Sunday, July 3, 2016

"Use The Season To Its Full Advantage"

We are right in the middle of summer - school is out, family vacations are happening (or soon will be), and football season is getting closer. So, at this time of year, we can see many people wearing the tee-shirt, cap, or jacket of their favorite college or pro football team - in anticipation of a great season that is about to launch. Hopefully, it's not just wishful thinking on their part.

When we support that same team, we have an immediate common ground connection from which to start a dialog. Then we can exchange contact information and eventually pursue our sales message.

If it's a team we are aware of, but it's a rival of our favorite team, we still have something to talk about.

If someone is wearing a collegiate team name on their apparel that we aren't familiar with, this gives us an immediate conversation starter. Obviously, we can begin conversations about schools or conferences (Big 10, SEC, Pac 12, for instance) we know something about.

This is a great time to meet and engage people. If someone cares enough about their team to wear that name on their clothing, they will readily talk with you about it. Then, you can take it from there.


Also, as we are on vacation, regardless of where that might be, we may see shirts or hats from vacation spots we also have been to (or ones that are on our bucket list), or from locales near our home. What a great way to begin a conversation with people!


Remember, it just takes the simplest of conversations to unfold into a much bigger dialog that can then lead into discussing a solution for their aging-in-place needs - even if they live outside our service area. That's another reason for building a far-reaching strategic network.

We need to be receptive to meeting people wherever we go - grocery store, home improvement center, church, neighborhood block party, shopping center, auto dealership, and on-and-on. It doesn't have to be a situation where we try to back people into a corner and bombard them with discovery questions. We're talking about just a friendly, non-committal chit-chat or small talk initially. Depending on what transpires, it might lead to something more substantive.

The important thing to remember is that we should be ready to have conversations with people, and to be receptive to engaging them. This time of year - vacations plus the advent of football season - is a great time to get people talking about things that are important to them. Once engaged in that conversation, it may well lead to other issues such as how we may help them modify their homes for greater access, comfort, or safety.

There will be other seasons that we can tap into also - back-to-school, football season in earnest, fall festivals, and year-end holidays, for instance - that will give us an opportunity to have conversations with people about how they are preparing for or possibly celebrating that event or observance. It's just that this moment (vacations and football anticipation) is here now, so let's take advantage of it - for what it offers us now and as practice for the coming ones as well. 

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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.