What Percent of Time Does Your Senior Living Sales Person Spend Selling?

How much real time is your senior living sale person spending in nonrevenue generating activities? The operations team should consistently do all nonrevenue generating activities, so the sales person can just focus on selling – right?  Yet sales people can get caught up wanting to be accepted by coworkers, so they start contributing part of their precious sales day to the operations team.  Suddenly the sales person may be helping at a resident event or going to visit new residents to make sure they are adjusting to life in the community.   Sales people tend to be the best event organizers, so it is also a very frequent practice in retirement communities to have them organize the annual resident picnic.  FYI – the resident picnic should really be the focus of activity director.

Any salesperson can slowly evolve into participating in nonrevenue activities in any healthy organization. Even great executive directors, might not notice two hours here and a three hour project there. A retirement community may literally need an outside consultant or regional marketer to evaluate – how much time the sales person spends not selling.  The administrator may have just needed help with one certain project that turned into more time wasters, because the sales person was so efficient at completing his or her requests.  Then when the occupancy drops another 5% and corporate is breathing down the administrator’s neck to find out why – the administrators could be unknowingly sabotaging the occupancy themselves.

Many administrators don’t even realize how his or her salesperson is utilizing their time. I actually found out that one of my regional sales team members was vacuuming and cleaning apartments before move-ins.  The operations team could not keep up with preparing apartments for new residents.  The sales person did not want the residents moving into dirty apartments, so he stayed late at night to clean them, rather than be a burden to operations.  Are you kidding me??!!?  I met with the administrator immediately and said, “This is a great problem to have with all these move-ins!  Let’s solve it and help our sales person get back to selling.”  The administrator agreed and we hired an outside agency to clean and prep the apartments of the next five move-ins (happening that week).  The sales person was thrilled to get back to selling and the operations team got caught up.  Yahoo and problem solved.

My first rule of thumb is: The sales person does all the activities that help people move into the community – period. Once someone is living in the community, the sales person needs to direct the new resident to the appropriate person on the operations team.  I believe that some sales people are so excited about their new resident that they would rather spend time talking with them, than getting on the phone to do follow calls.  Doesn’t everyone want acceptance in person rather than possible rejection on the phone?

My second rule of thumb is:  If a resident stops by to talk with the sales person, give them two minutes. Then the sales person should nicely let the resident know that they have a phone call to make or a meeting to attend.  Residents will get the picture after a sales person gives them the two minutes rule… two or three times.

What is happening in your organization?  Watch your occupancy start to skyrocket again, if the sales people are spending all their time on selling activities.

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available for sale at Amazon.com.  If you need an energetic, creative and analytical mind to help increase your occupancy inquire on Diane’s availability to coach your senior living marketing team (CCRC, independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care) or have her develop an effective sales retreat for your organization – call: 206-853-6655 or email diane@marketing2seniors.net.  For more information: Twitter: @market2seniors Web: www.marketing2seniors.net Blog: http://marketing2seniors.net/blog/