In our last blog, we explained the science behind why senior housing sales teams forget their onboarding.
In case you missed it, here’s a quick recap of what we covered…
- We introduced the Ebbinghaus curve—a phenomenon discovered in the 19th century, revealing that humans rapidly forget newly learned information.
- We covered some explanations behind why human beings forget—retrieval failure, interference, and motivated forgetting.
- We recommended that organizations should go beyond onboarding and avoid gaps between sales training.
Despite the fact that senior housing sales teams forget their initial training, our article offered a glimmer of hope.
And that’s what we’re going to focus on today.
The solution to the inevitable erosion of onboarding training is straightforward—consistent reinforcement.
But while the answer to your challenges is easy to understand, it’s hardly easy to implement.
If your mind is racing with questions like…
- Where do I start?
- Who’s responsible for providing training?
- How often should we reinforce onboarding?
…don’t get discouraged.
In this article, we’re sharing three best practices to help you simplify the task of training retention.
When you finish reading this blog, you’ll go from understanding that you have a problem to doing something about it.
1. Create a Systematized, Clearly Defined Curriculum
Helping your senior housing sales counselors starts with defining your curriculum.
According to Merriam-Webster a curriculum is “a set of courses constituting an area of specialization.”
It’s important to let that definition sink in.
By default, this means that your follow-up training curriculum isn’t…
- Basic how-tos that are passed down from sales counselor to sales counselor.
- Random advice from sales and marketing directors, EDs, or regionals.
- What EDs require for each community.
In other words, your training materials must support a systematic approach to training—across your communities.
As a side note…this is a problem that we see often at Bild & Co. We meet senior housing portfolios that struggle to follow a single system for occupancy success. Instead, everyone is doing something different, which makes for poor results.
Having said that, here’s how to avoid this problem and lay a solid foundation for your follow-up training.
If you’re not sure where to start, here’s what we’d suggest…
- Make a list of the must-know skills to drive occupancy. Be sure that the knowledge and behaviors you outline apply to your entire portfolio.
Analyze each requirement for a direct tie to ROI. If there’s no proven link between a skill and increased occupancy, strike it off your list.
Make sure you can measure the behaviors and practices in your curriculum. Otherwise, you’ll have no way to gauge if there’s success or room for growth.
For instance, whether we’re conducting onboarding or follow-up training, our team leverages the Bild Sales System.
Take a look at how we’ve applied the above criteria to an important area we cover in our senior housing sales training…
Essential Skill: Understanding the inquiry process
Tie to ROI: Increased tours, a key factor for occupancy
Measurable Outcomes: Phone call skills and inquiry-to-tour ratio
Making sure your training curriculum meets these criteria will help you remove the subjectivity out of sales training.
2. Identify Who Is Responsible for Senior Living Sales Training
Once you have your core curriculum in place, it’s time to answer a very important question…
Who is responsible for implementing your senior housing sales training?
That’s a good question.
Self-learning is a great option.
But you’re going to see the best results when your curriculum is reinforced by a leader…who’s able to hold sales teams accountable.
As a general rule, executive directors (EDs) should be directly responsible for their sales counselors.
After all, EDs—more than any other leader—have the biggest day-to-day impact on the team members in their communities.
That’s why it’s important that your EDs understand the core elements of your retention or sales training.
However, your EDs aren’t the only ones responsible for follow-up training.
Your regional directors also play an important role.
Ideally, your regionals should thoroughly understand your training curriculum so they’re able to support their EDs and provide guidance as needed. The ultimate goal is to create a trickle-down effect.
At this point, you may be thinking…
My EDs and regionals barely have enough time as it is. Do they have to provide comprehensive follow-up training for each team?
You can breathe easy…
The good news is, we recommend targeted follow-up training.
It’s true—there may be a time when your teams need a complete refresher course.
However, most retention training should pinpoint areas of growth.
Let’s say an ED notices tour-to-move-in conversions have plunged. He or she can cover the essential elements of planning tours and following up with leads during a weekly meeting with the sales team.
The key is to look at the metrics—and then determine where further training is needed most.
3. Determine the Optimal Repetition of Training for Senior Housing Sales
In senior housing sales training, timing is critical.
As we explained in our last post, placing a gap between training is detrimental.
Not surprisingly, as you build your retention process, you’ll want to determine how often follow-up training is needed.
However, this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule.
No two senior housing organizations are alike. And—when it comes to your senior housing sales training—you’ll need to determine what’s best for your organization.
Here’s one way you can do just that: start by measuring your communities’ current metrics.
If the data shows that your conversions don’t fall within normal range, there’s a good chance that your teams are neglecting key parts of their onboarding and it’s time to reinforce their initial training.
Sizing Up Your Sales Training Retention
When it comes to sales training retention, always remember…
No two operations are identical.
The system you create isn’t designed for another organization…it’s customized for your portfolios, your properties, and your sales teams.
The important thing is making sure you have the key elements in place.
At Bild & Co., we’re delighted to provide tailored solutions and help our clients make our Sales System their own.
However, we also recognize that there are some essential practices each retention system needs—no matter the organization.
Curious if your follow-up practices align with our guidelines?
Take the assessment and find out…