Machine Gun Versus Interactive Sales Approach

Machine Gun Versus Interactive Sales Approach

Do you really listen?

What is your senior living sales style? Are you firing off information about your retirement community like a machine gun or do you have a softer interactive approach with future residents?

How a machine gun senior living sales person thinks:

  • It’s very important to give the prospect ALL the information about my community so they can make a good decision.
  • I want to help them move in soon.
  • I give a great and interesting tour of the community.
  • I want to highlight our most popular areas in the community.
  • I want them to try our food and then they will move in.
  • Prospects are busy, so I have to talk fast and get all the key information out.
  • I don’t know why I am not getting more sales, I ask everyone for a deposit.

How an interactive senior living sales person thinks:

  • What is the reason they walked in the door of my community today?
  • I am genuinely interested in the customer.
  • What’s most important for them to know?
  • How can I help them?
  • Through listening, I can customize the tour for them.
  • I’ll highlight the parts of the community that the prospect will utilize.
  • Asking questions to learn how my community can solve their problem is important (Are they lonely, have a lack of nutrition, fear of not being found laying on the floor after a fall, home maintenance too much or have a desire for socialization?).
  • Once they start visualizing themselves living in the community, they will make a deposit.

What is the one word difference between these two approaches? Listening!

Both types of senior living sales people are hard workers and care about the prospective resident. The difference is that the machine gun approach turns off prospective seniors. A senior wants to be understood and needs someone with compassion and kindness to interactively solve their current dilemma. They did not just walk in your community for the free food, they came in for a reason. Listen and learn the reason.

You may be thinking – I do listen to the customer!

Tip: When you do your next tour, determine if you are listening 90% of the time and only talking 10% of the time. If you can get them to talk about their own current living and lifestyle challenges, they will sell themselves.

Please share your style, strategies, successes, failures or comment below to join the conversation and interact with other senior living professionals on what is currently being effective to increase occupancy on a nationwide basis.

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available at with a 5-star rating.  The book is required reading at George Mason University as a part of its marketing curriculum.  Within this book, the author developed a sales & marketing method with 12 keys to help senior living providers increase their occupancy.   Masson developed this expertise as a marketing consultant, sought-after blogger for senior housing and a regional marketing director of continuing care retirement communities in several markets.  She has also been a corporate director of sales and a mystery shopper for independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled care nursing communities in multiple states.  Currently, Masson is setting move-in records as the regional marketing director of two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern California – Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California.  Interestingly, this career started when she was looking for a place for her own mom and helped her loved one transition through three levels of care.


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