Yep, I’ve made the switch. I’m a cowboy now. I have the boots, live in Colorado and, here goes… bought me a new Ford F-150. Call me anytime and I’ll tell you all about it. I mean, every middle-age man who lives in the city needs a truck, right?
It was a stellar first impression when I walked toward my new truck to drive away from the dealership. The truck was ahead of me on the lot, with the front of the truck cresting over the curvature of the earth. Since I am now a super cool cowboy, I opened the door to climb on up into the cab of my new beauty, only to discover that I was in the backseat.
I’m a poser. Only the far reaches of the galaxy would be farther than I am from being a cowboy. Perhaps you’d like to try your hand at being a cowboy. Here’s what you need to have: a horse, a hat, a truck, boots, some cows and lots of dirt.
I’ve talked to hundreds of seniors housing folks who consider themselves to be an expert in selling to seniors. Here’s what they say: “I love sweet old people,” “I want them to fall in love with my community,” “I always try to create a sense of urgency to get people to move.”
Posers. Fakers. Wannabes.
As an industry, we are only reaching about 8% of seniors age 80%+. What this means, in non-cowboy jargon, is that we are good at trying to impress and coerce seniors, which pushes them further away from what they might benefit from the most.
If you want to be authentic in selling to seniors, master these habits:
- Become an expert. Read books, spend a ton of time with seniors in conversation attend seminars and training, role play with colleagues, find a mentor. You won’t get better just by showing up.
- Slow down. Listen more and talk less. Research tells us that when people hear themselves talk they are able to ignite their own self-motivation to change.
- Provide them with easy to understand information. Hold on to your over-the-top marketing collateral until they ask for it, and drop the romance language about how great your community is. It’s probably just like the one down the street.
- You’ve likely heard that 93% of communication is nonverbal, 55% is face expressions, posture, etc. and 38% is in the tone of our voice. What I teach sales professionals to speak “lower and slower.”
- Develop your Emotional Intelligence, which is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathically.
Cowboy or not, just be authentic, curious and patient. You are wanted and needed as one to make a huge difference in the lives of seniors. Give it your all.