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BTG COVID-19 Series Ep. 8: Pt. 2 How To Humanize Sales in Senior Living with Expert Traci Bild

BTG COVID-19 Series Ep. 8: Pt. 2 How To Humanize Sales in Senior Living with Expert Traci Bild

This series is designed to provide resources, share the love stories and encourage those who are overseeing the care of aging adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe in you!

Lucas: You know, Traci, in challenging times, and I think that you have this mindset is that it creates an opportunity. You know, we will get past this together and I’m thinking about the future as the demographic boom comes into this marketplace. I think even weak companies, weak operators, weak sales forces just by the sheer numbers that are aging into this space over the next number of years are going to be able to win so to speak and get their occupancy. All of these things that you’re talking about these, these things to remind our sales teams of to tap back into that human level. Are these things you do in good times also?


Traci: Absolutely. I wish I could say that it was a priority. I think I get very emotional about this because people make selling so much harder than it has to be. I always say how selling is just helping people get what they want. I never got on a call thinking, oh, I’m going to close the sale and how much I think what is, what’s going on and can I help this problem? If I can, I already know we’re going to close the deal, right? Because I build the value before they ever even present. And if not, I say, we’re not for you, but here’s who might be able to help you. 


We need to stop putting pressure on sales teams, especially now like yesterday and with somebody, they’re netting eight to 10 but they’re still net negative every month. They’re giving away like 25,000 in discounts on every average sale. I’m just like, oh my gosh, their marketing spends out the wazoo. They’re losing money on their move ins and we just got it wrong. We need to get back to why we’re in this business and I know so many operators who started their companies who sort of retired or stepped back, they’re looking for new platforms and they get it. They’re like, we got into this business because as Rob Gillette, my American house, one of my favorite people says, I love old people, right? That’s what he always says to me. We forget this is about old people, and I know that’s an improper term, but it’s the truth. 


So we need to stop saying, get your net move-ins up and say, get to the emotional core of what’s happening if you don’t feel it in your belly, that’s what I would say, if you don’t feel it in your belly that you’ve connected with that person, you’re not closing anything. They have to trust you and they can feel that we’re feeling emotional beings. So if we’re trying to prequalify on a sales call, determine if it’s a hot or cold week, we’re just going to lose right from the start. We need to train differently towards that emotional component of what makes us human. 


You know, people need to feel wow, is this, you know, is Mabel not, does she not have any food in her refrigerator? Like when I called my mom, I talked to my mom first thing this morning. Do you have food? Right? My husband wrote me yesterday and he was like, I think your mom is depressed. She’s only as I said, like 74. I think how many people would give anything to receive a phone call and they’ll actually answer their phones right now, which they never do. But when we connect, we need to be getting emails, cell phones, like I want to be able to check on you, Mabel, can I get your cell phone? I’m going to send out a text once a week to make sure you’re doing okay. And then what’s your daughter’s cell phone? I want to let her know we’re helping keep eyes on you. 


That kind of stuff, people can reciprocate and remember when this is over who was there for them. So we’ve got to get back to stop selling. And I hate to say that cause we’re a sales training company, but start connecting and everything we do here is about the human connection and also slowing down. We don’t need 50 leads a week. If we have five to eight a week and we work them properly, think about much less spend. And companies don’t have the money to spend right now anyways, if we can close half of those. Awesome. Right? So it’s just we got to put in the hard work and I’ve gotta be honest. I think people just want the easy button. Let’s spend 20,000 on digital marketing. No, let’s teach our people why they’re in this business and who it is we’re selling to. Cause this is a people business through and through relationships with referral sources, seniors and their caregivers and their employees.


Josh: I love it. I love the aspect of relational over transactional. So Traci, I think as I’m talking with some regionals and corporate teams and, and regional platforms and some larger platforms, I think a lot of people, because of the travel bans and things like that, that companies are imposing, they’re feeling a little bit helpless in how they can support their community champions that are out there trying to do the relational follow-ups at the marketing and sales level and the executives that are being pulled into operations and they just build kind of like remote, which they are. Are there any things or any advice that you could give to the regional and corporate teams and the best things that they can be doing from a marketing and sales standpoint to support their communities right now?


Traci: Yeah, two tangible things that are kind of our trade secrets that we do: one is I would download Slack immediately and set up channels. So all regional ops should have channels with nursing, you know, executive director channels. I don’t know if you guys use it, directors or VPSMs can have like their sales channels and they need to be able to communicate very quickly. It eliminates email. It’s very high communication. Okay, everybody Slack me back. As soon as you have your, you know, 45 minutes of cold Timon. And again, it’s about making the effort that leads to the result. Let’s just put in the effort. The results will come. 


So communicating with ops, sales, the executive team can send out a very concise message every morning. Everyone, what is your daily focus? I think we have to focus people because people are waking up, they’re turning on the news, they’re in their social media feeds and it’s pure panic. I’m honestly like, I shut off all TV. I am out of social media as far as Facebook and all that and I’m just reading my paper in the morning and then I’m done for the day because I think that the natural response of people is panic. Again, we have to be very protective of our minds right now. 


So Slack is great, very inexpensive, I think it’s even free. We use it so much we pay but it is transforming for a remote company. I couldn’t live without it to be honest. We have so many and we have client feeds, we have divisional feeds. So it’s only people who need to hear that communication and that messaging. 


