Nothing happens in business until a sale is made, but focusing solely or primarily on making the sale can be detrimental to the progress of the business -especially when aging in place solutions are involved. Aging in place solutions are unlike a typical service that is sold to a consumer. Here, there is no sales quota to achieve and no pressure to make the sale.
True, sales must be made in order to keep the business afloat, but there is making the sale with an aging in place client is secondary to serving their needs. When we explain what we can provide, show them how we can serve their needs, and allow them to understand how we can help them, they will want to accept our proposal. Then the sale will happen – not because we employed any great sales techniques but because we presented a solution that made sense to them that they wanted to have. The sale is just the agreement for us to go ahead and provide for them what we recommended. It is their concurrence.
Traditional selling techniques are useful in working with an aging in place client, but we shouldn’t put any pressure on ourselves to make any particular sale. We are meeting with each client to explore how we can help them and determine if what we offer and what we are comfortable in providing is going to help their current situation. When it does, the sale is essentially made.
We begin our discussion with our client by telephone before even agreeing to meet with them at their home by exploring what they would like done – generally or in specifics – and discussing budgetary parameters to learn if this is a job that makes sense for both of us. In other words, is this a good fit? Is this someone we can help with what we provide? Is this a place we can make a difference? Is this a job that we can do that aligns with our business model?
We won’t agree to meet with every person who contacts us because some jobs are going to be outside our general scope of performance – too small to make economic sense for us, too large for us to be effective, or something that we don’t typically provide or focus on doing. Those jobs we potentially can refer to colleagues with whom we work for them to handle. Regardless, we want to be helpful to them so if we can’t handle the job or don’t want to undertake it because it is not a good fit for our expertise, we will suggest other directions for them.
People are going to contact us through a variety of sources. Sometimes, they will see a print ad that we have placed or find us online through a search, our website, online ad, or social media. Then, it’s up to us to determine what they want us to do that they believe we can provide for them based on what they think we can do for them. Here, much of the heavy lifting is already done because they are seeking us to help them in a way that they already believe that we can.
Sometimes, people will be referred to us by a friend, relative, or health care or related professional such as an occupational therapist, physical therapist, case manager, rehabilitation specialist, gerontologist, discharge planner, or social worker – people with whom we have a previous relationship or those who found us through a mutual contact. Again, much of the selling, so to speak, will have been done before the initial conversation because of what the referring friend or professional would have told them about us. Only when we are just one of several names they have been furnished will we need to begin as though no foundation has been established.
Once we agree to meet with the client in their home, much of what we generally regard as selling will already have occurred. We won’t know precisely what condition their home is in, what issues we may need to address, or what solution we are going to recommend until we meet with them and examine their living space and explore their needs in more detail. Also, we won’t know the exact dollar amount of the proposal we are going to give them. However, we will already have asked them several questions about their needs and abilities and both of us will already have decided that we can help them before agreeing to meet with us and inviting us into them home.
Then it’s just a matter of determining what they need. In some cases, priorities will need to be established to comply with budgetary constraints – addressing the most pressing needs first. However, it’s not that we have to make a sale or that our business will fail if we don’t complete the transaction. We simply discuss how we can help them and they decide that indeed we can do so and that they want us to proceed. Then, the sale is made.