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,
Recently, you addressed the question of “how to ask for a home visit” and provided some practical examples. Our question is, “how do you know when to ask for a home visit”; is there a right time?
Sterling Estates Team
Thank you, Sterling Estates Team, for this wonderful question! Home visits are critical to boosting sales results. Delving deeper into the subject is well worth it.
First, let me re-address the “why” of the home visit. What’s in it for us as the sales counselor?
For one, it differentiates us from the “pack.” If you take time out of your day to visit the prospect right where they are, it leaves an impact that will influence their decision when they contemplate where to move.
Second, it helps us build trust and connection. We all feel comfortable and emotionally safe at home. Prospects will be happy to share more about their stories in their own environment. Also, being in their home gives you the opportunity to ask about what you see, such as their photos and memorabilia.
Additionally, it helps us understand the “competition.” For nearly all of our prospects, the “competition” is where they live now.
Think of the home visit as an individual, competitive study. By visiting your prospect’s home, you can better understand their ambivalence about moving and help them navigate those feelings down the road.
So, what’s in it for the prospect?
Bottom line: they’ll feel important, valued and genuinely seen. They’ll develop a deeper connection and trust with the person who took the time to explore their life further. Prospects are often looking for someone to confide in and to help them navigate this significant change. Home visits offer an excellent opportunity to solidify yourself as that trustworthy listener.
Now, back to your question. When is the right time to ask for a home visit?
The answer is, anytime! Let’s explore some common scenarios so I can explain further:
During the Initial Call
Imagine being able to double your chances of a face-to-face interaction by offering the option of either a tour or a home visit! You can do it in the context of stating your intentions or just as an advance.
Before or After a Tour
- Prior to the tour, consider sending a personal note. Something like this:
“Mrs. Jones, I know you are coming in to visit us next week, I was wondering if your mom would like for us to meet at her home first? We find that she may feel more comfortable before the tour if she were to have the chance to meet me first.”
- Following a tour, you could send something similar. For example:
“Mrs. Smith, now that you know a lot about our place, I’d like to return the favor and get to know more about yours! Your home sounds lovely, and it would be my honor to visit you.”
When you just need to get out of the office! I am only half kidding. You know those quiet days with no tours? Make a call and grab your keys.
When you feel “stuck”: You may feel that way because you are in the dark about your prospect’s real situation. Or, you may have made some assumptions (don’t worry, it happens to the best of us) and the prospect has “gone dark.” When that happens, hold fast to your empathy and reach out appropriately. For example:
Mrs. White, I know you are not ready to make a decision just yet, and that’s okay! I was thinking about you today and wanted to bring you a dish from our chef that I think you’ll like. I’d love to stop by for a cup of coffee and visit with you.
In every scenario, be confident, state your intentions clearly, and you’ll feel ready at any point to request a visit.
Since this subject is so near and dear to me, and to many readers, I’d like to extend an invitation for those interested to send me their thoughts and stories regarding home visits. I know I would love to read them, and perhaps featuring them can help to inspire others! By the way, you can visit our home office at Sherpa anytime.