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.
I get many calls from business owners who want to correct a problem they are having usually related to a lack of revenue, a sales slump, or an under performing sales team. In all cases, changes need to take place - usually sooner rather than later. It might be better training, product improvement, increased marketing effort or sometimes a personnel change. All this takes some hard thought, some thorough investigation and often additional funding to retain an outside professional to help with the process and make the changes.
Did you get the deposit? Did they sign? Did you get the check? Questions we hear everyday in Senior Living. Some days our work is narrowed down to how many move ins will we have, how many hot leads are we working, who can we "close"? If we imagined we got up every morning with the sole aim of collecting checks from would-be residents, none of us would still be in this rewarding, but challenging, business of changing people's lives.
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.
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."
As a marketing consultant and sales trainer I often meet with clients who tell me that they “just can’t sell enough…” or “Can you teach my people how to close?” It never fails that after a bit of research and investigation we find that many of the customers we try to sell aren’t really viable users of our products. So once again we need to go back to marketing. Who are your perfect clients, where are they and how can you get more of them?
When is the last time you "walked" your place of business to see what it looked like? Start with the front door. I recently went to see a client and it was clear that someone had spent the night drinking in front of his office. There were empty beer bottles and cigarette butts in his beautiful planters! Working in the same place every day, we often lose sight of how we look to people visiting us for the first time.
My insights for your success.