You Can’t Expect It If You Don’t Inspect It.
It’s fierce. It’s competitive. It’s about always winning and never losing. It’s about always being number one. It’s a way of life. It’s what we have come to expect. What am I talking about? Well, it is certainly not the Super Bowl or the World Series. I am talking about every day in the life of a salesperson. The challenge we face in today’s world of selling is the same challenge we have always faced. We spend thousands of dollars a year on training, and we are never sure if our sales people are implementing the process. So, how do we fix this problem? The fact is, you cannot expect what you do not inspect. The solution has been around for years and years – Mystery Shopping. Here are five ways that Mystery Shopping can help you increase your occupancy.
- Increase your inquiry to visit ratio. 70-80% of deals are lost over the phone. Use a recorded telephone shop to strengthen the skill sets of your sales counselors, and start converting more inquiries to tours.
- Develop your unique different and better story. After conducting over 100,000 shops, a common thread we see in about 97% of the shops is how the “sales pitch” sounds the same. Shop your competitors and “see” how they are selling. Then shop your own communities, analyze the information, and use the conclusions to develop your unique in your sales approach.
- Ensure you are competitively priced. The industry is becoming more of a commodity. Most communities offer the same or similar bells and whistles. So, all things considered equal, many times the prospect’s decision will come down to pricing. So, how do you know your competitors’ pricing structure since the days of sharing that kind of data is few and far between? Market Research shops will provide detailed pricing data on your competitors so you focus your efforts on selling the value of your community.
- Improve your training. Ongoing training and assessment is vital to achieving 100% occupancy. Rolling out a full mystery shopping program will help you identify the gaps in your training and coaching program. Continuous follow up and follow through is the key to achieving higher occupancy across your entire organization.
- Convert more website leads. Since adult children are getting more and more involved, your website should be one of your largest lead generators. The challenge is being able to handle the website leads accordingly. An automated response is not enough. Creating a personal connection via email is a skill set that we all need help developing. Every community should institute a Website Mystery Shopping program to discover exactly how those leads are being handled.
You Can’t Afford Not To Do It.
“How often should we be mystery shopping?” This is probably the most common question we hear. Since there are a number of factors to consider, unfortunately there is not a blanket response. Depending on the situation, some clients require more and others less. However, if you are serious about increasing your occupancy, here is the rule of thumb that we would recommend as the minimal standard. Conduct telephone, in-person, and website shops on a quarterly basis, and conduct competitor and market research shops bi-annually. Our clients who have integrated an on-going mystery shopping program into their organizations, have experienced higher occupancy than the industry benchmark. You are probably thinking it’s not in your budget, and you cannot afford it. If you expect to remain competitive, you can’t afford not to do it.
There is a saying that the best time to plant a tree is yesterday. The best time to implement a mystery shopping and training program was yesterday. All Aboard! The train is leaving and you need to be on it. It’s time to take the status quo of closing ratios and resurrect them to a new high. Take your seats, buckle in, and enjoy the ride!