Launching into a sales pitch without proper discovery is like throwing your selling points against the wall and hoping something sticks. Because each aging adult has different needs and wants, this will never be an effective strategy. While the instinct to start selling your senior living community may be strong, discovery is really a salesperson’s greatest tool. It allows you to create a personalized roadmap to convert each individual prospective resident. Although, without the right questions, you may hit a few roadblocks that you otherwise could have prepared for. Dawn Sigmen, VP Director of Client Strategy at Angell Marketing, shared with us three important, overlooked discovery questions you should ask every prospect to ensure you’re well prepared for a sale.
“Incorporating these techniques and tips have proven to guide your prospect into a smoother close, which leads to an increase in sales. And who doesn’t want to make more sales?!” Dawn said.
With these three often overlooked discovery questions, you’re able to set yourself up for a successful interaction with the prospect and their family members so you’re getting the most out of your discovery.
1. What 3 Most Important Things Are You Looking For In A Senior Living Community?
This may seem like an obvious question to start with, but a simple approach is usually best. Oftentimes, salespeople have an instinct to start selling their community rather than starting with getting to know the prospective resident or their family members.
This question in particular sets up an entire sales appointment, tour, or conversation and provides you with what you need to know to position your community as the perfect fit for the individual or a loved one. Throughout the appointment, you should be referring back to and reinforcing these three important things.
For example, a prospective resident might list their three things as socialization, security, and healthy dining. Throughout the appointment, you can reinforce how your community can provide the individual with the things that they consider important and necessary for their retirement decision.
And get creative! Security doesn’t always mean the physical security of the campus perimeter. For instance, it can also mean financial security or physical amenities that provide security and safety like grab bars in the restrooms. Try not to assume you know specifically what a prospect means. You should always ask questions and clarify the meaning and importance behind the three items.
2. If You Could Change One Thing About Your Lifestyle Right Now, What Would It Be?
This question allows you to present a solution to a prospect’s problem. In turn, this helps a prospect, or a loved one, envision how your community can enhance their current lifestyle.
This is particularly important for independent living prospects who may be deciding whether or not community living will be a better choice than staying in their current house. With this answer, you’re able to present your community as the best choice for achieving their ideal lifestyle and retirement future.
3. I’ve Asked A Lot Of Questions Today. Is There Anything Else I Didn’t Ask That Is Important For Me To Know?
This provides a prospective resident or family member with an opportunity to provide further information that they feel is pertinent to a decision. This ensures that important aspects regarding the individual or their lifestyle were not missed in the initial discovery process as well as providing the salesperson with additional information to highlight in future appointments.
For example, a prospect may share that they have a pet. You’re then able to highlight the pet policy in your appointment. It also allows you to plan ahead to include relevant stops on a tour, like showing dog parks or dog-friendly areas of the campus.
3 Tips for More Effective Discovery
By incorporating the above three overlooked discovery questions, you’ll understand your prospect’s motives better and be able to plan for how best to convert each person. For an even more effective discovery process, keep these three tips in mind.
1. Dig Deeper With Follow-Up Questions.
Don’t be afraid to dig deeper and ask follow-up questions. Remember, the purpose of discovery is to get to know each prospect. Follow-up questions allow you to get at the heart of what a prospect wants, likes, and dislikes. In turn, you’ll understand how to answer questions more effectively.
For example, a prospect could mention that a pool is important to them, but your community might not offer a pool. You may be thinking you need to pivot and avoid this topic. However, a few follow-up questions can get you back on track for a positive answer.
Asking the prospect how they are currently using a pool or where they use it (such as at home, a gym, etc.) will help you understand how important this aspect is and how your response can align with their needs. If he or she is currently using a pool at the local gym, you may be able to offer scheduled transportation as an alternative. Their lifestyle may not even need to change, which may ultimately be a positive for them.
2. Understand The Why Behind Your Questions.
These are questions you need to be asking yourself as you go through discovery with a prospective resident at your community.
Each question should help you learn more about the respondent, and you should be thinking ahead to how this answer can help you showcase your community as the perfect fit for this individual. A strategic mindset of how each question can contribute to your overall goal of converting an individual will help you gather the right information to help your prospect convert.
You also want to understand the why behind a prospect’s questions. Often, a caller is reaching out but is unsure of what to ask. Rather than providing answers to questions right away, such as about pricing or a specific floor plan, you should get to the root of what they need and why they’re asking. This will help you determine what information is best to share with them and start the right dialogue about their needs.
3. Reframe Every Possible Negative & Sell It As a Positive.
There may be a perceived “negative” about a specific floor plan, residence, etc., that may seem difficult to sell. But it’s important as a salesperson to not allow yourself to get stuck in a negative mindset. Every prospect is different, and there’s always a flip side that can be viewed as a positive for someone else.
For example, a floor plan with a view of a wall may seem like an undesirable floor plan to most. But, it may be the perfect floor plan for someone who values privacy. Therefore, consider how each negative can be a benefit.
Bonus Tip: Don’t sell during discovery! Here’s why:
- A prospective resident or family member who is overloaded with information will likely retain very little of it.
- Each prospect is different. What is important to one family may not be a selling point to another, so get to know the prospect first.
- Selling doesn’t build trust. Build a relationship and comfortability with the prospective resident during discovery before needing to ask about more difficult financial or health details later on.
You Ask The Questions. We Have The Answers.
Is your sales team getting the most out of discovery? Is your sales team considering the three overlooked discovery questions?
We offer sales training and coaching services to develop your sales team so they can close your best prospects. Contact us here to learn more.