Recapping is an essential sales tool no matter what product or service you’re selling. Recapping is simply the act of stating back to the prospect a brief summary of what you learned from them.
Recapping is a great technique for accomplishing several important functions in the senior living sales process: it builds rapport with your prospect, it establishes the prospect’s commonality with others in the same situation as them, and it provides an opportunity to set a next step in the journey.
Remember back to our earlier blog on active listening, where we talked about that important and essential skill? Active listening is among the most useful and effective ways you can build rapport with not just prospects but with anyone in life. The three parts of active listening are comprehension, retention, and responding. How does recapping fit in with active listening?
- Recapping is a sign of comprehension. Mentally summarizing what the prospect has said to you and verbally repeating the summary back is an acknowledgement to yourself that you understood what the prospect told you.
- Recapping aids in retention of information. If you think about singers and actors, they don’t learn their parts solely by quietly reading the lyrics or the script. The retention comes from the verbal repetition. A 2015 University of Montreal study found that “…repeating aloud was good for memory, (and) that if it is done in a context of communication, the effect is greater in terms of information recall.”
- Recapping is the message you deliver when responding. It lets the prospect know you heard them. It’s an acknowledgement that you were listening to them, and that what they said was valid and of importance to you.
Establishing commonality, or letting your prospect know that they have common ground with some of the residents in your community, helps to dispel any fears or concerns they may have about being a “special case.” The sales skill that goes hand in hand with establishing commonality is disarming, in which you acknowledge the fear or concern and then give them the opportunity to talk through it with you. Then you can establish commonality. For example, if the prospect tells you they don’t think that senior living is a good option for them because they have a dog, you can dispel their concern with a recap like: “I understand (or I hear what you’re saying). It sounds like it’s important that you’re able to bring your dog with you. We are a pet-friendly community, and several of our residents also have small dogs.”
Setting a Next Step
Up to this point, you’ve done a great job of building rapport with the prospect through active listening, and you’ve worked to establish some commonality between them and your residents. It would be so easy to end the conversation the easy way with the very common but weak close, “If you have any questions, give me a call!” The only thing that would accomplish is to give control of the sales process over to the prospect. Instead, use recapping as a way to set a next step. For example, if the prospect indicated that last winter was really hard on them and it left them feeling isolated, recap that information back to them:
“It sounds to me like this past winter was hard on you and your husband; you weren’t able to get out to the store for a week during that snowstorm, and it got pretty cold inside when the power went out.”
Then set a next step in the sales process:
“We have some suites available that you could take occupancy of before this winter. Does Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon work better for you to come in to see them?”
Recapping is a very useful and valuable sales tool that is also very easy to use. It builds rapport with your prospect, it establishes the prospect’s commonality with others in the same situation as them, and it provides an opportunity to set a next step in the journey. With practice, recapping can help you achieve your sales goals and grow occupancy in your community!