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.
There is nothing more exciting than starting a new job. Especially if its one that you have earned with shrewd networking, endless interviews and a stockpile of unique qualifications that made you a perfect fit for the position. Next time you have a new hire remember what you felt like on your first day.
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.
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.
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.
I was meeting with a client recently to talk about training their front line staff. You know, the people who operate the front desk, answer the phone, serve in the dining room or park cars in the garage. The mood in the community was a bit sullen. The staff had become relaxed in their appearance. The calls and visitors coming in to inquire were not being greeted graciously or with sufficient or accurate information.
My insights for your success.