It’s almost the end of June, and the year is already half over! For sales managers, that means it’s time to start preparing for mid-year reviews with the sales people you manage. Coming off of the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry is beginning to see increases in inquiries into senior living communities, communities opening their doors to in-person tours, sales people being able to make outreach visits, and hold events in the communities for prospects and referral sources, all positive signs of a return to normalcy compared to a year ago. Make a plan to review with your sales people their goals and sales performance year-to-date, opportunities for improvement, and revise goals for the second half of the year.
Setting and reviewing activity and performance goals is a top priority for the midyear review. Even though you probably are reviewing performance metrics with your sales people on a weekly or monthly basis, being able to take a longer six-month view has the advantage of identifying trends: have they been consistently underperforming, performing at the goal level, or overperforming? Suggested goals to have established and to review are:
- Number of new leads
- Number of outbound inquiry calls made
- Number of professional referrals received
- Number of events held and attendance
- Number of professional outreach appointments
- Number of tours
- Number of deposits received
- Number of move-ins
- Number on waitlist (if the community is at 100% occupancy, or if a particular unit type is fully leased)
- Inquiry-to-Tour Ratio
- Tour-to-Deposit Ratio
- Tour-to-Waitlist Ratio
- Tour-to-Move-In Ratio
- Deposit-to-Move-In Ratio
Opportunities for Improvement
If the sales person has been underperforming, then there is an opportunity to look for underlying issues causing them to fall short. Quantitatively, looking at their conversion ratios in your senior living CRM like lead-to-prospect, inquiry-to-tour, and tour-to-deposit is a good place to start the detective work. Are their ratios good but their average monthly move-ins low? Then look at the number of qualified leads entering the sales pipeline. Is the number of qualified leads satisfactory but they are dropping off at one or more points in the sales cycle? Then look for opportunities to coach their skills up to a level that will yield improved results. Qualitatively, take a close look at how they handle inquiries by reviewing recorded phone and video calls, and text messages and emails sent. Are they following the sales system, asking open-ended questions, and establishing next action steps? Provide the sales person with constructive feedback on areas of improvement.
A sales person who is consistently overperforming their goals is reason to consider revising goals upward. As discussed in the earlier blog, “Praising Good Performance – A Little Goes a Long Way”, successful sales professionals are motivated by many factors including compensation and incentives, greater opportunities, competition, and the visibility of their success. Raising the bar on the goals they are outperforming can be motivating: it feeds their needs for greater opportunities and competition. Discuss raising goals with them in a positive way and, if possible, incentivize them for achieving higher levels of performance.
There will be circumstances when a sales person underperforming their goals is valid. For example, if the community is fully leased, then deposit and move-in metrics can be adjusted accordingly. Another example is circumstances beyond the control of the sales person, such as what we just experienced with COVID-19 where tours and move-ins were hindered. Finally, new sales people may have their goals set to a lower level in their first month or two as they learn the ropes of the position.
If there was ever six months to look forward to for sales professionals and sales managers in the senior living industry, it’s the second half of 2021. As vaccination numbers increase, active cases decline, and senior living communities reopen for public visits, the promise of increased sales and building census is very favorable. Plan now to review with your sales people next month their goals and sales performance year-to-date, opportunities for improvement, and revise goals for the second half of the year.