The following guest post was written by Shelle Womble, Home Care Sales coach at corecubed:
It’s common knowledge that the home care industry is an extremely competitive market, and with good reason: our aging population and the corresponding need for care providers ensures company longevity and the potential to not only enjoy a successful business, but to know that your agency is having a direct impact on quality of life for older adults. However, in any industry, effective sales techniques are key to success. To ensure your home care agency stands out from the competition, you need to differentiate your business to those who may have a need for your services – whether referral sources, potential customers, or family members.
If you’re seeking to improve your home care sales experience (and results), keep this simple acronym in mind:
L – Listen.
Too often, we get used to selling and not listening for the needs of our potential customers. When an inquiry calls, ask her, “What made you contact us today?” And use active listening techniques—paying careful attention to exactly what the caller is saying, taking notes of the key points you hear, and repeating back what you’re hearing to ensure you fully understand the caller’s situation.
Listen for how the caller is feeling, what her biggest issue might be, what worries her the most about her current situation, etc. Then listen for other important information—where she lives, what her support network is like, what health issues she has, what financial support she has in place, what mobility and other health issues she has, etc. When it comes to referral sources, also ask a simple question such as, “What is the biggest challenge for your clients/patients/customers?” or “What is the question you get asked the most?” Then, follow through with active listening.
E – Echo.
For consumers, echo what you hear them saying. Begin with echoing back emotions and validating those sentiments. Then relay the facts you heard them say. For example, “So let me check whether I heard you correctly… ” For referrers, do likewise: “What I’m hearing you say is that your customers are worried that they are unable to retain information when they meet with you. Is that right?” Or, “I hear you saying that your customers don’t know how home care services are paid for. Is that correct?” This echoing helps ensure that you and your inquirers are on the same page and can move forward with the right set of information.
G – Guide.
Guide consumers to the services that are right for them based on the information they have given you. For instance, if a potential client says her elderly mother cannot drive and has been feeling lonely, guide the caller toward your companionship and transportation services.
For referrers, the guidance approach is a bit different. Whereas consumers are approaching your agency looking for solutions, referrers are being approached by your agency. Your sales team should have ideas about how you might work with them already. Perhaps there are questions they frequently get asked by their clients and they need to be able to give clients a written list to take home with them. Offer to provide that written flyer for the referral source. Guide them to the quality measures used by the home care industry, such as Home Care Pulse, so that they understand how to assess a quality provider. Most importantly, continue to advance and nurture the relationship to include ongoing discussions and a plan to work together. Your goal here should be to guide the referral source to a clear solution that prominently includes your agency in a way that will be mutually beneficial.
Oftentimes, home care agency owners and operators only consider how their marketing materials and tactics can set their businesses apart from the competition. But your sales techniques are an essential part of the differentiation process as well. Make sure your sales team and anyone who answers inquiry calls are well trained in these techniques in order to make sure you have a leg up on your competitors.
Shelle Womble | Home Care Sales Coach at corecubed
Shelle Womble is a home care sales coach for corecubed, a home care sales, and marketing consulting firm serving the in-home care industry. With over 25 years of multi-state experience in home care, Shelle has held a variety of sales management positions, from District Regional Manager of a single unit agency to Director of Operations/General Manager for 50 branch locations in 11 states for a large home care franchise, and as National Sales Director. As corecubed‘s home care sales expert, Shelle provides online and in-person professional sales training, strategy, and consulting services to home care agencies across the country. To learn more about corecubed‘s aging care marketing and sales services, call 800-370-6580 or visit us at www.corecubed.com.