Yes, PBS’s hit Downton Abbey holds lessons for those selling to the 50+ market of baby boomers and seniors. So while Sunday evenings in front of the fire enjoying the upstairs/downstairs drama may appear to be leisure, it’s really sales training!
1. Formalities aren’t old-fashioned.
While it may seem quaint to hear all the “Misters” and “Missus” we should remember that many elders consider it rude to be called by their first name by someone they have just met, particularly in a business situation. They are contemplating a tremendous change in their life, one with a significant price tag to boot. Perhaps they are moving from a home where they raised their family, a home filled with memories made over decades.
Remember to give seniors the respect they deserve and call them Mr./Mrs. until they give you permission to do otherwise.
2. Dress for the occasion.
OK, I confess one of the things I love most about Downton Abbey is the clothes. You have to admit they never get it wrong. The men and the women know that what they wear demonstrates they take whatever the situation is seriously, respecting the host’s and hostess’s wishes for the type of event whether it is a formal dinner or a rousing game of cricket.
Creating Results once mystery shopped a community frustrated by slow sales with million dollar town homes. The sales director, it turned out, frequently came to work in $5 tank tops and jeans. Not the right brand message at all.
So remember when you are dressing for another day in the office or going to a prospect’s home for an appointment to dress to impress and instill confidence that you are a professional dedicated to helping them make a sound senior living decision.
Obviously the occupants of the upstairs are better off financially but they do express appreciation and respect for the expertise and dedication of Downton’s downstairs staff.
Lords and Ladies know they can’t do it alone and neither can we. When we tour communities and see staff and residents greet one another with smiles and pleasantries it tells us that things are working well. That it is an environment where people enjoy one another regardless of their role in the community. Whether they are the Assistant Director, a Resident or a Nursing Aide, all work together to make the community stronger, and senior prospects will respond to that tone of respect.
4. Don’t forget your sense of humor and open mind.
Older adults take joy in discovery and know laughs are to be found at all times and in all places — even in a muddy pigsty (should that have been a spoiler alert?).
Keeping an open mind is required both upstairs and downstairs. Don’t presume visitors in your Welcome Center who are not in their Sunday best can’t afford your community–you might be very pleasantly surprised.
When the staff lines up along the stately drive to the side (and yes, slightly behind) of the Crawley extended family it is a very long line, indeed. It takes a large team to make Downton shine.
It takes a large and diverse team to build, market, sell and service the senior living market. Each of us has our own specialty but by working together we create beautiful and engaging communities that people are delighted to call home.
Now let’s hear from you! What lessons have you learned about selling to seniors from Downton Abbey? Do share.