I recently completed a series of mystery shops for a client looking to explore the impact of their on-line presence. Though the surge in their popularity is undeniable, we often debate about the value of Internet inquiries. But the truth is we are not selling dog food, or patio furniture or school supplies. We are selling a promise for the last chapter of someone's life. It is possibly one of the only things you cannot purchase on line.
So what can be done? No matter what it takes, stop your sales team from spewing data about your business, in person, on line or on the phone. It's not that it doesn't matter. It just doesn't matter yet.
A wise and successful colleague once told me “Everything communicates!” The quality of your website, your brochure, the envelope in which it arrives, and the paper you print on, all represent your end product or service. If your first impression says “I didn’t take the time,” or “I didn’t want to spend the money,” then that message is transmitted to the product you offer.
I am always anxious to hear what’s new, what’s different and who is driving innovation in our field. Recently I attended what I anticipated would be a very special networking breakfast. It was a local provider group, smaller than usual with about 20 people, a great atmosphere for learning about my senior industry colleagues, their products, and their services.
Years ago when I worked for the retail giant Federated, I was privileged to hear a great man speak about the impending demise of the Specialty Store. You remember, those stores where people knew your name, where goods were shipped to your home on approval and where sales ladies in black dresses, and men in suits, showed you to a fitting room or wrapped your gifts.
In my business there is great disagreement about whether anyone can be trained to sell. But in any business where personal lives or great sums of money are at stake, training is essential. If a person has natural talent to connect with others, that is a gift. But the skill to discover what someone really needs or wants can most definitely be taught.
When we sell something, anything, we may often have to depend upon someone else to deliver that product we just sold. Whether its senior living, real estate, office equipment or financial services you may not ultimately be in charge of delivering the product you sold to your customer. The distance between the sale and the delivery to the customer can be enormous.
Many years ago, early in my career I worked for a woman who was possibly the most savvy business person I have ever encountered. She was full of wisdom. Her management style was simple and powerful. Her mantra: Treat your clients like gold and honor your sales team as the life blood of your business. During my training she said the most valuable thing I have ever learned. "If you want to be successful, just show up for your appointments and return your calls."
In senior housing or home care we often sell a product that is used for a very long time. Unlike any other big ticket or extended use products, we will be present with the customer during the entire time she uses it. Think about it. Imagine if you sold someone a car and then had to drive around with them in the car the whole time they owned it. We promise an experience, results, or an outcome and then hope it will happen the way we presented it. We must take an active part in seeing that this service is delivered.
My insights for your success.