As a marketing consultant, one thing I did for my clients was purchase advertising space. So I had newspapers, magazines, directories, radio channels, TV stations and pay-per-click representatives contacting me daily, trying to convince me to advertise with them.
Occasionally, when it was finally clear to a sales rep that I wasn’t going to buy, he’d ask, “What can I do to get you to place an ad with us?”
Now, advertising is expensive. But advertising that works – generating leads that eventually become move-ins – is worth every penny. My clients were definitely going to purchase traffic-building advertisements, but they needed assurance they’d get results.
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
So my reply to the brave sale reps who asked was: “Give my client a free trial. Remove their risk. We’ll quickly see if the venue works; it will generate leads or it won’t. Then we’ll both have empirical evidence to back up your claims.”
I knew it would take courage and conviction from a sales rep to take me up on my proposition and, in 20 years and possibly 100 tries on my part, only two salespeople gave my clients a free trial. You see, when they were asked to demonstrate their belief in their product’s value, they had to seriously ponder (many for the first time) the effectiveness of their medium. Surprisingly, many didn’t track advertisers’ results; nor could they provide case studies or references from satisfied customers.
I was reminded of my show-me-before-I-buy attitude last week when I was speaking with Jeanine Aspen, President, and Jay Reischl, CEO, of DEI Sales, a sales management and training system and a Senior Housing Forum partner.
A Sales System
We got to talk about how a transformational, occupancy-building sales effort requiring a comprehensive system that, over the long-term, is sustainable and operational (that is, culture-changing for the entire community). This type of system would include:
- An occupancy sales management processes with built-in accountability measures
- A forecasting application that makes sense of customer relationship management (CRM) data regardless of which CRM program is used, and indicates actionable next steps
- Making sure Executive Directors/Administrators are actually and confidently in the driver’s seat for the whole sales management process at their community
- The availability of consultants to provide individualized advice
- On-going coaching
- Train-the-coach training
- Customized and targeted skills development
DEI’s belief is that the instilled sales culture motivates salespeople to use routines that ensure they hit targets, identifies behaviors that moves the process toward move-in, and demonstrates results within 45 days – providing a track record of success.
Jay and Jeanine have consistently found that, when senior communities follow a process that uses these elements, they see significant gains in census leading to greater profitability.
Jay and Jeanine have such a high level of confidence in this process that, on occasion, they have even proposed to some potential clients a “share the risks” approach that means a portion of their fees are tied to an increase in community revenues.
DEI has been training companies to maximize their sales revenues since 1979, primarily through highly effective sales processes. Nearly nine years ago they tailored their program to senior living and senior care marketing – with tremendous success.
What does your system look like?