Improve Your Sales Counselors’ Probabilities for Success With This Simple Practice

Improve Your Sales Counselors’ Probabilities for Success With This Simple Practice

The following is adapted from It’s About Time!

There’s a simple practice you can use to help your senior living sales counselors improve their chances of successfully converting their prospects. That practice? Daily (yes, daily) group planning or brainstorming sessions. Do them first thing in the morning for at least an hour or so, and it won’t be long before they have an enormous impact on your conversion rates.

As simple as this practice is, there are a few things you need to keep in mind to make it as effective as possible. This includes things like creating a dedicated space for the sessions, engaging in adequate preparation, prioritizing prospects appropriately, and working together to come up with actionable steps. 

It may seem daunting if you’ve never done it before, but it really isn’t. I’ll walk you through what I’ve learned after doing this for years with my own sales counselors, so you know exactly what you need to do to start utilizing this technique for your own team.

Set Up a Situation Room

When you’re engaging in daily brainstorming sessions, it’s helpful to have a dedicated space for planning, set up as a situation room or war room. The situation room works best if physically separated from a more relaxed, living room style discovery room. 

The situation room is to the discovery room what a kitchen is to a dining room. Here is where, each day, the sales team works, convenes for daily sales meetings, does collaborative planning, and keeps track of their leads. 

Most importantly, it’s a place to brainstorm, hypothesize, have fun, and be creative. Every element in the situation room is designed to create a sense of urgency to engage with prospects. The room should be stocked with items like grease boards and visual tools that are conducive to sharing ideas, promoting focus, planning, and developing proactive selling initiatives. 

Practice the Tough Questions

A brainstorming, case-study-based approach to the planning process requires both preparation and practice. When trying to build trust with prospects to connect and when asking them tough, awkward questions about their feelings, most sales counselors have their own fears, like fear of intimacy, failure, or rejection. 

Counselors with a high EQ have the courage to be vulnerable enough to ask clarifying questions about a prospect’s fears. Ongoing group practice allows the selling team to explore multiple possible scenarios in a safe environment. 

Group pre-planning helps define engagement targets and build counselor confidence for actual prospect engagements. It warms up and continues to build upon the team’s “selling muscles”—and that can lead to some amazing results. 

Prioritize Which Prospects to Focus On 

In practice, nearly all established senior living communities have too many leads and too little time to properly plan. It’s important, then, for your counselors to carefully consider which prospects to invest their limited time in.

As your counselors discuss who to focus on in the sessions, it’s helpful to keep some practical guidelines in mind. Per Stephen Covey, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, it’s a good idea to start with tending to that which is both “urgent” and “important.” That would include any face-to-face engagements for the near future or a new inquiry. 

Next up are things that are “not urgent” but are “very important” to achieving your goals—for example, next steps and personalized creative follow-up. These are not urgent because the initiative for these behaviors must be internal. No one is expecting or waiting for you to plan or follow up. 

Explore Possibilities for Advancement

During planning sessions, remember that the goal is to collaborate with each other. Your intention should be to discover and discuss ways to connect with the prospect’s story on an emotional level. 

After assessing what stage your chosen prospects are in, explore possibilities for helping them strategically advance to the next level of readiness. What kinds of questions will help them start confronting their ambivalence?

Planning sessions may or may not lead you to solutions. However, by collaborating toward advancing readiness, regardless of the sales result, your team will become more invested in and more motivated to try to help prospects get ready. 

Evaluate Possible Next Steps

Finally, you can use the daily planning sessions to discuss actionable next steps to move your prospects towards readiness. It often helps to be creative in your approach, and brainstorming together is a great way to come up with creative ideas. 

Discuss each possibility as a group and determine whether you think targeting that goal will advance your prospect’s readiness to buy. Since this activity is somewhat subjective, collaborative discussion, brainstorming, and consensus among the team will help. Clarify options and raise relevant questions that need to be addressed as part of the plan. 

Once you have identified a target objective that, if achieved, will advance the sale, consider whether it will be easy or hard for the prospect to agree to it. Rank these choices based on difficulty level. For example, it’s easier to send your prospect flowers and a note than it is to request a home visit. How realistic are your proposed actions? What can you do now, and what will need more time to achieve? Prioritize your options, and record your next steps. 

Daily Sessions Provide Myriad Benefits

As you can see, done properly, daily brainstorming sessions are incredibly impactful ways for your sales counselors to plan effective ways to engage with prospects and help them advance along their journey to becoming buyers. They are one of the most valuable tools available to help your counselors become more confident, more creative, and more effective.

Open, purposeful planning sessions provide focused conversational warm-ups, identify underlying questions, and provide your team with a live daily forum not only to plan advances but also to practice clarifying and awareness-provoking questioning options. Planning helps give senior living sales counselors their own chance to “get ready.” 

For more advice on how to increase your senior living sales conversions, you can find It’s About Time! on Amazon.