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Managing Sales During Covid-19

June 30, 2020 by Sherpa UK
Ask Alex: Managing Sales During Covid-19

Hello Sales Heroes!

In the past we’ve talked about ways that sales counselors can cultivate relationships with prospects. This week we look at senior living sales from another perspective – leading sales teams and sustaining a person-based sales culture across your organization.

I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to speak with Dalton DeLima, Regional Manager for Leisure Care. We discussed his role in managing sales teams across multiple communities using Prospect-Centered Selling®. I wanted to know about his approach to being successful and person-centered, especially during Covid-19.

Our conversation sparked some great discussion focused on ways to make connections not only between sales counselors (“advisors”) and prospects, but also between sales teams and the organization as a whole. I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did. And I hope to hear from some of you on how you’ve found sales success in these challenging times.

Stay heroic!

Alex: What is your focus right now on your strategy in terms of leading sales teams through this time?

Dalton: The strategy and the focus right now is truly connection… for our teams to their prospects, and connection for us to our teams. Our pure, simple strategy is really looking at, in conversations within our own and with teams, is how can we do our work but through the lens right now of purpose, strategy, intent, and adaptability, is really kind of the four key focuses of where we’re looking through our work.

If you wouldn’t mind breaking it down, purpose and intent means…

When we do our home visits, creative follow-ups, daily sales meetings and those types of things, what is the purpose and intent of sitting down and talking about those prospects that we’re working with? Who’s on our watchlist for the day? And so let’s take that time. Let’s go slow to go fast here for a minute. Let’s break it down. What do we know about these people? What is our relationship? What don’t we know about these people? 

What’s the area of opportunity to engage in success in terms of… cultivating the trust of the relationship, making advances, doing purposeful, intentional home visits… creative follow-ups… conversations via phone, via Zoom, whatever it may be. Really breaking it down and saying, “Okay, let’s pump the brake. Let’s evaluate, and let’s challenge through that lens of purpose, intent, strategy and adaptability.”

That’s awesome. So what are you measuring to gauge the success or the progress of this cultivation and trust-building?

Each conversation with our teams is really a focus in the Time in the Selling Zone… Where are we spending that time? And then let’s take that another step further and say what are we doing in terms of not just the quantity of our benchmarks – what’s the quality of that? 

So you’ve shown in telling me that your team’s done 100 phone calls in two weeks – tell me about what are the five or 10 best phone calls that you’ve had? Help me identify those best practices of cultivating the relationship, building the trust, having purpose, having intention, adaptability, and some strategy behind that.

How do you manage the stress that people are feeling now in terms of all these uncontrollable unknowns?

Nobody likes the uncertainty aspect of it. I think we’re – speaking freely – creatures of habit. We like to know what’s going to happen when, that crystal ball logic. We have to have very fluid logic right now, and we’re working and managing some of the stresses. 

You know, at the end of the day, the numbers and those things take care of themselves. If we put the prospect and the people first, we really have to dig into that. And not just from our advisors working with prospects, but how we are also engaging with our advisors and our teams. We have to check in. We have to make sure that they’re doing okay.

You’re modeling the behavior that you’re expecting from them. It’s brilliant because I think many people believe that’s the regional role, is to look at reports, to figure out what they’ve been doing, to just gather data from them, to drag from them rather than give to them. So I love that flipping to truly stay close and nurture and coach and help people become advisors through this really, really stressful time.

Absolutely. And that’s kind of the key takeaway, right? I never use the data and the reports as the focus. That’s framework. That’s a tool. That’s just telling us how good we’re doing at something and what are the areas of opportunity that we can engage in. How can we get better? It’s a local standpoint, but purely what you’ve just mentioned, it’s a coaching standpoint. It’s a modeling standpoint.

How do we ensure and keep cultivating the relationship with our team’s advisors? Essentially, we want to teach them to fish. I don’t want to use the data and, let’s say, give the man the fish and eat for a day. Let’s look at it, and knowing that it’s live, it’s fluid, it’s continual, and to have that dialogue and that relationship with all of us, to allow for them to have that with our prospects too.

From your perspective, Dalton, you are interested in the psychology of sales. Why do you think that is important?

Understanding the psychology of sales in our industry is important. There is so much more emotion than ever before. Being able to untangle those emotions and have our advisors practice empathy helps us put ourselves on the other side of the table. We must be experts on two sides of the table. One side of that is empathy, being able to understand what they’re going through. The other is to be able to guide and advise them through the transition.

Now with Covid, all those emotions are all elevated and everyone’s situation is truly different. Being in sales is not, nor ever has been, linear, especially in our industry. It has peaks and planes. Those peaks and planes are even steeper than before. This has been the time to learn and share with our prospects in a more personal way.

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