Aging in place professionals represent many areas of experience, including occupational therapy, physical therapy, gerontology, interior design, kitchen and bath design, architecture and building design, landscape architecture, durable medical equipment supplier or installer, equipment specialist, flooring contractor, lighting specialist, electrician, plumber, handyman, remodeling contractor, painter, professor (OT, PT, or design, for instance), social work, case manager, marketing consultant, non-profit organization, attorney, government agency or department, and many others. What may not seem apparent is that we also are salespeople.
It probably doesn’t mention anything about sales on any of our business cards, but this does not mean it isn’t part of our job description or function. It has to be because this is how we communicate with our clients and implement solutions for them.
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 are viewed or perceived 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, making a sale is expressing a viewpoint and trying to get others to agree with us. We state your case. Others do as well.
We make a strong argument for our position – explaining why what we envision for their home as a solution to the expressed or observed needs is what we feel serves their interests the best and how it will provide a better value than any other choices they might have entertained or considered. 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 does not directly change hands at the time.
In working with aging in place clients to create effective solutions that we feel are what our clients need to continue living in their home safely and enjoyably – based on their budget, time frame, and physical needs as we and our team have determined them to be, we lobby hard (but not so hard as to make our client upset or defensive 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 too quick to dismiss the importance of what we are doing and to shortchange ourselves as an effective communicator and salesperson. Sales are what makes our business run. Without them, there is no business.
Sales is communicating our position and what you think needs to be done and getting the client and their family to 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 perform many other vital services for our clients and for the team, but we must be ready for the time when selling is what we need to do. It’s how we relate to the client, how we explain what we have envisioned for them, how we secure their agreement that they are ready to have us implement the solution we have selected, and how we get paid for doing so.