Thursday, December 1, 2016

"Distractions Happen More As We Get Older"

Distractions are a part of life. We have so many things going on around us vying for our attention - signals of various types being sent our way that we have to sort through and decide which ones to pursue and which to ignore. We see, hear, taste, touch, and smell things going on around us. Over a lifetime, we will have experienced a very large number of such messages and images.

When we are selling our products, services, or solutions to someone, one of the largest challenges we face is getting our potential client or customer to concentrate on what we are attempting to present to them and to focus on what we have to share with them. Whether they contact us or it's us doing the initiating, there is a perceived need for the product or service that we offer, and we need for them to seriously consider what we are presenting so we can determine if we can offer a real solution for what they need and they can evaluate how well what we provide can solve their issues. Of course the price is a large determining factor in any potential sale.

In terms of aging-in-place solutions that we might be presenting and discussing with a potential client or customer, the size of the job, the amount of disruption to their home and their daily schedule that might be required, the length of time needed or anticipated to complete the project, the number of other people in their home that might be impacted by the work, the timing of when to start and long to complete it, and similar factors need to be considered and justified to the satisfaction of the customer before there is any agreement reached on undertaking the project.

When we are relatively young, we have many things that we think are important to us and ones that occupy our minds - various hobbies, interests, school work, sports, and other activities. As we get older, we have so many additional life experiences that are a part of our memory. While we don't focus on all of the various events that have transpired in our lives - some good and some not - they all have made their mark on what we remember and how we approach and filter other events or information we encounter.

As we meet and talk with older individuals about changes that we can help them with in their homes, they are considering our suggestions and our offer to help based on other experiences they have had in their lifetimes that might be related to what we are discussing - good or not so good experiences with remodeling or working with contractors in the past, for instance.

Sometimes, it's just hard for them to concentrate on what we are presenting because a competing thought will enter their mind, or they will see or hear something unrelated to our conversation that will divert their attention to something from their past. They will unintentionally tune out what we are discussing with them because the distraction has taken over and turned their attention away from our discussion. Physically they are still present, but their mind is focused on something else.

This type of mental distraction or lack of focus is not limited to seniors. it's just that with the older population they have more life experiences and events stored in their memory that can be triggered by something we are showing or discussing with them, something on TV, something going on outside that they notice, or a fleeting thought.

We need to keep this in mind as we are selling and make sure that we maintain their attention and interest level as much as possible and constantly be looking for signs that they are straying from out conversation.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, C,E,A,C, 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.