The key to making sales, and in our case being able to provide aging in place solutions that allow people to remain safely in their homes over time, is having a sufficient number of interested people that we can talk with about what we offer.
Of course, one of the ways – arguably the oldest and the default way – to attract new customers is through advertising (traditional print advertising found in newspapers, magazines, specialty publications, and now online).
Another way – and the most productive and dependable for us – is self-generation through direct contact and strategic referrals. This requires work, and may take a while before we see a return so we may need some advertising or other types of activities in conjunction with this. By the way, word of mouth (WOM) is also a form of advertising and marketing, so we should never overlook the potential of this.
The premise of self-generation is that we, as aging-in-place professionals (or anyone we have representing us), are responsible for producing new leads from which to make the sales that we need in order to continue helping people and remaining in business. In an ideal sense, we would produce all of our own leads and not rely on any additional advertising or promotion. It would be just what we created, along with referrals and what our strategic relationships brought to us.
So if self-generation is to occur, where does it begin? We should start with the obvious – people we know, regardless of how well or for how long we have known them. This includes friends, family, acquaintances, former clients and customers, referrals, and professional contacts.
Then we expand to those people you haven’t yet met – strangers. For most people, this has the most potential.
So, how do we meet strangers? By being available.
People that we don’t know that we can help – or ones who can lead us or recommend us to people we can help – are around us constantly. We just need to be aware of it and ready to meet and engage people. It could be standing in line to order the morning coffee or lunch, waiting for a flight at the airport, shopping anywhere (but especially at the grocery store, home improvement center, or furnishings store), taking public transit, or just being out and about where will encounter people that we can engage in conversation. From that, we can meet people whom we can help.
If we are willing to meet people and willing to have a conversation with them, we definitely will meet new people. From that, we will learn of people who need remodeling or assessment services – because they already had been considering them or because they have a specific need they haven’t yet addressed.
Remember the goal of meeting people is not to make an immediate sale. Therefore, we don’t need to be aggressive as if the future of our entire business depends on meeting and making a sale to the next person we encounter. It’s the foundation of creating a relationship that can build into a sale or a referral. It’s a process, but this is a great way to be responsible for producing the leads that will turn into people that we can help with our services.