Sales success for you and your associates with Boomers and older adults depends more on personal rapport than anything else. Here are seven tips for your regular contacts with your prospects and residents.
- Ask questions about the older person before you ask about the person as a customer or prospect. Older adults want relationships not transactions. Show them from the very beginning that you are interested in a relationship by asking about them before you get into questions about their retirement housing situation. “Tell me a little about yourself” is a good opening question for those you have had no significant prior contact with. Then, just follow-up what he/she tells you.
- Use simple, clear language. It’s easy to slip into technical and industry jargon if you aren’t careful. Create normal conversations. Don’t turn the meeting into a question and answer session. Talk to the person as you would an interesting person who you just met. Everyone likes a good conversation.
- Be positive and supportive. Reflect a positive view of you and your ability to help them. No matter what their situation, they want to deal with someone who is confident in their ability to help. One way is to create normal conversations. Don’t turn the meeting into a question and answer session. Talk to the person as you would an interesting person who you just met. Use supportive verbal expressions to let the person know you are listening and care about is being said. Use phrases like, “that’s interesting,” “tell me more about that,” or “yes” signal that you are involved in their story.
- Use open-ended questions. Your objective is to get your prospects to talk about themselves for three reasons: to find out about them, to make them comfortable, and feel good about you. Questions that call for a yes/no or other specific response won’t do that. So, you need to ask questions like, “How did you come to live in this area?” rather than “how long have you lived around here?” You can always follow-up an answer with “tell me more about that” in order to stimulate additional conversation.
- Listen, really listen. Give the person your undivided attention. You will learn from what they say, how they say it, their body language and more. You will subconsciously give off signals that you are listening intently and therefore are truly interested in what the person says.
- Empathize to create empathy. An emotionally valuable relationship calls for empathy from both parties. If you want the person to empathize with you, you must first honestly empathize with him or her. Here’s how to do that: relax before the interview; tell yourself you will enjoy it; get physically comfortable and open yourself to the person. Try to experience what the person is experiencing. Soon you will be on the same wave length and the person will subconsciously pick up your sincerity.
- Watch your face and your body language. Older people will often get more information from your facial expressions than from your words. Learn to look sincere as well as sound sincere. Try practicing with a mirror as you use supportive verbal expressions or otherwise express interest or encouragement. Your body as well as your face should reflect sincere interest. Sit up straight. Make eye contact. Lean forward to show increased interest. Tighten your torso and arms and legs to demonstrate attention.