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Sales Tip of the Month: Asking the Hard Questions

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

In last month’s blog titled “More Than Just Another “Salesperson””, we touched on asking the prospective resident and their loved ones questions to find out the specific need that prompted them to pick up the phone or come in for a tour. This month, we’ll take a closer look at asking those questions that may feel too personal or uncomfortable, but are necessary to paint a complete picture of why the individual is considering the move to senior housing. 

Why should we ask questions that may feel pushy or uncomfortable? Two reasons: First, they help us to build the relationship with the prospect; tactfully asking the tough questions and having thoughtful responses to the prospect’s answers establishes a connection on a deeper level. Second, we uncover the prospect’s needs, helping to move them further along in the senior living sales cycle, and helps you to close a sale and increase occupancy.

Here are some of the most challenging questions to ask and the benefits of asking them:

How Do You Feel About Moving to Senior Living?

Asking a prospective resident “How do you feel about moving to senior living?” is an opportunity to dispel any preconceived idea they may have about moving to your community. It’s most likely that they’re going to respond with an objection like:

  1. I don’t want to.

  2. I’m not ready right now.

  3. I don’t want to leave my home.

  4. I don’t want to live with old people.

  5. I don’t want to move to a nursing home.

However, each of these objections sets you as a sales counselor up to dig deeper and find out why they even inquired about your community. Let them know you understand, and that so many of your happy residents had similar concerns at first. Then ask them, “So why are you considering a move?” and you’ll begin to get to their needs. 

What Is Your Greatest Concern?

“What’s your greatest concern?” when asked appropriately as an open-ended question with a pause for the person to answer, really taps into the emotion of a move to senior living. Some sales counselors shy away from that because it can get into an uncomfortable area of emotions. Don’t be afraid to go there with them; their sharing their emotions with you about moving to senior living is a sign that you are building their trust in you as an advisor in their path toward a decision to move. 

(To An Adult Child of An Older Adult:) Is Your Parent Aware You’re Looking?

A grown adult child of an older adult may have many conflicting thoughts and feelings about shopping for senior living, it may feel like they’re going behind their parent’s back. This is an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with them. Ask them, “Is your parent aware you’re looking?” If they answer no, you can help to dispel those guilty feelings by assuring them that they’re doing the right thing. Follow it up with “How do you think your parent will react when they find out you’re researching senior living?” Assure them that this is a big life change, that many older adults initially reject the idea of moving, but that you are there to help. 

The ability to ask the hard questions is a sign of confidence in your abilities as a sales counselor. Don’t be afraid to ask the personal or uncomfortable questions. Considering a move to senior living is both emotional (for the older adult) and logical (for the adult children), so being prepared to ask – and being comfortable with asking – the hard questions is crucial to sales success in senior living. The hard questions are necessary to paint a complete picture of why the individual is considering the move to senior housing, identify their needs, and move them closer to eventually becoming a resident in your community.

These are just a few examples of the hard questions, but there are many others. Have a discussion with your leadership team about which ones are being asked and the results they get in moving the relationship with the prospect forward toward an eventual move-in.


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