Tuesday, March 28, 2017

"When The Person Who Needs Our Help Isn't Ready To Act Yet"

After we identify and locate someone interested in making some improvements to their home - who may or may not have any physical limitations that need to be taken into account - we arrange to meet with them to review their plans, budget, desired outcome, and general thoughts about approaching their renovations. Them seem genuinely interested in what we are proposing, but then there is no immediate decision about moving forward.

Even when the modifications needed are quite obvious to us and delaying them does not seem like a good idea, people reach decisions in their own ways, and not everyone will be ready to commit to something without an extended period of thought and reflection - even when it's not strictly a money issue. Often it's a matter of spending the money and deciding if this is a good use of their funds, but it could have to do with the potential disruption involved in in their home to make the improvements or the acceptance of needing some help in their home.

Sometimes, no matter how straightforward and sensible the solution seems to us, people will just require some time to reflect on it before making it. It could be a day or two, a few days, a week, or longer. Generally, he longer the time between the initial presentation and the forthcoming decision, the less likely a buying decision will emerge.

Nevertheless, we have to be patient and give them some time, but this is not just idle time. We don't just go back to our office and wait for them to call - that might not happen very quickly, if at all. We set up a level of expectations and we begin to manage the follow-up period.

We don't have to pressure people into making a decision. We are there to serve them, but we would hope that they see the value in what we are proposing and want to get started with the renovations as quickly as possible. Still, when the decision is not made during the presentation, we have to lay the groundwork for it to happen in the coming days.

We make sure that we are leaving the meeting in a very cordial and professional way. We indicate that we want them to think about what we have discussed (that's essentially what they said they wanted to do anyway) and tell them a specific time a few days later when we will be contacting them to learn where they are in making their decision. This can't go on like this for more than a couple of times before it gets tedious, but for now this is the plan.

If they decide to get started on the next one or two contacts that we have with them, we both will be happy - us about getting the work and being able to help them with an important safety renovation or fix and them for making the commitment to improve the quality of their home and their lifestyle.

If not decision seems to be happening after a few contacts, we should keep them on a loose maintenance program of contacting them every couple of months to see if anything has changed where they can commit to the work. If not, we will have moved on and they will be without an important improvement that could have helped them.

We can't force people to decide to let us help them. We can just present a good case and trust that this is sufficient to warrant a positive decision.

____________

Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, 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. Also check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.