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The independent senior living sales journey can take anywhere from 18-36 months. An average of 25 touches are needed from the time prospects makes their first inquiry to the day they move in.

As is the case with any sales journey, you can imagine that within those various touches, there will be some resistance from the prospect. After all, you’re trying to convince seniors to move from homes they’ve lived in for at least 30 years. In many cases, they have a lot of “stuff” and don’t think they’re ready to move to a senior living community.

In this post, you’ll learn some of the top objections salespeople face during the senior living sales journey and ways in which they can be overcome.

“I’m too young. I don’t want to be surrounded by old people.”

Many of your prospects are in what’s called the denial phase. They don’t think they are old enough to live in a retirement community, nor do they want to be surrounded by “old people.” It’s likely many of them still think of senior living communities as nursing homes, not active independent living neighborhoods. So how can you change their thinking and get them closer to consideration?

  • Be empathetic. Build trust and frame your interactions in such a way that they know you are helping them make a decision that will benefit them.
  • Explore the expected outcomes of staying home versus moving to a community.
  • Evoke life stories and listen for themes and values to compare to current living situation.
  • Continue to ask questions. Discovery is key to understanding your prospect and finding the hot button that will influence him or her to make this change.

“My house is too big. How am I going to fit all of my belongings into this small space?”

You’ve heard this one before, too, right? It’s not easy to motivate your prospects to see that it’s cathartic to get rid of all the memories they’ve created during the last 30+ years of living in their homes.

It brings to mind the popular Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, in which Kondo encourages people to get rid of anything that doesn’t “bring them joy.” I know for me, many of the things in my home bring me joy. I can’t imagine how much more difficult it is for a senior who has lived in his or her home for much longer than I’ve lived in mine.

So, while bringing in experts to speak about downsizing can be helpful, what about offering a more tangible solution? Do you have connections with any moving companies or businesses that specialize in simplifying the moving process for older adults? It’s not uncommon for some of our clients to offer to go to their prospects’ homes and help with some of the clean out. That might be a little more than what you’re willing to handle, but sometimes even the offer itself can be motivating to the prospect.

“Mom needs assisted living or maybe independent living with assistance.”

Sherpa CRM produced this great video (below) that hammers home the point about the best way for discovering what your prospect’s needs are.

Bottom line: Don’t talk around the prospects and through their children. The adult children aren’t the ones who are moving in, so the conversation should be directly with the prospect if possible.

“I don’t think I’m going to fit in at this place. Is there anyone like me here?”

Just like when we were in elementary school, high school or even in our social circles now, we want to find people that we can get along with. That doesn’t change as we get older. Prospects can be hesitant to move since they don’t know if they will fit in — especially when moving from a place they’ve known for so long.

Discovery is helpful in finding out what your prospects like and dislike, as well as which current residents they’re most likely to form connections with. If you find that your prospect, Mr. Smith, likes to cross-country ski, consider introducing him to your resident, Mr. Jones, who was a world-class skier in the past.

Think about the prospect who just can’t see themselves living in a one-bedroom apartment because of the reduced space. You recall a resident in the community that went through the same struggle when they were looking for a home; Why not have that resident give the prospect a tour of their space?

“I’m not sure if I can afford it.”

This is certainly a big obstacle to overcome and discussing finances can be a bit tricky. But there are questions you can ask to get the answers you need to know if a prospect is financially qualified for your community.

Some examples include:

  • What did you do for a living and for how long?
  • Do you intend on selling your house prior to moving?
  • What is your budget?
  • What other communities have you considered?

The answers to these questions can give insights on  how much your prospect can afford and whether your community fits within their means.

Try It on for Size

We encourage you to try out some of these tactics for overcoming objections from the prospect. Which ones helped you move your prospects to the next stage in their journey? We’d love to know.

What tactics do you use when faced with sales obstacles? Is there a technique we didn’t address that you’d like to discuss? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

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About The Author

Jessica Ruhle

As Sales Strategist & Project Director, she accepts the responsibility of meeting client goals fully and dives into projects head first. Jessica concentrates on New England continuing care retirement community clients, helping them build occupancy, drive leads and reduce marketing costs through an integrated marketing approach.