How many of you have worked with a senior who clearly needs to make a move into a senior living community? Maybe she is lonely, not eating nutritiously, no longer driving or desires the social connectivity of liked-minded seniors. The senior is one visit away from selecting an apartment and putting down a deposit. A daughter has already consented that her mom needs the support of your community and is emotional exhausted from helping her mom. The son/brother is coming to town and they want him to put his stamp of approval on this move.
Suddenly, the senior and the daughter become uncommunicative with you. The family is a no-show for the scheduled tour at your retirement community. Your phone calls to reach out to them are unanswered. What happened? Are they okay? Did something happen and maybe the senior is in the hospital?
Most likely the son came into town and sabotaged the deal. “Mom is fine. She does not need to move into an old folks home. It is too expensive. Just keep helping her sis.” Maybe this son is in denial or maybe he is worried that mom might drain his inheritance. Either way, it is a sad circumstance for the mom who will lose out on a better quality of life and the sister who is tired of taking care of mom while raising her own children.
What can you do? How can you handle this situation in the best possible light?
Here is my suggestion: Next time, prepare the mom and sister for the brother’s visit. I would say, “I would love for your son/brother to come see this community and the apartment that you are considering. Just remember, when you tell him that you are thinking of moving here, he might believe you are moving to an old folks home filled with hospital beds. He won’t be able to imagine the lifestyle you will have living here. I think he will be blown away when he sees the 5-star dining room, live entertainment schedule and all the classes that you want to partake in. Let him know that you understand it is hard to believe and ask him to come see it for himself. Let him know how excited you are and that you want him to support your decision.”
Please share in the comment section below how have you handled this situation in the past.
Diane Twohy Masson is the author of “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full.” It is rated by Amazon Editors as one of the best books of 2014 and readers have given it a 5-star rating on Amazon.com. This award winning 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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How many times have you heard this from people considering a senior living community? It’s probably the number one customer comment, after touring a continuing care retirement community, independent living or assisted living community.
As a sales person, you sometimes honestly have to laugh after the appointment… The really humorous part is that a significant number of the people saying, “I’m not ready yet!” can barely qualify health wise for the community. They are shuffling with walkers and canes and may not even be able to tour the entire community before becoming exhausted with fatigue. You think to yourself, wow, you almost don’t qualify, how can you not be ready yet?
So how do we sell something to someone who desperately needs it? First, we can’t butt heads with them. Don’t argue! Stop trying to talk them into it! Once you have brought someone’s resistance up, you are in a losing battle.
Objections are one of two things. Either something we failed to cover during our time (discovery and tour) with them or they simply need more information. If you wait until the end of your time together to cover objections, then you are battling the prospective resident and creating a stressful sales experience by being a Stressful Sally or Sam. You can cover objections before they become an objection by using examples of past tour experiences. It’s the “friend approach” and it’s very effective.
Share a recent story of a resident who was not ready yet and moved into your community at his children’s insistence or another reason. He or she had fallen several times and they were concerned that even with an emergency pendant in their home, they might not be able to press it and could be laying on the floor for several days (before help arrives). It gives them a lot of peace of mind to know we have a plan in place to take care of almost any situation at our community. I would love for you to meet them…
A prospect could not be mad at you for sharing this story! It is a real story and one that the potential resident and their family has to consider when they go home, because they are not ready yet… The next fall or hearing about another senior falling will trigger the story in their mind again. If you continue calling on a monthly basis to check in, they can suddenly become one of your hottest leads…
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 your curiosity is piqued to inquire on Diane’s availability to speak at a senior housing conference (CCRC, independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care) – please call: 206-853-6655 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Diane is currently consulting in Southern California for Freedom Management Company, the proud debt-free owners of Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California. For more information: Twitter: @market2seniors Web: www.marketing2seniors.net Blog: http://marketing2seniors.net/blog/