The Outreach Effort in Senior Housing is Quite Unique

May 28, 2013 || POSTED BY Don Fox || Industry News

The Outreach Effort in Senior Housing is Quite Unique in the World of Sales

by Jeff Miller


In fact we recognize that senior housing has a ‘two-part’ sales process.   That means that not only are there data points to measure and manage activity towards moving in potential new residents, BUT there are also data points that direct sales activity towards generating referrals.   Two data points that we incorporate into the outreach side of the sales report are:

Pending referral source meetings.   In order to understand how important this data point is, we’ll start with the very definition of ‘sales’.  “Sales is the process of learning what the prospect (in this care – referral source) does, what their business or mission really is, how they are executing it, why they are doing it that way, who they are doing it with, where and when they perform this function, and ONLY THEN, after we know critical pieces of  information about our potential referral source, are we able to determine if we can help them perform their job or manage their mission ‘better’.  Only if we can improve on their status quo, what they are already doing, do we have a realistic chance of impacting their referral practices.

With that understanding, selling to referral sources requires a one-on-one interaction. Therefore, we say that all sales starts with an appointment.   A date and time, scheduled meeting to execute the sales conversation.  This is the first data point.

Executed referral source meetings.    This is the second data point, and very important to understand.  The definition of ‘executed’ in this context is that the meeting resulted in a referral, a next step towards getting a referral, or a reference to other individuals who are likely good candidates for the sales person to meet to discuss such a relationship.

Now, moving past reporting let’s talk about managing the outreach sales effort.  The DEI manager’s essential handbook, “Rules of the Road for the Sales Team”, has two rules that are specifically applicable to the outreach effort and should offer you some best practices in managing your outreach effort.

Calendars are 80% scheduled at least two and a half weeks ahead – all the time.  From our experience we know that the way a salesperson spends their time is directly related to their level of sales. We would go so far as to say that if salespeople all over the world changed the way they spent their time, they would immediately start to make more sales.  

Make a commitment to strategic calendar management.  Simply put, spend time on activities that support sales.   It seems so obvious.  But my experience tells me that many salespeople spend time on useless activities, or they spend time with people who keep them busy.

What are the right activities?  Very few.  They consist of ‘finding and qualifying referral sources’, ‘ securing initial appointments with referral sources AND prospective residents’, completing first appointments, managing tours, and executing subsequent follow-through appointments’.

Now why do we suggest that these activities are scheduled 2 ½ weeks in advance?   Because, there is such a thing as “stuff”.   STUFF is anything your team member does that doesn’t actually start any relationship, or move any sales opportunity forwards.  A good manager knows that eliminating stuff entirely is impossible.  But an effective sales manager also knows that it is possible to minimize the remarkable capacity of STUFF to expand and fill the available slots in the selling day.

This is so important that next month we will be dedicating an entire issue of the newsletter to THE WAR ON STUFF.  You won’t want to miss that.

But back to outreach.  Get your outreach team to schedule themselves at least two weeks out.

Produce evidence that you planned your meetings. You may be familiar with the idea of call planning.   But you might never have asked a salesperson to produce evidence that they did, in fact, do some call planning or that they have already planned an imminent meeting.  Rather, managers tend to ask this question, “How did the meeting go?”.  Most answers are too painful to repeat.

Here are two different questions:

  • Show me the questions you wrote down – in advance – for that particular meeting?
  • What are your planned opening questions for that meeting this afternoon?

As you move your marketing outreach team to a more strategic sales conversation, it will be critical that they have planned what issues to bring up before going into these meetings.   It will often make the difference between success and failure.


rules of the roadClick here to receive your complimentary e-copy of “Rules of the Road”