Rarely does a person walk into the community just because they are looking or have nothing else better to do.  The prospect does not normally wake up and decide they will go look at senior living communities just for fun. The key word is rarely, because there are times when people come just out of curiosity.  Allow me to introduce Harry.

I was coaching a couple salespeople at a community in Georgia, when the concierge interrupted us to say someone was there wanting information.  Stephanie said she would help him.  I walked out with her and was introduced as the new guy in training.  We sat down with Harry in a private area and Stephanie began to ask him questions.  Since I was the new guy in training, my role was just to observe.  After the prospect leaves, we would discuss the situation.

Harry had dropped off his wife to visit her sister on the Assisted Living side, so he figured he would just stop in and kill some time and find out what Independent Living was all about.  He and his wife resided in Pittsburg, PA in a neighborhood with their children and grandchildren.  They came to Georgia every year for about 4-5 months at a time, but had no desire to move.  Harry had retired from the military and also as a government contractor.  We also learned that he and his wife enjoyed watching British movies for fun.

I recognized Harry as a Thinker from the beginning.  Instead of drilling down and probing more with questions, Stephanie would ask a question and then keep moving right along.  Although she was trying to strike up a conversation to get Harry talking, she could not get beyond the surface level.  So, I did something that I do not normally do.  Since we had a “Looky Lou,” I decided to take over to give an example of how the process should work.

To get people talking, you don’t have to find something you can relate to.  All you have to do is just be genuinely interested in them.  To clarify, this does not mean you have to be interested in what they are interested in, but why they are interested.  In other words, I have no interest in cars whatsoever.  However, if I am talking to someone who loves working on cars, I am interested to find out why they are so interested in cars.  That was the approach I took with Harry.

Although I love movies, I am not a fan of foreign films at all.  However, when Harry mentioned the British films, he kind of lit up.  So, I began to dig a little deeper.  After a couple more questions, I learned that Harry was a subscriber to Netflix.  I had an idea what Netflix was, but after hearing Harry talk about it, it made me want to be a customer.  Harry should be the poster child for Netflix.  We talked for quite a while about Netflix and British movies.

I made several attempts to change the subject to see if there were any other interests.  Since we both had the military in common, I brought that up.  Nothing.  I had worked at the Pentagon as a contractor, so I brought that up since we had both bee contractors.  Nothing.  Since his football team had just beat my team the previous year in football, I tried to add some humor by bringing that up.  Nothing.  Harry was not interested.  He just wanted to talk about British movies and Netflix.  So, we did.  We talked for about an hour.

I was very proud that Stephanie never offered to take him on a tour.  That was not the close.  We stepped out into the lobby area and still continued our conversation.  We were laughing and having a great time.  One of the residents walked up to us and said, “I don’t know what you a;; are doing or talking about, but I want to join in.  It sounds like a lot of fun.”

As we were saying our good-byes, Harry said he thought he would like to bring his wife by for a visit.  Stephanie asked Harry if she could call him in a couple days to set up an appointment if she had not heard from him.  He handed Stephanie his phone and said, “Yes. Please put your name and phone number in my phone so when you call, I will know it’s you and be sure to pick up.”  The he left.

We went back and joined the other salesperson and debriefed what had happened.  Stephanie shared, “Mike I was really upset when you took over because I thought you did not have any trust in me.  However, after a minute, I was glad you took over.  I was asking random questions trying to find something I could relate to.  Since I do not like the movies, I completely flew over that question.  It was magical watching you get hi to open up with just a few probing questions.”

I was flying back home that day.  When I arrived at the airport, I went online and found an old British movie that I was hoping Harry had not seen.  I sent the information to Stephanie and told her to buy the DVD and have I delivered to Harry at his hotel.

Three days later, I get an email from Stephanie saying Harry and his wife were coming for a tour.  About a week later, I received another email form Stephanie.  All it said was, “Guess who just put a deposit down on a cottage?”

Here is the point to the entire story.  Treat every person walking through the door like they are a hot lead.  Even if they are not planning on making a move, you never know what might happen.  How many times have you made a purchase when you were only looking?  Besides, if nothing else, they could be your next referral source.