Then, I would do a daily huddle. So the daily huddle takes a lot of when I would say like you have to be very firm. So we know from our students that we train daily and we work with that there’s a lot of couple of company meetings that go on and one person tends to dominate that meeting, right? It’s that executive team member leading it. They talk for 30 minutes and people are multitasking. They’re not even listening. A daily huddle is, so it might be a director of ops has a daily huddle first thing in the morning with his or her team. You know, a sales leader might have one with just their team, an executive CEO might have one with the leadership team. Every person gets one minute and now that sounds crazy. One minute, if you can’t say it in a minute too bad, you get one minute. 


It starts at an odd time. So ours and I think I wrote about this in a recent blog, our starts at 9:19 every morning. It’s supposed to start at an odd time because it kind of triggers your brain to go, oh it’s  9:19. So like every morning I wake up, I set my alarm for 9:19 cause it’s so weird. I got to remember. But I’m always a minute early cause I don’t want to be late. It’s just that odd trigger. Then you have your order, whoever sets it, it’s one minute. And in that one minute, that means everybody has to come onto that huddle with what is my focus and priority for the day. And then if there’s a constraint, what is that constraint? They’re going to state it. So, you know, this morning I said I’m doing a podcast with Bridge the Gap this morning. That’s my focus for the day. I have content, it’s my content day. I’m going to be writing today. So I’m really focused on what kind of content is gonna help our operators and owners. That’s my two priorities, no constraints today. But as a leader, I did give out some positive inspirational mindset, right? And I was done. Then I went to, you know, the next person. 


So our huddle is one minute a team. So we have 12 team members that are on our huddle for each division and it’s about 12 minutes. We’re out of there. That’s it. Your constraints come offline. So if someone has a constraint, Jennifer Johnson or I’ll say, hey, we’re going to call you after the huddle and we’ll handle this, we’re going to help you. There’s,if someone has a personal struggle, they might, you ask someone today said, I’m really worried about, you know, my mom, she’s having some problems. I said, you know, you need emotional support we’re here. Text me today. 


So that’s, that’s the point of the huddle. And what happens is we know what’s going on in our research division, our training division, our talent acquisition division, it connects a remote company to understand the bigger picture and how all the pieces fit together and what everybody’s doing. So they see, I’m not just an ops, I maybe an ops, but we still have a sales function. And in the sales function, sales may not realize how complex care is right now and how short they are on supplies. So they can all kind of hear what the focus is of each individual division. And we just use our Zoom line for this. We’re on, we’re off. That’s it. So the daily huddle is Monday through Friday. If you don’t show up, you get a call. We also have in our Slack feed daily huddle channel. If you’re at the doctor, you know, something like that, you have to check in on the huddle and say, here’s my priority. I’m sorry I’m at the doctor today, but this is my priority. No constraints or here’s my constraints. 


So those two things will help a virtual leadership team get control of communication and messaging. And they can even set up a channel for the referral sources to say, hey, real time you need anything, we’ve got team, we will help you even just to follow up with the discharge. We can do it. Here’s the Batmobile phone number. Text us here. I mean, if I was a CEO, I would even be involved in this. You’ve got to protect your company right now.


Josh: Wow. Lucas, man, good  stuff. I’m not, I can see like you’re, you’re sitting here like I can see you pacing a little bit in your chair, ready to get out and make some phone calls. We’re getting, we’re getting energized here. So great stuff. Protecting our mindset and what a great platform that you mentioned. Traci, I’ve used it several times and need to revisit Slack.


Traci: So good. 


Josh: Great, great tool. And I can see that being extremely beneficial in the good times and the bad times for your teams. I love the huddle concept, the one minute time limit, two items on the focus and the priorities for the day and then what are the constraints. So really, really good. I’m going to use that word again. Really good nuggets, Lucas. Really good nuggets. 


Lucas: I’m going to start implementing the huddles tomorrow, so thank you Traci for that.


Traci: I want to warn you when we rolled them out with our new teams that we coach, it’s really weird the first week I’m just going to tell you, people were like, what are we doing? This is stupid. I don’t have time for this. You’re, you’re going to have to see it to set the tone. It’s going to be strange. But after about two weeks, people can’t live without them. We’re rocking and rolling and that’s how we keep things on track. So just know the temptation is going to be to let it go. Just your warning and it’s a Rockefeller habit. You can research it online. We didn’t create it. It’s something I learned at an executive retreat I went to, to grow and learn.


Lucas: We love it. Traci, thank you so much for carving out time and making BTG a priority.


Traci: You guys are amazing. I love your stuff and keep up the great work. I mean, I love that you are, we all learn from each other, right? And I love just to talk business. So you know what, this is fun for me, but thank you guys for everything you’re doing. You guys are awesome. 


Josh: Thanks Traci. 


Lucas: Absolutely and thank you for what you’re giving back to our community. Thanks for being a part of our we believe campaign that’s a part of what we’re doing to try to inspire our, you know, our industry to continue this hard work and the heavy lifting that goes on in this industry. It’s so important and we know that that resonates with you and so many of our listeners and people in the business. So thank you so much, Traci, for being on the show today and thanks everybody for listening to Bridge the Gap.

Thanks for listening to this episode of Bridge the Gap podcast, the COVID-19 series. If you are company, community or caregivers are going above and beyond in their daily duties, we want to hear about it. Tag @BTGvoice on social media, or send us a message

BTG COVID-19 Series Ep. 8: Pt. 2 How To Humanize Sales in Senior Living with Expert Traci Bild