We’ve talked previously about the importance of sales in sustaining any business, and an aging in place products or services business is no different. We have to make sales to generate revenue to keep the business going and to compensate the people participating in the solutions. It’s just that this process may not be considered as sales although that’s exactly what it is.
Selling is nothing more than identifying a need that someone has, explaining how we can provide a product or service to address that need, and letting them decide that we are right – that it will meet their need. Then they agree to purchase our product or service, and a sale is made. Then they pay us – at the time they take the product, when it is installed, or when we complete the renovations although a deposit from the client frequently is used to get the work processed and begun.
Many people enter aging in place services – especially home assessments – without a formal sales background, and the idea of making sales seems awkward to them. That’s alright because we are not doing sales in the way that people often think of them.
The norm in the world of sales – whether it is a clerk in a store, a commissioned person selling high ticket items (autos, homes, or major appliances) or commodities (a stockbroker), an insurance agent, or a server in a restaurant, for instance – is for the salesperson to make a sale to achieve a sales quota they have been assigned by the sales manager or their company or to maximize the amount of the sales from the client or customer. This way, they make more money.
Many of us unfamiliar to the world of sales cannot see ourselves as talking people into buying something they may not need, discussing money or financing with them, and having them give us money that they maybe can’t afford to part with just for us to make a sale and make our company happy with us. Forget that. We are not talking about conventional sales. We are not talking about trying to convince someone that they need something that they may not really need just so we can make a sale and income from it. If they really do need something, we are not trying to upsell them or convince them that they need more than is absolutely necessary for their situation.
There is more than one way a sale can happen with someone who wants to remain in their home and age in place. If we stock products in our showroom (or otherwise represent them and can order and get them for the client), the client may visit our showroom and pick out something they want after examining various choices. We might engage them to learn about their needs and then suggest something to them to address those expressed needs. Here the decision belongs to the client, and we are there just to answer their questions and facilitate the sale when they are ready to make a decision – on that visit or after they return a time or two more.
We have no agenda other than helping the client. We might like for them to purchase a higher quality product when it is available or to consider additional options, but we just offer our thoughts and leave the decision to them. Ultimately, it is their home, their lives, and their decision on how to move forward. We should be happy as long as they are doing something positive to safeguard their living space. We might suggest more extensive designs and solutions, but as long as they do something, that’s OK. It’s a beginning.
We are much more interested in learning about and addressing their specific needs or those of others in their home. This can come from home assessments and evaluations or initial phone interviews. We aren’t trying to make it seem that a certain solution or treatment is required when it isn’t. We want our clients to be safe and comfortable in their homes whatever design solution they might select. There usually is a range of options available along with several price points. We aren’t trying to get them to select the most expensive – unless that is what they want, they have the budget for it, and this will not cloud or take away from other work that needs to be done.
Since we don’t have to sell anything to meet any quota or level of performance for any specific client, we have the flexibility of addressing just their needs and nothing more. If they need a simple, rather inexpensive solution, we can do that. If it’s more elaborate with a larger budget, that’s fine as well, depending on our business model. When we focus on addressing the needs of the client, the sales will take care of themselves.