By Tom Mann, Principal, Executive Vice President
As consultants who specialize in sales and marketing of senior housing, Love & Company’s sales specialists spend their time training Life Plan Community clients on process and technique. But the best in the business know that the most valuable sales team transformations take place AFTER the arduous task of sales training has been completed.
Herein lies one of the biggest challenges for a consultant: How do you explain to a community’s executive team or experienced sales director that the hard work is still in front of them after they have completed their basic sales training?
The continuing care retirement communities where Love & Company has experienced the most success–very often doubling the sales they were experiencing the year we first arrived–have continued to engage us (usually on a light maintenance basis) after the training has been completed. Why would they carry this added expense?
Protecting Their Investment
The analogy I often use is that of a person on a diet. I’m a big believer that diets don’t work; lifestyle changes do! Let’s face it, after a brief education, most of us understand what it takes to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The hard part is maintaining the discipline and willpower required to arrive at the healthy lifestyle we desire. This is where a great mentor, motivator and coach can make all the difference in the world.
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Do you know how hard it is to make 15 connected calls per day? I do, and it isn’t easy. It requires three hours per day of focused time picking up the phone and dialing.
Yes, But Isn’t That Why We Pay Our Sales Director?
Yes, it is your sales director’s job to keep your team focused. However, your sales director is working in the trenches on a daily basis, making sure that the sales reports are going out smoothly, helping your sales counselors with particularly challenging issues, coordinating events, interacting with other directors, assisting with the coordination of upgrades and maintenance, coordinating the marketing and advertising plan with your outside agency, and the 1,000 other issues that pop up on a daily basis. Not to mention, they are the person who on a daily basis is encouraging (nagging) the team to reach higher standards.
I usually stop the conversation here and use the example of a mother encouraging her two teenage children to keep their rooms clean, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. Sometimes the situation is helped by taking a tag-team approach (in this case, bringing in dad).
Return on Investment
My good friend, Rick Hunsicker, who has just joined the Love & Company team, often coaches the “Rule of 78.” Rick’s “Rule of 78” can be summed up this way: one additional move-in each month produces 78 additional months of revenue in a year; one lost sale each month costs 78 months of revenue in a year. Here’s what it looks like: