Sunday, May 1, 2016

"Let's Not Apologize For Calling Someone As Agreed"

We are going to make many presentations in people's living rooms and while seated around the kitchen table. Not everyone will result in a completed order for services. Some will, others won't. Some are going to take multiple visits and several phone calls before they happen.

People make up their minds to do something in various ways. Some are rather impulsive, and others need a lot of information and justification on which to base their decision. This is true whether we are talking about selecting a restaurant, a movie to go see, a new car to purchase, a vacation to take, a hotel stay, a new phone or computer, or a new brand of toothpaste. It should come as no surprise then that some people are going to need some time to consider their decisions on the aging-in-place solutions we are suggesting and proposing to them.

Therefore, as we are meeting with people in their homes (or elsewhere) and discussing their needs with them, we need to be sensitive to the fact that many people are going to need to talk about, think about, or sleep on the information we presented to them before they can make a decision to proceed. Some people never will be comfortable deciding on a course of action because it seems like to big of a step for them financially or inters of scope - even though the proposed project is warranted by our observations and assessment.

When we do need to talk with people a second, third, or fourth time (or even more) to bring them along in their decision and help them to feel comfortable in making it - and not when we are attempting to talk someone into doing something they clearly do not want to do, or at a higher price tag than seem comfortable with - we need to have a set time for calling them again.

We we do call back at the appointed time, rather than just calling without specific permission to do so, we need to get right down to business. Remind them of the reason for the call and that they agreed for us to call at this time, thank them for being available and still interested in what we have been discussing with them, and then share with them what we have prepared - new information, more justification, additional clarification, performance information on a proposed product, or just helping them to feel more comfortable in moving forward with a decision.

At the end of that call, if another call seems necessary because they have not decided to move forward and neither have they decided to halt consideration, we should set the time and day when we want to speak again.

There is no need to apologize to someone when we call them, such as suggesting that we hope we aren't bothering them or interrupting them or that we hope they don't think we are being too forward or pushy by contacting them again. While these might be true if we did not have a specific, agreed-upon time to call them, they should not be an issue when we have called them at the agreed upon time. We might start off by confirming that this is still a good time to talk, but as far as apologizing for contacting them, we shouldn't. We are just honoring a commitment we had with them.

Give people the time they need to make a decision.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.