What Can Sales People Do If They Cannot Sell?
EDITOR’S NOTE: Like everyone else around the globe, we’re struggling with this new reality due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Heartbreaking stories of loss and grief and a world economy inching towards recession are just some of the things keeping us up at night.
As a marketing agency focused solely on the senior living industry, we’ve been thinking about all our clients as they face these unprecedented times. It’s hard to see past this pandemic since we’re only in the early stages, but at some point, we know we’ll begin to adjust to this “new normal.” The articles we’ll be providing during this time are designed to help senior living sales and marketing teams when they’re ready to move forward.
Senior Living Sales Teams in the Age of COVID-19
COVID-19 has understandably restricted many senior living sales activities, such as tours, events, home visits, and move-ins, but there’s still plenty that sales teams can do to remain productive and helpful.
Here are some ideas.
Stay connected with prospective residents:
Remember, the goal isn’t to sell, but to connect. Be that reassuring voice people need in this time of uncertainty.
- Work the phones in a compassionate way. This is the perfect time to call every prospective resident and see how they’re doing. (Your call-out connect rate should be very high with everyone being at home!) Really listen to people’s stories, their concerns, their fears, and how they’re navigating day to day. Again, there’s no need to sell. Let them know you’ll be there when they’re ready to move forward.
- Give back to local businesses. Support local restaurants and have meals delivered to prospects who are isolated and/or purchase restaurant gift cards and send them out.
- Put the CARE into care packages. Drop off care packages on prospects’ doorsteps with non-perishable foods, like canned soups, pasta, and rice; crossword puzzles/ game books; cleaning supplies (if you have them); and a good book to read.
- Be a conduit of helpful info. Put together a list of local resources and mail this document to people (or include it in the care packages). To start, call local senior centers, area agencies on aging, Meals on Wheels, churches/synagogues, and so forth to learn how they are serving seniors. Get a list of delivery options for meals and pharmacies. In addition to sharing this info with prospects, post it on your website and social channels as well.
- Post uplifting photos, stories, and testimonials. Include ones from residents and staff and post to places like Facebook. This will help show how your team is serving residents and staff during the pandemic.
- Line up speakers who can provide virtual events. You can host these events via Facebook Live or Zoom to keep prospective residents informed and connected to your community.
- Put together a “Daily Distraction” email. Include an uplifting message and things like links to fun activities to do at home, funny YouTube videos, zoo/aquarium cams, and so forth.
- Continue to create virtual sales experiences. Check out this article with even more tips for creating positive virtual sales experiences.
Help fellow staff members and current residents:
Sales teams can also offer a helping hand to overworked staff members. Some ways you can help:
- Offer to lead activities or visit with residents to increase engagement. Ask your community’s activities director how you can help. They’ll have tasks for you, no doubt! (If you have a talent, interest, or hobby that you can share, go for it!)
- Help residents remain in contact with their families. Set up Skype/ FaceTime for residents to connect with their families.
- Roll up your sleeves. Assist with non-clinical tasks, such as delivering meals and cleaning common areas.
Attack that to-do list:
Have you ever said, “If only I had some extra time, I could get some of these things done”? Well, now you do. Start tackling some of those items that get pushed down the to-do list during busier times.
- Update online listings. This is the perfect time to update and optimize your Google My Business page and all your directory listings (we can help with this!). The more you can do today to improve search ranking, the better positioned you’ll be when your community is fully open for visits.
- Crank out content. Write blogs about all the questions that prospects have in the sales process. Blogs will provide a much needed SEO boost for better search ranking when things return to normal.
- Connect with the marketing team. Review analytics (pre-COVID-19) to better understand what marketing initiatives have been working and to brainstorm new ideas to try in the future. Sales and marketing teams should be working together regularly anyway, but this is a good excuse to re-engage with them.