Nothing happens in any successful business until a sale is made. Providing aging in place services is no different. We might be providing interior design services. We might be doing renovations to the kitchen, bath, entrance, or other areas of the home. We could be completing room additions or finishing a basement or garage for living space. We could be providing layout and design services. We could be installing lifts or elevators. We could be redoing a kitchen. We could be taking out a bathtub and converting it to a curbless shower. The list of possibilities is a long one.
Regardless of what it is that we want to do in someone’s home to help them live in it comfortably, we have to interact with the client in some way and then come to an agreement on what is to be done. Obviously, we can’t just show up at someone’s home ready to get started on a project for them without being invited and without a firm understanding of the scope of work to be done.
Unless the client is coming to our showroom and picking out products to be delivered and installed for them, or they are purchasing items to take with them and use themselves, a home assessment is likely the first step to be completed in doing an aging in place renovation for our clients. Here again, we just don’t show up to do one without contracting with the client first, and this comes from making a sale.
Let’s get past the idea of making a sale as being something formidable. It is simply a meeting of the minds on what is to be done and an agreement on the price. In retail, where the client comes to us and views items that we have on display in our showroom, they understand that they will need to purchase items from us for us to install or for them to take with them. This makes selling easy although there won’t be a sale each time. People do visit showrooms to get ideas, to comparison shop, and just to look.
In order to help people remain in their home effectively and create successful solutions for them, we have to connect with them. Some of them are going to find us, but we are going to have to reach out to the others we intend to serve. Our marketing will help us do this – advertising, flyers, brochures, websites, social media, direct mail, and home shows.
As far as making sales, when people come to our retail location, showroom, warehouse, or office, they expect to be coming to a location where sales occur so making a sale is just an extension of the overall visit with them. A transaction won’t happen each time, but they are customary. We don’t need to think of ourselves as salespeople but rather problem solvers. Still, a sale needs to happen before we can provide solutions for them.
When people telephone us for information or assistance, we will engage them in conversation. We’ll ask them questions about their situation and their particular needs. They’ll share with us. Based on that discussion, we will set an appointment to meet with them in their home, they will agree to visit our office or meet with us at a different location, or we’ll just have a discussion and answer their questions for them without them committing to any additional contact.
Essentially, as aging in place professionals – regardless of what our profession is – we are problem solvers. We get paid to help people, and that means that a sales transaction has to occur. That’s how we are going to get paid. Some people enjoy making sales, and some don’t. It doesn’t really matter. All we have to do is approach our work as being problem solvers with the sale being the official authorization by the client for us to help them.
We can offer some free advice on our website, on our blogs and articles, through emails, and over the phone, but there will come a time when we need to charge for the work we do. We can only accomplish so much for free before actually getting agreement from the client to help them. When this happens, we have a sale – nothing more than the client authorizing us to work with them to provide what we both agree upon as being necessary for an established price.
The first sale – unless it is a retail item purchased at our establishment or online from us – is going to be the assessment. We’ll sell that and then any additional work will be described, outlined, and agreed upon by the client to make another sale to move forward with assisting them.
Selling, in our case, is not about convincing someone that they need something that we both know they don’t or talking them into something that may not be beneficial. It is simply having a conversation with them to determine how we can help them and then affixing a fee for services to that proposal to secure their agreement and authorization for us to move forward. This is the aging in place modifications sale.