Like many of you have also experienced, this winter has been absolutely brutal! Besides the blizzard of 1978, and I was a child who thought the snow was GREAT, I can’t remember anything remotely close to the past couple of months. But spring has finally sprung!!!! Well, so the calendar says! And today the feet of snow I’ve seen for the past few months has nearly all melted, so I decided to take a walk around the house to start thinking of spring flowers. When I was out this afternoon and saw a rabbit family, I thought how in the world have they been surviving for the past few months? So I followed them and they have made a “home” under the bench in the flowerbed on the side of my home. Hopefully, that flowerbed will be blooming with lovely flowers in a couple of months. But how did they build this when everything has been frozen, covered with snow and ice? There were all kinds of things in the insulated burrow that apparently is keeping them warm. Can you imagine what it takes to build a home during a winter with over four feet of snow, multiple days and weeks of below normal and zero temperatures? They went and found what they needed. There is no Home Depot or Lowes, no 1-800-build-a-burrow. Rabbits have one option; identify materials that will work and build it one piece at a time. Imagine the patience, the focus, the determination the rabbits (or any animal living outside) must have. It is all about survival. No nest? No family.
While we might think that building a burrow, stick by stick, might be overwhelming for a rabbit, I imagine they don’t even think about it; they just do it. As humans, we think way too much! We over analyze, complicate things, and rather than simply doing, we think, think, think! I challenge you to look at your task at hand. Is it preparing for the healthcare changes Traci has been talking about? Is it filling your community? Is it hiring the right people for your team? Is it a rebrand and new website? Look at your task or tasks just as a rabbit sees building his or her burrow. Building it isn’t optional; it’s a necessity. Rather than thinking about how to accomplish your task and all the ways it might not work or the list of how becomes overwhelming, who you should call, what you will say if they answer (because no one really wants to admit they aren’t sure how to do something), just pick up the phone and take action! The less you think and the more you do, the quicker you will experience success.
Let’s use increasing census just as one an example. Just as a rabbit creates a home, one stick at a time, you must fill your community one person at a time. This means filling your pipeline one call at a time, one appointment at a time, one home visit at a time. There is no 1-800-fill-a-community either; it’s up to you to make it happen. The longer you procrastinate, the more exhausting the process will be.
There is one rule the team and Bild & Company has always lived by and that trumps all others. WHERE THERE IS ACTIVITY THERE IS SUCCESS. Activity, meaning Income Producing Activity (IPA): Calling and seeing prospects. If you spent 90% of your time doing this, instead of those many other non-income producing activities (answering phones, leading activities, attending meetings, etc.), census challenges and lost revenue wouldn’t even be in your vocabulary!
- Block Out Sales Times in Your Calendar: Physically go into your calendar and make a decision- when are you going to sell? Identify specifically what time blocks you will make follow up calls, conduct tours, do home visits, and professional outreach. If you don’t decide and own it, it won’t happen! Something will always come up, always. If you are a manager, you must protect the time of your sales team. Clear the decks of everything you can that is not income producing.
- Choose to Work Smarter, Not Harder: Where there is activity there is always success. Yet if you utilize proven sales tools or systems, you will be much more productive in your results. Who wants to make fifty calls yet schedule zero appointments? This is what creates call reluctance and 99% of all people in sales have it. To eliminate it you must take control.
- Call When People Are Home: Make a point to identify a daily two hour time block when at least 40% of the people you call are HOME. If you call 20 people and speak to 8, you are already on your way to success. On the flipside, if you call 20 people and only talk to 2, it’s defeating. This call block is what we call your Prime Calling Time. We have found late afternoons and early evenings as well as weekends to be high Prime Calling Times for those we coach. To learn yours you must track it for about two weeks and you will know for sure.
- Use Proven Systems: You can wing it or you can be prepared. Have a list of open ended questions in front of you and be sure to ask at least five and ideally closer to ten. The more you learn the greater value you can build in regards to the next steps.
- Track Your Results: Look at your contact to appointment ratio at the end of each call session. Never assume whether you are being effective or not, look at the evidence. Where performance is measured it can be improved. You are looking for at least a 30% contact to appointment conversion ratio and ideally closer to 50%. The more you ask and learn about your prospects, the better your odds of getting an appointment.
You have just built a census strategy (burrow) step by step (stick by stick) and didn’t even realized it! Have patience and stay focused on your end goal: Filling every single apartment in your community, one person at a time. Think quality over quantity and be incredibly protective of your time. Just like that rabbit family, in no time you will have accomplished your goal and take pride in a job well done.
Most of you reading may have multiple tasks or just need a little help on one or two big tasks. Not sure where to start or what to do? Reach out to our President and CEO Seth Garber at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will point you in the right direction and help you develop a plan. Although I did say there isn’t a 1-800-build-a-burrow for rabbits to get help, there is 800-640-0688 or www.bildandco.com to help you get started!
Written by Jenn Cox, COO