Wednesday, September 21, 2016

"Do Our Clients Know What CAPS Is?"

We learned about the CAPS program - Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist - from a colleague, our company, an organization we belong to, an article we saw, or somewhere else along the way, and we decided that we wanted to obtain the designation. So we did. Now what?

We made arrangements to take the training and completed the requirements to receive our CAPS designation. We proudly and enthusiastically add those initials to our business card and website. But we're just getting started. Now we have to make people aware of our credentials, training, background, and abilities - those that may become referring professionals for us, those that we might want to partner with strategically, and those who might want to engage our services.

Whatever our particular specialty and professional background happens to be, CAPS designees collectively represent a vast array of professional specialties including general contractors, home builders, new home salespeople, renovators, remodelers, occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants, physical therapists and physical therapy assistants, handymen, interior designers, decorators, kitchen and bath designers, durable medical equipment providers and installers, building material manufacturers and sales representatives, trade contractors (electricians, plumbers, carpenters, drywall contractors, flooring contractors, roofers, cabinet fabricators, and more), real estate sales professionals, stagers, home inspectors, attorneys, university faculty, home health, visiting nurses, senior service agencies, nonprofit organizations, and many others.

Regardless of why the CAPS training appealed to us and whatever led us to find and enroll in the courses - and whatever particular products or services we offer - people need to know that (1) we have the training, (2) what that represents or means to them, and (3) we are available to help them with a variety of their housing and home environment issues and concerns.

We have a very special expertise that allows us to work with their issues - or the issues of close family members and friends.

This is an on-going process. The three-day training doesn't make us an overnight expert, but it adds credibility to our story. It gives us additional insight and perspective. It allows us to be better at what we already have been doing, but the journey continues.

Nevertheless, we must share our story as often as we can. We know that people both want and need to stay in their homes as they age, and we also know that people who need improvements largely are unsure how to locate a reputable contractor or to get someone like an OT to help them evaluate their needs.

By talking up and discussing our designation with existing customers that have used our other services, their families, new people we are meeting, and people who ask us what we do - and by discussing what our CAPS training means to us and how it can help them as far as our ability to relate to their needs and suggest specific solutions and services to address these concerns - we will be spreading our message among people who are looking for what we offer.

We may have a website and social media profiles where we can discuss our credentials and our story also.

People aren't going to automatically know that we have the CAPS training or how they can benefit from it without us helping to inform them. Many people are aware of CAPS through the combined efforts of NAHB, AARP, AIA, AOTA, APTA, ASID, NKBA, and similar organizations. However, they may not have a good explanation of how they can benefit from working with a CAPS professional, and they may not know that we have the designation. Marketing is quite important for spreading the word and sharing our CAPS story with our marketplace.

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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.