Here is Part II of the 10 Commandments for Selling to Seniors. Part I appeared on December 19.
Commandment 5 : Don't ignore the senior by speaking only to the adult child. During tours of retirement communities, I've seen marketing directors speak about 80% to the daughter or son and only about 20% to the elder. "I kept trying to get her to include my dad in the conversation, but she didn't get it," said one daughter. Ignoring the senior is rude to both customers.
Commandment 6: Don't fear the "pregnant pause." That's the lull in the conversation when we're tempted to feel nervous, wondering if we're are getting anywhere. It's easy to fill in the
silence with our words. Don't. Often that silence will bring out information that never would have surfaced otherwise. Pregnant pauses often come at the end of the meeting or when you're ready to wrap up. Your client may be relaxed, trusting that you have their best interests in mind. Suddenly they give you some tidbit that may be the key to their future.
Commandment 7: Do realize that a senior often makes decisions over time and needs to mull most decisions over and over. A senior processes information more slowly and needs time to think and rethink. Whether it's home care or assisted living or even a new walker, rarely is a decision made automatically. An exception: in an emergency, often the adult child decides on the course quickly.
Commandment 8: Understand the power of the printed word. Follow up letters after appointments can clarify information that was presented orally. Brochures can bring to mind key points and pricing that may have been missed in the oral presentation.
Commandment 9: Don't try to squeeze a senior into a mold that doesn't fit. Sometimes the service or community you represent will not work for a senior and their family. It's too expensive, or too fancy, too small or too large. The best thing you can do is to encourage the family to take another route, working on their own or with a professional such as a Geriatric Care Manager (Aging Life Care Expert) or a Senior Referral Agency (Association of Senior Referral Professional in Washington) such as Silver Age Housing & Care Referrals.
Commandment 10: Be persistent but not pushy. Focusing on the relationship, rather than the sale, will help.
Whether you are an adult child or a senior care professional, can you offer additional tips to help the sales process to seniors and their families?