The 80s Called: They Want Their Senior Living Sales Training Back

The 80s Called: They Want Their Senior Living Sales Training Back

Do you remember The Breakfast Club? There was the jock, the tough guy, the nerd, the popular girl, and the outcast spending a Saturday in detention. It occurred to me while watching a rerun of The Breakfast Club that each of the characters had stories, histories, fears, and dreams under their façades. As the movie unfolds, we learn so much more about them and what makes them tick. They ask questions about each other and share stories. They cry together. They bond.

So what does this have to do with sales? A lot. Our prospects all have identities, stories, fears, and dreams as well, and it’s our job to uncover them in order to get past the “I’m not ready” objection.

As someone who has been in the industry for almost 20 years managing sales for both small and large organizations, I’ve always been on the lookout for the secret sauce to improve sales conversions. Throughout the years, I created new sales trainings, implemented existing trainings, and hired sales consultants. While motivating, these things tended to have minimal impact in the long term. I couldn’t understand why we were consistently battling the “I’m not ready” prospect.

You see, there’s a problem in our industry. The predominant sales training all comes from a foundation of transactional based selling. We may believe we are teaching relationship based selling, but most of these trainings all have one common theme: Ask questions about our prospects’ needs, and you’ll match the applicable features and benefits. While this works for the most urgent, high-acuity prospects, it doesn’t work with 90% of the other leads in our databases.

Just like the characters in The Breakfast Club, we need to learn our prospects’ life stories. We need to take the time to understand what’s behind the resistance they outwardly show. Why are they so resistant? What are they scared of? These types of conversations typically won’t occur when you simply try to get a tour or get a deposit. By solely focusing on these outcomes, you may be actually pushing your prospect further away. You need to open up your prospect and bond with them before you can close them.

About the author: Jayne Sallerson is the COO of Sherpa CRM and prior EVP of Sales Emeritus Senior Living. Learn more about Sherpa CRM »

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