This kind of thing only happens in dreams.
A team member from your senior living sales department walks up to you and confesses…
I’m really struggling to close leads. What I’m doing isn’t working, and occupancy is plummeting. Can you teach me the basics?
Unfortunately, too many members of senior living sales teams think they’re qualified for their jobs…and that they have the expertise needed for the position.
Even worse, communities simply assume their sales teams know what they’re doing.
It’s a blind spot that can lead your operation to ignore the data, discount needed training, and leave poor occupancy unaddressed.
Think your sales talent is experienced and equipped?
In this article, we’re revealing why you should double-check the facts before making that assumption…
Signs That Say Nothing about Senior Living Sales Team Performance
Whether you’re in the C-suite or you oversee a regional territory, it’s far too easy to rely on misleading credentials or traits as performance indicators.
Here are two counterfeit signs that actually reveal nothing about senior living sales team performance.
- Longevity in the field. Have a director with 20 years of experience in senior housing? That means nothing. At Bild & Co, we meet sales team members regularly who are ill equipped to sell in today’s competitive environment. The senior living industry isn’t known for superior sales performance (team members routinely mishandle leads across operations). So don’t mistakenly think longevity means a sales counselor can build the emotional connection or close a sale.
- Personality traits. Don’t mistake talkativeness for the ability to drive conversions. A bubbly personality isn’t the same as the ability to listen to prospect or family concerns. In the world of senior living sales, skill sets—such as asking open-ended questions, matching needs, and personalizing tours—win the day…not personality.
At the end of the day, these two traits mean little when it comes to increasing top-line revenue. Personality and experience don’t necessarily equip teams to…
- Increase unpaid referrals.
- Improve conversions.
- Raise awareness in the community.
- Drive occupancy.
Don’t Simply Take Our Word for It (Undercover Shopping for 40 Communities)
Saying you shouldn’t assume teams are equipped isn’t hyperbole.
It’s a fact…and we have the numbers to back it.
Recently, we did a bit of undercover mystery shopping for 40 communities within a single operation. The results?
It was soon clear that many communities didn’t follow senior living sales team best practices…at least when speaking with our undercover shopper.
Check out what we found:
Over 40% of the communities didn’t answer the phone right away, forcing our undercover shopper to leave a message for more information.
Granted…it’s difficult for most sales teams to answer every phone call that comes through. But the fact that 17 of these communities didn’t provide an immediate response spelled trouble.
On top of that, some of these communities waited days to respond…a few never did at all.
Not answering the phone can cause a lead to move on in the research process…possibly to the nearest competitor down the road.
At least 17.5% of communities didn’t close the call with an offer to tour.
Closing an inquiry call with an invitation to visit is senior living sales 101.
Yet, during our undercover calls, a number of communities completely neglected this important step.
To give you an idea of the experiences our team member encountered, here’s what our undercover shopper revealed about one call…
“It was awkward. The sales person told me right out of the gate she was tight on time due to an appointment.”
After asking questions, our undercover coach said the salesperson “told me she would call me back when she had more time.”
During the inquiries, 6 of the communities asked four questions…or less.
Put yourself in the adult child’s shoes for a moment—your typical inquiry caller.
He or she is anxious, facing a big decision. The adult child needs a listening ear, someone who can act as a springboard for his or her thoughts and provide guidance.
The problem is—as these results show—many sales counselors ask few questions to elicit the kind of communication the adult child needs. Without empathy, no one is going to make a move.
Don’t Assume…Empower Your Senior Living Sales Teams
No successful company thrives by simply assuming business operations will fall into place and create automatic success. It’s important to inspect what you expect.
That’s why, in addition to a strategy for equipping teams with industry best practices…
Regionals need a way to monitor sales team performance so they can pinpoint where their communities need help most.
At Bild & Co, we don’t simply empower on-site sales teams to achieve growth.
We also understand the unique challenges of regional directors. (In fact, the Bild & Co team has members with regional experience in various roles.) As we help operations net up and grow, we also support regional directors of senior living operations as they come alongside their communities.