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Ask Alex: What Do I Do When a Prospect Isn’t Ready Yet?

October 10, 2017 by Sherpa

Every month, Sherpa Co-founder Alex Fisher answers your questions about senior living 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.

Dear Ask Alex, 

Can you give me a few ideas as to how to keep myself and team members “in-check” as we work toward small advances in partnership with our clients versus trying to assert solutions and an Action Plan that the client is likely not quite emotionally ready for today? 

Warm regards, 

Brandi at Balfour 

Very insightful question, Brandi!  I think the mantra for this is, “Slow down so you can speed up!”  

There are three steps to the final “close:”  

  1. Connect, build trust and discover.  
  2. Untangle emotions.   
  3. Offer solutions; or “sell.” 

The most challenging step is the “untangling.” If you have done a good job with step No. 1, you are likely to understand the prospect’s stage of readiness, and this will give you a “check” for what commitment or advance you should go for. Crafting your Action Plan and planning conversations based on the prospect’s stage of change is the best way to avoid offering solutions too soon. For example, if your prospect is in the Thinking Stage, trying for the tour or the event may be counterproductive and shut them down. Someone in the Planning Stage may not be ready to hire a moving company but may be more willing join activities at your community.  

You can test these when you interact with the prospect and simply ask: “Mrs. Jones, I wonder if you might be ready to come and take a look at the community next week, or perhaps you would prefer a conversation at home?”  or, “Thank you for allowing me to send you some information on realtors in the area. I wonder if you would also see a benefit in us creating a moving plan together?” 

It is only natural that our inclination is to jump to the solution. Conversely, it is natural for the prospect to be resistant to such a huge change. We need to become self-aware first of our inclinations and then adjust to what we have learned about the prospect’s readiness. Our job is to gauge their emotional state and gently guide the person towards action. A prospect needs control in a world where all control is disappearing. Slowing down a bit at the beginning of the process will give them that control over what happens next. Once the prospect feels a sense of trust and control, they will be open to your solutions and everything will seem to speed up! 

Stay heroic, 


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