By Susan Foley, Vice President, Sales Training
Sales teams often see achieving the sale as the most difficult part of their work. They tend to relax a bit after they’ve received a large check and begin to let their guard down. However, this is the most crucial time in the sales process because the situation can easily change: Are they financially approved? Is their health good enough to qualify? Will their home sell? Will they get cold feet? Will one of the adult children swoop in and change everything you’ve worked for?
The depositor has just agreed to make a huge change in his or her life. They are moving away from their house, friends and a neighborhood they know well. Often referred to as “buyer’s remorse,” the first thing we ask ourselves after the endorphin surge is, “Oh! What have I done?” In our depositors’ minds, the thought process is even more frightening; they are admitting to themselves that this is their last move – confronted by the notion that their lifetime may be limited. They are afraid the money they’ve saved may not last, especially if a health crisis occurs. They worry their home might not sell, or will sell below the value they feel it is worth. They are faced with so much change it keeps them frozen and can sometimes lead to a change of heart.
The answer to avoiding these challenges is within the three P’s: Preparation, Planning and Producing.
How do you prepare the depositor for the emotional challenges they are inevitably about the go through? Prepare your prospect at the very beginning (even before the deposit) by letting them know that is it likely that they will experience doubtful or worrisome thoughts. Let them know what they’ll be thinking about!
You may even want to give them your contact information so that they can speak to you personally, even if it might be after-hours. Knowing they’re not alone and not the only one to have fears and misgivings will come across as comforting, and the fear and uncertainty will either not occur or be significantly lessened. Talk through the questions they might have and give them the answers they’ll need – even before they’ve had them come to mind.
There are two parts to the planning stage: 1) Planning for the timeframe between deposit and move-in and 2) Planning to keep the depositor engaged in a positive way.
- Planning for the move-in: With the help of your move-in coordinator, lay out in writing, with the Depositor, what will need to happen in the timeframe they feel they will need to complete their move. This includes:
- Meeting and hiring a realtor
- Staging the home
- Packing and hiring a moving service
- Keeping the depositor engaged: Helping the depositor feel like they are already a “resident” is a great way to have them anticipate the move with enthusiasm. Ideas include:
- Provide opportunities for them to meet and dine with current residents.
- Invite them to use the health and fitness centers.
- Invite them to resident-only activities.
- Host a monthly or quarterly cocktail party for new depositors and Resident Ambassadors before they move in so they can build a network of new friends.
[bctt tweet=”The key to retaining and engaging the #seniorliving depositors is to say what you mean and mean what you say.” via=”no”]
The key to retaining and engaging the depositor is to say what you mean and mean what you say – the results will speak for themselves. By following through in working closely with the move-in coordinator to outline a schedule and timeline, providing any support services needed for the move, engaging them in the community even before they move in, and by making sure the process is seamless and challenge-free for them you will help ensure a smooth transition for both you and your new resident.
It’s also a good idea to follow up with a welcome gift, a housewarming party with friends, and by asking for their referrals!