by Dan Rexford

Because Cialdini’s Principles of Ethical Influence are powerful but not widely applied, I want to give you a series of articles with practical, proven techniques you can use. This is my second article in the series.

These aren’t magic bullets but if you apply these techniques your closing ratios will improve.

Calculate what a 10% improvement in closing ratios would mean and you’ll find thinking about these techniques and incorporating them into your sales process will be well worth the time and energy.

And, if you really want to improve, you’ll study these principles and incorporate them into your sales process in multiple ways.  A list of resources appears below.

The Scarcity Principle – the less available something is or looks like it is becoming, the more we want it.

I believe all retirement communities use a sales process which includes sitting down with prospects and/or their adult children.  Some organizations call this “discovery,” “listening,” “uncovering needs,” … you get the idea.

Please pardon a brief aside, a tangent … but, don’t stop reading, this might be the best part of the whole article

Some people put more emphasis on this sitting-down-and-getting-to-know-each-other aspect of their sales process than others. 

Everyone talks about listening, some take it a step farther and talk about active listening, others suggest asking pointed questions, and, of course, there are a host of tactics aimed at building rapport.

But, I think you need a relationship to inspire someone.  And, I use the word “inspire” purposefully.  The forces are against you in senior housing and care; you are going to have to inspire.  (check my profile and read Know What You Are Up Against …)

To build strong relationships and inspire someone, you need to go beyond active listening.  You need to go to empathy.  Here is the expert I recommend:  Dr. Brené Brown.  Watch this video: and visit her website and buy her books:

End of aside … back to Scarcity

If you’ve really honed in on a prospect’s aspirations and needs, you should be able to guide them to the perfect residence.  The one and only residence they should have.

Early in my career, I was fortunate enough to work with a legendary sales person, Eileen.  On day two, I sat in with her and one of her prospects, a lady who lived nearby and her niece.

Eileen, who knew knowing nothing about Dr. Brown but was an instinctive force of nature, was soon sharing laughter and tears with this family.

“I’ve got it — 315 Harborview.”

And, at one point in the conversation, she looked at them and looked at me with a big smile and said excitedly, “I’ve got it – 315 Harborview.”

And, the conversation went on with Eileen explaining why that community would be a smart choice for this family.

Then we showed the family the parts of the community that would be important to them based on what they told us, painting a picture as we went.

And, then we arrived at 315 Harborview, an apartment that reflected the empathy-enhanced conversation — location, features, price, etc. and, of course, the great neighbors who Eileen introduced along the way.

The (pronounced thee) apartment for them

And, they loved it.  Why?  Because it was the apartment home for them.  The one and only.  They wanted to be in the picture.

They placed a deposit that day.

And, you should know that this was the very first one bedroom apartment reserved in the just-opened 122-apartment Harborview building in a retirement community with 850 apartments.

What turned the trick

Was Eileen good?  Undoubtedly.

Was she lucky?  Probably.

But what turned the trick was scarcity.

This was the apartment for them.

And, they weren’t going to risk losing their apartment by delaying.

As is natural:  we will all fight to not lose something far harder than we will fight to gain something.

WARNING:  Scarcity is incredibly powerful.  Please, please use the principle ethically, genuinely.  Make sure the community and the residence are the right choice at the right time for that family if you adopt this technique.  

And, don’t tell any white lies to create false scarcity.  You are highly likely to get caught and anyone who was temporarily fooled will spread the bad word enthusiastically.

Resources:  The Principles of Ethical Influence are the work of Professor Emeritus, Robert Cialdini  I recommend three of his books: The Psychology of Influence, Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive, and The Small Big! Small Changes That Spark Big Influence.

How do you create authentic, genuine scarcity?

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