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.
Dear Ask Alex,
I’m having trouble getting my prospects to call me back. I don’t want to annoy them, but I also don’t want to lose a sale if I can help it. What should my next step be–do you have any advice?
Tele-frustrated in Sales
Thank you so much for this question, I can feel your frustration, and I empathize. I’ve been there, and so have many of those reading this!
I am sure you are familiar with the dreaded call-out quotas, ‘howdy-doody’ calls, and the obvious routine of fishing the lead base with a wide net to try and catch the one prospect that is now ‘ready’. We leave incessant messages along the lines of ‘just checking in to see if you had any questions’ in the hopes that a prospect will respond. It doesn’t work.
If you’ve left a professional, brief, and friendly voicemail based on the context of their inquiry, and followed up early and often to let them know you’re available for guidance, then stop calling. (Read my Ask Alex piece about leaving effective voicemails here). If you continue to call, you will seem tone deaf at best, and dismissive of their situation at worst. Either way, you will certainly push them further away.
The best thing to do is to stop and reassess. Reassess your intention, reassess the prospect’s current situation and finally, reassess your approach moving forward. Let’s delve into this further.
When you reassess your intention, you give yourself a much-needed breather. While it’s wonderful to focus on others, be sure to check in with yourself as well. The stresses of hitting quotas can really impact our thought processes. Maybe you’re in a sales slump and you’re worried about how you’re going to hit your month-end goals. Take a deep breath. Stop thinking about how to convince your prospect; instead, think about how to connect and build trust with them.
Next, reassess the prospect’s current situation. This is common sense when you think about it. For a prospect who has shown interest in senior living, a lot can change in two weeks (or however long it’s been since your message). The person you are trying to reach is likely overwhelmed, nervous, frustrated and confused. You can likely relate to them, can’t you? After all, trying to “sell” someone can also be overwhelming, frustrating, confusing and difficult. Don’t worry, you’re not alone in this journey and thanks to your approach, neither is your prospect.
Now, you’re ready to reassess your approach. This requires action and, in my experience, usually means it’s time for personalized creative follow-up.
There are as many great examples of personalized creative follow-up as there are prospects to send them to. Use your skills and talents to think of something special. It may be that they expressed concern about the food at “those places” so you might send or bring over a meal, with a note from the chef. Or, you know that the daughter is very stressed. Send a little care package, asking nothing from her. Your favorite bath salts, something that means something to you and connects you to her. Perhaps you may find a poem, a quote from scriptures if that resonates, or something that you made that shows you took the time…(remember those cards that someone hand-made for us?) Remember, the more you know about them, the more ideas you will have.
Now, imagine that you have built this trusting, professional and empathic connection with your prospect. They’ll feel more comfortable reaching out to you for help in making their decision and navigating uncertainty. Or perhaps they’ll call to thank you for being thoughtful, thorough and authentic!