Senior Living Sales & The Decision Making Process
Making a decision to choose a senior living community is complex, emotionally dynamic, and personal. Navigating the senior living sales process with families and prospects is delicate. Very, very rarely is there only one decision maker, so doing thorough discovery using the right questions is important for all involved.
Here are a few senior living sales tips learned over the years:
Senior Living Sales Tip: Who?
It’s important to understand the various roles and responsibilities everyone plays in the decision-making process. Roles include the first point of contact, a primary caregiver who understands the day-to-day situation, the financially responsible family member, and the long distance family member who thinks everything is fine. Many possible combinations exist.
Each is a key influencer. And each will have different questions, priorities, and hot buttons. A great way to get this information is to say, “Every family we talk to has a different way of researching and choosing a senior living community. There are family roles, and often-different priorities. Let’s talk about how you, as a family, are going to make this decision together. How would you define your role? Who else will be involved? Are any of them particularly supportive or resistant to the idea of senior living as an option?”
Bottom line: Identify the person or people you will need to win over. And know who is in your corner!
Senior Living Sales Tip: What?
What’s important to each decision maker? Has something changed in their lives that’s forcing them to look at senior living options? What’s the level of awareness/ involvement that the prospect has in making the decision? (Expect different answers for IL and Memory Care.) What other options are they considering? (Not only competitors, but home care etc.)
Senior Living Sales Tip: Why?
Why are they looking now? And why are they looking at your community specifically? Why would a community setting make sense for them?
Senior Living Sales Tip: Where?
Where is the best location for the family and the prospect? Decision makers will likely be looking in a variety of locations, including out of state. Where does each decision maker/ influencer prefer for them to be located? Where does the prospect prefer to live?
Senior Living Sales Tip: When?
When are they thinking about making a decision? (What is their timeframe?) When are they thinking about making the move? When can we get everyone together for a family meeting to understand and talk through questions, concerns, and options?
Senior Living Sales Tip: How?
How will you all make the decision? Asking how elicits a strategy. For example “I am going to call every community within 10 miles of where Mom lives to get some basic information. Then, we will narrow down our choice to 4 – 6 communities to visit. From there, we’ll decide on our two top choices and we will bring Mom/Dad to visit to make the final choice.”
Ask how they’ll know when they find the right community? How will their Mother/Father know which community is the best for them? Knowing in advance that “when I find a community where my mom will fit in and feel comfortable” is very different from “when I find a community where my mom can swim, that has a bridge group, and a rich cultural program.”
Better to know earlier in the sales process!
Senior Living Sales Tip: Who Else?
Sometimes, when you think you’ve met all the decision makers, another hidden decision maker pops up! This can be a family attorney, financial planner, discharge planner, or spiritual advisor. It’s always a good idea to confirm all of the known participants and then ask “who else” will be involved.
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