There’s been an increased focus on blue sky marketing in the last year here at Creating Results. As more of our clients begin expansion and repositioning projects, there’s one question we’ve been asked more than any other: “What happens during the blue-sky sales journey?”
If you’re in the midst of a pre-sales or expansion project, you’re in luck! There are times when I’m working with our clients’ sales teams and I’m reminded of the scene in the movie Liar, Liar when Jim Carrey is trying to force himself to lie and say the pen he’s holding is red when, in reality, it’s blue. He just can’t lie! If you’re not familiar with that scene, take a break from reading and click on the video below – it’s one of my favorites!
Do you find yourself trying to create a vision of a lifestyle that doesn’t yet exist? Are you painting a picture of your community using colors that have your prospects envisioning red – but right now, in it’s current state, it’s blue (sky!)?
Without a physical space, many sales counselors find that the aspirational sell in senior living to be among the hardest out there. Here are three tips for overcoming any objections you’re facing as you try to pre-sell your community and get closer to your sales goals by engaging and nurturing your prospects.
The Key to Blue Sky Senior Living Sales: Be Quiet!
Shocking, right? You may be thinking to yourself, there’s no way I can tell them about all the great features, amenities and lifestyle choices by being quiet. We understand that you’re excited to share everything that’s great about your new community.
However, the more you can listen to your prospects, the more you’ll learn about them. Rather than giving them the answers, by asking more questions you’ll enable your prospects to identify their challenges and goals on their own. This will give you the information you’ll need to customize their sales experience.
Ask Questions with a SPIN!
Now that you’re listening, how do you avoid the awkward silence? Besides just waiting for your prospect to continue to tell his or her story, the most successful blue sky senior living sales people prepare and plan their calls and appointments with a series of discovery questions ahead of time.
At Creating Results, we work with our sales teams on a training curriculum and philosophy based on Neil Rackham’s, Spin Selling. The goal is to connect with your prospects by asking questions that reveal the Situation, Problem, Implication and Need-payoff.
Here are a few examples of how you might ask a blue-sky senior living sales prospect each SPIN question:
Situation: How did you learn about us?
Problem: What challenges are you facing?
Implication: What are the top three things you are looking to accomplish/overcome?
Need-Payoff: How would it be to not have to worry about your future?
So, as you can see, by building on the situation and asking questions that dig deeper into understanding your prospect, you’ll be able to demonstrate and relate your community’s value based on your prospect’s unique goals. This key motivating factor helps move the conversation away from general features to a more customized aspirational journey.
How to Build Momentum on Your Blue Sky Senior Living Sales Success!
You’ve sat, listened and learned about your prospect’s goals and eventually earned a deposit! Now, it’s all about retention. Typically, financing requires a percentage of the total occupancy to be met through pre-sale deposits in order to start construction. When projecting your sales goals, your deposit goal should also account for cancellations.
Across many communities, we’ve seen anywhere from a 10 to 30% cancellation rate between initial deposit and move-in phases. So, if your goal is to net 50 deposits to start construction, you really need to aim for closer to 55-65 deposits to factor in that cancellation rate.
Through retention of your depositors, you can keep that rate down. A variety of strategies can help keep your depositors engaged in their future community. For example, you can plan depositor-only events, special outings and community benefits, as well as implement referral programs and more. Stay tuned for a future blog post where we’ll dive deeper into these tactics!
We hope this helped you or your sales team identify some areas of your blue-sky senior living sales approach that are working, as well as areas that need improvement.
There’s more we can uncover with you as well. You can start by downloading the Creating Results “6 Points of Discovery” cheat sheet – the best ways to uncover your prospect’s “hot button” in a more efficient manner. Fill out the form on this page and start discovering!
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Still looking for more info about the senior living blue sky sales process? Feel free to reach out to us! You can connect with me at Jessica@creatingresults.com!