My husband and I are helping my daughter and her fiancé renovate their old schoolhouse as a pre-wedding present. I assure you we are not home makeover experts, and I must admit it can be overwhelming trying to prioritize the projects, supplies and family helpers--not to mention just trying to figure out how to do tasks, such as stripping floors, which we’re not familiar with. Sometimes it is very easy to get into a slump and avoid doing the things we know need to be done. This “slump” is very similar to what senior care and marketing reps often experience during the summer months.
There are various highs and lows, along with continuous pressure to reach occupancy and census goals. Even though it is summer, there is no viable reason to procrastinate or take a laid back and lazy approach to your marketing and sales efforts. You should be serious about managing the ebb and flow of census and occupancy goals of your team.
9 Beneficial Coaching Conversations
- Pursue. If you do nothing else, you should constantly be looking for new referrals or lead opportunities each and every day. From experienced reps, don’t settle for the excuse, “everyone knows we’re here.” People are constantly being faced with the new reality they need help, so don’t make the assumption they know you exist or are the one they should choose. Summer is a fun time to have mini contests with a focus on new referral sources, leads, returning customers etc.
- Cultivate. Professionals in every industry require continual skill development. Marketing and sales is no exception. Be sure to take the time to develop and refine both your skills and those of your reps. Try things such as having a mini summer retreat, spending ½ a day in an informal setting and focusing on a few key areas that you know need refined will help you and your reps to develop and fine tune skills tremendously. Then, recommend books (especially from outside the industry) to read, and create an action plan out of the new skills or information gleaned. Attend conferences. Watch webinars. Listen to CDs in your car. Don’t rely on your company to develop you, invest in yourself. A couple of the areas I coach reps on most frequently:
- The art of questioning: practice developing and asking probing questions that uncover the true needs and barriers.
- The art of listening: people who listen more, learn more. The more you learn, the more effectively you can position your service as the one of choice.
- Sales call ride-a-longs, recording telephone sales conversations, and sitting in on sales meetings serve as opportunities to observe and refine important skills.
- The art of effective networking. This means networking in areas where your key referral sources and leads are; both on the internet and in person. Showing up does not mean effective networking is taking place.
- Plan. Spontaneous marketing isn’t effective. Sales calls without planning aren’t productive. Create a 30-day action plan, execute and hold people accountable. Planning is intentional and pro-active, both of which set the stage for success.
- Set goals. People who set stretch goals tend to achieve the most. Are your goals challenging and motivating? Do you set your own goals or do you simply take what’s given to you from your supervisor?
- Focus on your attitude. One of the biggest barriers to executing our plan and achieving our goals successfully is our attitude. Aim to identify the barriers stopping you from achieving your marketing and sales goals, because more than likely, they are either outside your control and you don’t need to spend your time and energy on them, or they are excuses for hiding a weakness in your skill set. Be vulnerable and honest with yourself—what’s really holding you back?
By investing some time in watching HGTV combined with internet researching and talking with the clerk at the store, and most of all, an attitude adjustment, the old schoolhouse floors turned out pretty amazing if I must say so myself. Just think, if you focused on improving or altering just one of these 9 tips during the summer, what would your occupancy and census goals look like?
What have you found to be your best strategy for overcoming the summer slump?