TR Mann Consulting Specializing in Boomers and Beyond
First, I’ll tell you a little bit about our firm. And then I’ll ground our conversation in some interesting facts about the 50+ market. I’ve specialized in the mature market space for over 20 years now … crazy, I know. Our tiny firm specializes in selling to baby boomers and beyond. Our clients range from retirement communities to consumer goods companies. We have also served as consultants for other ad agencies … joining their teams to assist in pitches. And over that period of time, after interacting with literally millions of seniors, we learned a few things. The first is, not to believe the myth that the mature market doesn’t spend any of their money:
Slide 2 - 19 Every 8 seconds an American consumer turns 50+ 44% of ALL consumer spending is by people 50+ The 50+ market spends nearly $30 billion each year on their grandchildren
In fact, they buy 1 in 4 toys sold in America! The 50+ market is the fastest growing segment of fitness club members They are also purchasing more cosmetic surgery and health products than any other group in America! They purchase more in department stores than any other age group The 60+ market represents 60% of all stockholders and own 60% of annuities They also own 40% of all mutual funds ($1 trillion) and represent 50% of all IRA and Keough holders In short, they own more than 70% of financial assets in America The 50+ market consumes more than 74% of all prescription drugs And more than 50% of all over the counter drugs They spend more than $62 million on entertainment Last year, social networking use among internet users ages 50-64 grew by 88% â€“from 25% to 47%. During the same period, use among those ages 65 and older grew 100%â€“ from 13% to 26%. Every single day more than 10,000 Boomers turn 65. This will continue for the next 19 years! Meanwhile, financing for new senior housing projects has frozen which means inventory is tightening
Seniors buy when
need, desire, and trust
meet. Now is the time!
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So what’s the secret to marketing to seniors? In my opinion, it’s all about creating relationships. Why? Because our work-obsessed society devalues people once they retire. What’s the first question someone asks you at a
party? Who do you work for? What do you do? Give them an opportunity to show you who they are and they will forever be grateful. In addition, Boomers and seniors seen it all and they have become desensitized! Oh, and by the way, even though I’m giving a presentation on marketing to seniors, you won’t frequently hear me mention age. That’s because I believe the best targeting is about STAGE, not AGE! In other words, what stage of life are you at?
I often like to say: Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, Seniors are from Earth. It’s a reminder that seniors are no different than you and I. They are shaped by their experiences, not by their age. In fact, this is the reason I think websites like Eons and TV shows like Retirement Living struggled so much in the beginning. Because they were focused on the wrong thing … age. The real question any good marketer needs to be asking is, “What are the life experiences that are shaping a person’s life?”
Did they just have a grandchild? Is their health failing? Is their parentsâ€™ health failing? Did they lose a spouse? Did their kids just move out of the house? Did their kids just move BACK into their house? Did they just retire and now they have leisure time?
Channels of Communication Signage
Whatâ€™s wrong with this picture? Well, these are some of the traditional forms of advertising we are use to using. But notice that all the arrows are pointed in one direction. Marketing to the mature consumer requires a more mature approach. In short, two-way communication. I want you to watch this video that I think pretty much sums up traditional marketing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3qltEtl7H8 (Video spoofing traditional advertiser/customer relationship)
Are we listening? • The goal is to move from “marketing” to a true two-way conversation. In other words, a true relationship built on trust, knowledge, and love. Yes, love*.
So, here’s my premise, if we truly care about our customers we will converse on a deeper more meaningful level. And yes, I know this sounds like a cliché but I’ll explain this in more detail so that you can see what I mean.
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How many of you remember being taught Maslow’s Pyramid in high school? Again, remember … STAGE not AGE. Needs drive behavior! Our needs for shelter, clothing, food and love do not change from one generation to the next. These needs don’t change from one generation to the next. The same holds true of our need for self-esteem and the esteem of others. What does change from generation to generation are the ways in which we strive to meet our needs. By approaching consumer’s with a “stage mentality” new targeting opportunities arise. My favorite example of this is one of my clients, GRAND Magazine. GRAND doesn’t address the readers’ age; it addresses the stage of life this group (Grandparents) has just entered. By recognizing the
importance of this role, the grandparent role, GRAND and its advertisers, connect with their audience on a much deeper level. Think about it this way, there are over 72 million grandparents in America, and according to Age Wave Communications they’ll spend over 30 billion this year on their grandchildren. And I would say that $30 Billion is low, I’ve seen estimates of over $75 billion a year! The great thing about this approach is that unlike the traditional marketing approach it’s inclusive, rather than “cutting out” market segments . . . so your market opportunities are bigger, not smaller. For example, did you know that the average age of a grandparent in the U.S. is 48? If you applied a traditional approach to reaching grandparents (a presumed age) you would miss much of the market.
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At TR Mann Consulting, we focus on relational selling. Some great examples of companies that understand relational marketing? Harley, Apple, Oprah, and my favorite, Jimmy Buffett. Incidentally, Harley’s fastest growing sales segment is Boomers! Why do you think that is?
I’ll tell you why. It’s because Harley understands relational marketing. I’ll explain a little later . . . Did you know that Jimmy Buffett was a failing Nashville country musician until he moved to Key West and started sending out an email newsletter and touring? Relational selling!
