Seven Tips for Face-to-Face Selling with Senior Adults

People prefer conducting business with people they like. There are many ways to reinforce that, but the most important impressions are made face to face.
Developing a rapport is essential. Older adults want to begin with relationships not hard-sell transactions. Show prospects from the beginning that you’re interested in a relationship by asking about them before you get into questions about their housing preference needs.

Here are seven tips for selling success:

1. Use open-ended questions. Your sales objective is to get the person to talk about himself or herself for three reasons: to find out about them, to make them comfortable, and to make the person feel good about you. Questions that call for a yes/no or other specific response won’t do that.

2. Create a normal conversation. Don’t turn your contact into a question and answer session. Talk to the older adult as you would an interesting person who you just met on an airplane. Everyone likes a good conversation.

3. Hear what they are saying. Give the person your undivided attention. You’ll learn about them from what is said, how it’s said, body language and more. You will subconsciously give off signals that you’re listening intently and therefore are truly interested in what the prospect has to say.

4. Empathize to create a sense of empathy. An emotionally valuable relationship calls for empathy from both parties. If you want the prospect to empathize with you, you must first honestly empathize with him or her. Here’s how: relax before the interview. Tell yourself you will enjoy it. Get physically comfortable and open yourself to the person.

5. Be supportive. Use supportive verbal expressions to let the person know you are listening and care about the person has to say. Use phrases like, “that’s interesting,” “tell me more about that,” or a “yes” signal that you are involved in their story.

6. Watch your face. Older people will often get more information from your facial
expressions than from your words. Learn to be sincere as well as sound sincere. If you need to work on it, try practicing with a mirror as you use supportive verbal expressions or otherwise express interest or encouragement.

7. Watch your body language. Your body as well as your face should reflect sincere interest. Sit up straight. Make eye contact. Lean forward to show increased interest. Tighten your torso and arms and legs to demonstrate attention.

And, finally -- be positive. Always reflect a positive view of yourself and your ability to help them. They want to deal with someone who is confident in his/her ability to help.