Thursday, June 30, 2016

"When You Don't See Yourself As A Salesperson ..."

As an aging-in-place provider, you might be an occupational therapist, a physical therapist, a designer, an architect, a durable medical equipment supplier or installer, a flooring contractor, a painter, a kitchen and bath specialist, a professor (OT, PT, or design, for instance), a non-profit agency, or represent many other professions. What you may not think you are or see yourself as is a salesperson. This simply is not the case. Allow me to explain.

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 is seen 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, sales is expressing a viewpoint and trying to get others to agree with you. Say that you are discussing a place to eat dinner or which movie to go see. You have a preference. You state your case. others do as well.

You make a strong argument for your case - explaining why doing what you want is their best interests, how they will enjoy the experience, and how it provide a better value than the other choices presented. 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 is directly changing hands at the time.

In the aging-in-place setting, when you are working with your clientele, you present an idea or solution that you feel is in your client's best interest to do - based on their budget, time frame, and physical needs as you and your team have determined them to be. Then you lobby hard (but so hard as to make your client upset or push-back at your suggestion) to get your client to accept your 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. Don't be so quick to dismiss the importance of what you are doing and to shortchange yourself as an effective communication and salesperson.

Sales is communicating your position and what you think needs to be done and have the client and their family agree that it should be done as an appropriate solution for what they need.

You don't need to have the title of salesperson or even mention the word "sales" on your business card to still be able to do it. You may perform many other vital services for your client and for the team, but be ready for the time when selling your position, idea, or the team approach is important.


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 or call 561-685-5555.