Prospect-Centered Selling

I. Overview

What if you could extend and enhance the lives of hundreds of thousands of senior adults by inspiring them to leave homes that no longer fit their lifestyle needs? Given the incredible benefits offered, as well as very high Resident satisfaction, senior housing should sell itself! But strong emotional resistance has held market penetration to less than 10% of qualified seniors. The Transactional selling style, borrowed from residential real estate and used by most senior housing providers, often produces a sufficient number of qualified inquiries and initial visits. However, this style is weak in converting qualified inquires or Prospects into move-ins resulting in lower occupancies and higher acuity Residents. Failure to convert Prospects (even after an face-to-face visit) generates an abundance of so-called “cold leads” along with ongoing demands from sales teams for “more leads.”

One On One employs a Prospect-Centered Sales style that consistently produces higher conversion rates. This selling style is Prospect- rather than product-centered and is characterized by spending more quality time building relationships, ongoing planning and purposeful initiatives designed to inspire change. This is a collaborative process that seeks extensive Discovery especially as to: (i) important life stories; and (ii) exposing problems, difficulties and dissatisfaction in the Prospect’s current living situation. Instead of trying to convince or persuade, we strive to evoke stories about significant events in the Prospect’s life experience. Prospect Stories as well as their wandering and repeated conversations often disclose important themes and provide meaningful clues about what they value, what motivates them and what they fear. Listening to these conversations and probing for detail builds trust and motivates the sales team. Use of Motivational Interviewing techniques to highlight discrepancies between Prospect values and their current living situation promotes self-persuasion.

II. The primary result we want to achieve with our sales team is to:

Maximize occupancies and revenues utilizing sales strategies that are Prospect Centered &
Relationship Based.
The primary measures we use to track our progress:

Sales Conversion Ratios. There are two relevant ratios:

a. The percentage of qualified inquiries who we are able to get face-to-face with
either at our community or in their homes. This is the Inquiry to Visit Ratio.

b. The percentage of move-ins from qualified prospects that we have been face-toface
with at least one time. This is the Visit to Close Ratio.


2. Time in the “Selling Zone”: How much time is invested in “sales” activity directly impacts conversion ratios especially the Visit to Close Ratio. Relevant Sales activity includes only the time spent face-to-face; voice-to-voice; planning for meaningful advances; and creative, personalized follow up. Time in the Selling Zone does not include time spent on marketing, community outreach, public relations, administrative or reporting, dealing with resident issues, move in paperwork or coordination after receipt of a deposit.

3. Qualitative value of Prospect Life Stories and Motivators. Progress with any Prospect can also be measured qualitatively based on a review of the Prospect’s Life Story as well as their Motivators as indicated by the Problems, Difficulties and Dissatisfactions they face in their current living situation.

Our Selling Team:
We prefer to have our Executive Director lead the on-site sales effort. The total number and roles of the sales team will vary depending on sales goals and the anticipated number of hours in the Selling Zone needed to achieve the goals. At a minimum (in a typical 100 unit IL/AL community) we will have two Sales Counselor – at least one of which will be on-site 7 days a week.

Our Vital Behaviors
A vital behavior is a high-leverage action that will directly lead to the results we desire. Vital behaviors should also meet the following criteria:

a. Each one should be a behavior and not a result.

b. Each behavior should be recognizable and repeatable.
Based on the criteria above, here are the few vital behaviors that will have the
greatest impact our desired results.

1. Maximize Time In the Selling Zone. Target 25 to 30 hours in the Selling Zone for
each IL or AL move in of which roughly 1/2 is invested in Planning and Creative Follow

2. Ask more and better questions, especially related to: (i) the Prospect’s personal life
story (Legacy);and (ii) Problems, difficulties, and dissatisfactions that they experience
in their current living situation.

3. Invest more time planning meaningful and strategic Prospect Advances using a
Prospect Case Study process.

These Vital Behavior are supported by research and studies.

Use of Prospect Case Study process is supported with a lot of research including James Cathcart, Relationship Selling; Neil Rackham, SPIN Selling; J. Conrad Levinson, Guerilla Selling, and Ron Willingham, Integrity Selling. Regarding our use of Strategic Planning for Prospect Advances, See Prochaska/Norcros /DiClemente, Changing for Good. Use of Legacy based questioning is supported by David Solie, How to Say It to Seniors. Use of Problem and Implication questions to help overcome denial is supported by Neil Rackham, SPIN Selling and by Miller & Rollnick , Motivational Interviewing. For nearly 20 years, One On One has conducted positive deviance studies at all properties owned by affiliates as well as at several hundred senior housing consulting sites. We have also sponsored collaborating research conducted by Margaret Wylde of ProMatura.

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