Tools For True Love (And Selling More)
– Process of discovery • Why are they really looking? Needs, Goals, Aspirations • Probe and assist – The Science of Influence • CLASS R
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Being a good husband, wife, friend, or marketer is all about the process of discovery. And TRUE discovery comes from conversation NOT from demographic profiles. I can tell you personally; this is a problem most husbands and marketers have. They are just not very good listeners. Women, do you ever have a conversation with your husband, and then 5 minutes later he asks you a question that proves he really wasn’t listening? Why is listening so important? Because only through real listening . . . No even deeper than that, only through probing, can we really discover what the needs, goals and aspirations of the person we are speaking to really are. What stage of life are they at? Trust me; you won’t get this off a mailing list.
And I use the word probe because most people are so use to not really being listened to, so much so that they don’t really usually offer up their real thoughts. But listening is just the first step to building a deeper relationship. Once you listen, you need to know how to respond to your new information so that you can help the person. I’m a big believe in the principals of influence as taught by Dr. Robert Cialdini, a research professor out of Arizona State University, although if it were me, I’d rename the principals, the principals of true love. Dr. Cialdini, who I actually hired for a speaking engagement, and his team are brilliant. Now remember, what I am about to teach you should only be used for the forces of good. Do I have your word? Good, Ok. So anyway, here’s an easy way for you to remember the principals . . . CLASS R. C – L – A – S – S- R.
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Consistency. Once people publicly agree or say something out loud, they are much more likely to hold to that agreement. Example? I happened to be attending a New Year’s Eve party several years ago when one of my slightly inebriated sisters decided to run a marathon as her New Years’ resolution. She then made all of her siblings and family in attendance, including me, swear to join her. And she did this in front of the rest of the party attendees. She then followed up with frequent reminders of how we had all committed to run. Now, keep in mind, that at the time we were all out of shape, didn’t believe in exercise, and thought a good jog was from the couch to the refrigerator, so 26.7 miles was like crazy talk! And guess what it worked, four of us finished the marathon with her. Since then, I used this same technique on myself and have publicly committed to running a marathon in every state. There, I just did it again. In fact, I estimate that I’ll complete this task when I’m 60. According to Dr. Cialdini, if you want to ensure that a customer’s decision is long lasting, and unshakable, make sure this decision is: 1. VOLUNTARY 2. PUBLIC 3. ACTIVE In other words, make sure that the customer is not strong armed. Nothing will kill the possibility of a long-term relationship faster than a starving salesperson on commission. But assuming all goes well, make sure that the customer does not keep this decision a secret. Even if your customer just writes their commitment down or signs his name, the decision will be stronger than before. And, if we arrange for our customer to tell others, even other staff members, the decision becomes even more permanent. So what’s this mean to you? Well, let’s use the contract process as an example.
Do you want to cut down your number of cancellations dramatically? Just have your customer, rather than your salesperson, fill out the sales agreement. Why? The mere act of filling out the contract creates a condition of consistency that most people don’t want to break. Then, tell the person you’re dealing with that you can tell by looking at them, and the way they act, that you know they will follow through with their contract because you can tell that they are an honorable person. You might think that’s flattery, but I mean it when I say it and they can tell I mean it, and it makes them feel honorable. Everyone wants to feel important, and they want to measure up to other people’s expectations. In short, they want my vision of them to be consistent. Also, when a new member or resident signs up, I like to turn it into a celebration . . . I introduce all the staff to the newest member . . . I take a Polaroid of us together and hang it on the “family” wall. They’ve now committed in front of other people. These photos become visual evidence or reminders that we have made a commitment to each other. One that I consider sacred and will go out of my way to honor --- ABOVE AND BEYOND! And the best part is that people want to measure up to what they have said they would do. The hard part, but also the part that is most fun, is that it is then in your court. You now have to over-deliver because you want to be consistent with what YOU said!
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Liking. People are ready to be persuaded by people they like… Aside from the staples of life, people don’t buy products, they buy relationships! Levels of liking go up as people become more certain that we are listening. That’s why people find the beginning of new relationships SO intoxicating. Because the other person is still so engrossed with you. Good listeners parrot back what the customer has said. “So when you say you want to lose weight, do you mean that you want to lose weight or do you want to loss inches on your waist? And research has show that the closer and more exactly you parrot back what they have said, the higher the level of liking. Why does this work? Because it requires true listening. Plus, as a forced discipline it will actually improve your listening skills! After all, who’s the most interesting and important person in the world to most people? That’s right, themselves! I’m telling you, practice this technique on your spouse and you’ll enjoy a happier marriage.
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Authority. Doctors have the highest rating, when people are surveyed about who is most likely to influence them. Way higher than any other profession. Incidentally, this is my one of my good friends, Dr. Gary Applebaum. TR Mann Consulting is probably the country’s only marketing firm that utilizes a geriatrician . . . Hmmm . . . I wonder if that makes us superior experts on aging? Hmmm I can tell you, that while Dr. Applebaum and I were at Erickson, some of our most effective ads where “written” by Gary. How powerful is this principal? Have you all heard of the Milgram experiments? In the early 60’s, Dr. