In baseball, batting averages used to be the litmus test for measuring the success of hitters. Today, baseball traditionalists struggle with the new ‘sabermetric’ statistics like OPS, (on base percentage plus slugging), and WAR, (win above replacement) and countless others that measure the effectiveness of a hitter in an effort to predict team outcomes. Batting average has become just one of many metrics in baseball.
In senior housing, sales success is often measured through seemingly arbitrary benchmarks for activities such as the number of call outs or appointments. The thinking has always been, if only we could hit these goals, we could predict sales outcomes.
Like batting averages, these benchmarks, too, are becoming outdated. In senior housing sales, a new and more robust predictor of future success is called Time in the Selling Zone or TSZ. Rather than counting the number of tasks completed, TSZ tracks the time you have invested in learning about your prospect, where they are in the decision-making process and how you can best shepherd them through the process. Opposite of what many sales people have been taught, TSZ gives permission to slow down the sales process, allowing more interaction between you and the prospect and a deeper understanding of his or her motivations and legacy.
Solutions Advisors has been training several clients in Sherpa, a new customer relations management (CRM) tool that promotes time in the selling zone and helps sales teams shift from transactional selling to a focus on building connections. Nearly a year in the field and with over 200 communities now utilizing the software, Sherpa is helping to shift the paradigm.
“You can observe a lot by watching.”
– Yogi Berra
In a presentation at LeadingAge in Boston, Kristin Ward, Solutions Advisors CEO, and David Smith, CEO and Sherpa co-founder, along with Margaret Wylde of ProMatura, explained how Sherpa brings a new set of metrics to senior living sales. Instead of simply counting the number of calls and tours, Sherpa measures ‘advances,’ in other words, how the relationship and therefore the sale is progressing based on concrete next steps. Rather than focusing on the typical metrics, Sherpa focuses on the activities that advance the person from denial to thinking, or thinking to planning or planning to action. Addressing the stage of readiness a prospect is in and working strategically to advance that stage to action results in higher conversion ratios. How much time is spent planning a personal proposal for a prospect, or thinking of a creative follow up that will advance the sale? With Sherpa, the more you learn about the customer and his or her legacy, the greater your chances of success. Time in the selling zone charts progress toward the sale, not just the home runs.
Solutions Advisors holds twice-yearly sales training sessions that focus on this sales philosophy using real-life examples of how time spent on prospect planning is as important as call-outs and tours. For more information on enrolling in a sales seminar or to learn more about Sherpa CRM, call us at 888-312-0889 or visit www.solutions-advisors.com.
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