99% OF ALL ASSISTED LIVING SALESPEOPLE HAVE CALL RELUCTANCE AND FEAR OF FOLLOWING UP
Sales results are directly tied to sales follow-up. No one wants to spend money, or make a massive lifestyle change for themselves or a loved one; and with the pandemic and the negative press exposure, most people want nothing to do with assisted living. Yet for many, it’s a necessity and the difference between a family deciding to move forward and a family stopping the process entirely, rest most often in the hands of your salespeople and the effectiveness of their follow-up skills.
Have you ever sat in on follow-up calls made by sales and marketing directors in assisted living? If not, hard as it may be to listen, it’s time to do so. What you will hear repeatedly is:
“Hi Jack, this is Michele Jones with Heritage Point, how are you today?”
“I was just checking in to see how you are doing?”
I’m doing good, thanks.
Alternatively, you may hear the sales and marketing director say:
“I just wanted to see if you were still interested in assisted living?”
Not at this time, we’ve decided to wait for now.
After a few more friendly musings, the salesperson will say,
“Okay, well thank you and let me know when you are ready to make a move!”
Both of those examples lead to a dead end, more rejection, and further call reluctance among your sales and marketing directors, and understandably so. If you lack systems, follow-up can be brutal!
If you want to understand how valuable sales systems are to sales results and in turn occupancy, revenue, and net operating income, give this technique a try today. Upon implementation, you will be completely floored that this phone system works because it’s so easy to do!
Learning new skills isn’t hard, it’s implementing them that’s difficult and why our training platform is built on coaching people through their fears. What I’m going to show you to do right now is take any outbound telephone call and turn it from a cold, uncomfortable call into a warm, friendly call. In fact, you will get three immediate yes responses right off the bat, making the person you are calling subconsciously like you and want to talk more.
Whether you are calling a disgruntled family, a prospective resident, a property owner about management services, or an executive director to discuss declining revenue performance, this system will do the following:
The following technique is very simple and easy to do but mentally, it’s tough! Changing old habits is the toughest thing we do here at Bild & Co , but tough times require new strategies, and this effort will yield immediate results. Here we go!
STEP ONE: THE OPENING
The next telephone call you make, rather than saying, “Hi John, it’s Traci Bild with Bild & Co, how are you?” of course, replace this with whomever you are calling and your own name…say:
“Hi John, it’s Traci Bild calling…” and be quiet, just pause. It’s imperative you use the word calling after your name and do not state your company’s name, only yours. We are building a relationship and stating your company name immediately blocks that from happening. Don’t worry, we’ll get to that but not yet. Secondly, pause! In this system, both parties get to speak. It’s like a game of chess, we both get turns rather than steamrolling over the person on the other end of the line.
When opening the call in this way, the individual you are calling will respond with, “yes?”
If for any reason, the person you are calling pauses rather than saying, “yes” after three seconds move on to the next step. Ninety-nine percent of the time you will hear a nice, positive, “yes?” in which you will move on to the next step, disarming.
STEP TWO: DISARMING
In step two you will either state a fact or recall an event. When making a phone call you either know something about the person you are calling or have met them at some point either virtually or in person, in which case you’ll recall this event.
This step will always start with one of these two phrases and I’ll give you a few examples to play with below.
“I understand” in which case you are stating a fact or “if you recall” where you will remind them of an event. This step will not get you a yes 99% of the time, but 100% of the time, it’s easy! Here are a few examples:
In each scenario, you will get a yes response 100% of the time (unless your information is wrong).
Now let’s look at recalling specific events, no matter your role in seniors housing:
Again, in each scenario, you will get a yes response 100% of the time (unless your information is wrong).
This process isn’t a script, it’s a system. You can plug any situation into these two phrases and so long as your information is correct, elicit a yes response. Keep in mind this is your second yes, in less than two seconds and you may or may not even have a relationship with the person you are calling yet.
STEP TWO: DISARMING, PERMISSION TO SPEAK
The third yes comes from obtaining permission to talk. I like to think of this as common manners. You wouldn’t walk into someone’s home without first knocking. So before proceeding with the reason for your call, get permission to do so.
“Do you have just a quick minute?”
The individual you are calling will respond, 99% of the time with, “yes” or “sure I have a minute,” both essentially yes responses. At times you will hear, “what’s this about?” which means, go!
This is your third yes, in under three seconds. It doesn’t matter who you are calling or why, this system is time tested and proven over two decades in a multitude of industries and it for sure works in seniors housing. You could literally open a phone book and cold call any individual and this system will work. I should know, I built three companies doing this!
We studied this specific phrase extensively and found that you must use it exactly as prescribed, “do you have a quick minute?”
When using “did I catch you at a good time?” or “is this a good time to talk?” etc., people tend to say, “actually it’s not a good time,” or “can you call back later?” in other words these phrases didn’t produce the same results. So, on this step, be specific if you want that third yes, 99% of the time.
STEPS 3-5: THE REASON STEP, THE CHECKMATE QUESTION, AND THE CHECKMATE CLOSE
There are two final steps within this 5-Step Phone System that will ultimately result in:
Curious? You can learn the last three steps in this month’s book club study of Zero Lost Revenue Days , Chapter 5: Follow Up and Closing Systems.
My goal in this blog is to first help you understand as an owner, investor, asset manager, operator, salesperson, etc. is that systems matter. The difference between a sale being closed and a sale being lost starts with the sales process or systems used at the site level. With occupancy at record lows and upwards of 20% of all apartments vacant industry wide, never has it been more important to stop and assess your current sales process, retrain, inspect, and coach to results than it is now.
At this point, most seniors housing communities are simply paying the bills. Many are feeding cash into their assets and neither of these situations is viable long-term. This chapter is all about follow-up and closing; two of the most misunderstood sales components within the seniors housing sales cycle.
In studying assisted living for two decades, coaching thousands of senior living communities and their salespeople in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., what we have learned here definitively at Bild & Co is that follow-up is essentially non-existent.
The reason follow-up is so difficult is:
In this chapter, you will learn how to follow up with purpose, no matter your job. If you are picking up the phone, sending an email, or text, you better have a purpose and a solid next step in mind, or it will be nothing more than a waste of time.
Many operators ask their salespeople to make 20 dials a day or perhaps it’s 20 contacts a day. We must shift our strategy and focus on how to get better outcomes, not just smile and dial. You must ask:
Chapter Five is loaded with incredibly valuable information relating to effective follow-up that results in people moving to the next step in the sales process. It doesn’t matter if it takes a week, month, or year for a family to decide on a move; so long as they continue to move forward in the process.
Forward this book club to your entire sales organization, have a conversation, implement a contest that will get people out of their comfort zones and follow up on results. People are hungry for information and specifically skill that work in moving sales to a close.
Want the Bild & Co team to teach the Five Step Follow-Up System to your sales organization? We are currently scheduling summer and fall webinars and in person training sessions. Click here to learn more and empower your people to succeed!