“When You Don’t See Yourself As A Salesperson …”

As an aging in place provider, we might be an occupational therapist, a physical therapist, a designer, an architect, a durable medical equipment supplier or installer, a flooring contractor, a painter, a kitchen and bath specialist, a professor (OT, PT, or design, for instance), a non-profit agency, or represent many other professions. What we may not think we are or see ourselves as is a salesperson. This simply is not the case. Allow me to explain.

Sales, pure and simple, is the conveying or expressing of one idea or concept to another person – presumably someone willing to receive and entertain the idea – if only for a few seconds. Sales very often is seen as some type of formal, unpleasant, manipulative type of endeavor that many people want to avoid.

This is understandable because most people who hold that thought are placing themselves in a situation where they were expressing only passing or casual interest in an item (such as a car, boat, motor home, large screen TV, refrigerator, motorcycle, or surround sound system) and the person they encountered was very assertive and aggressive and was more determined to make a sale than they were in resisting or seeing that this did not happen. Bad feelings resulted.

In it’s simplest form, sales is expressing a viewpoint and trying to get others to agree with you. Say that you are discussing a place to eat dinner or which movie to go see. You have a preference. You state your case. others do as well.

We make a strong argument for our case – explaining why doing what we want is their best interests, how they will enjoy the experience, and how it provides a better value than the other choices presented. This is selling. It may not be thought of in those terms, but that is what it is. So, we all sell, and fairly frequently even if money is directly changing hands at the time.

In the aging in place setting, when we are working with our clientele, we present an idea or solution that we feel is in our client’s best interest to do – based on their budget, time frame, and physical needs as we and our team have determined them to be. Then we lobby hard (but so hard as to make our client upset or push-back at our suggestion) to get our client to accept our proposal and agree to have it done. Again, this is selling.

Selling takes on many forms, from standing behind a counter in a retail setting to meeting with a client in their living room. Let’s not be so quick to dismiss the importance of what we are doing and to shortchange ourselves as an effective communication and salesperson.

Sales is communicating our position and what we think needs to be done and have the client and their family agree that it should be done as an appropriate solution for what they need.

We don’t need to have the title of salesperson or even mention the word “sales” on our business card to still be able to do it. We may perform many other vital services for our client and for the team, but we need to be ready for the time when selling our position, idea, or the team approach is important.

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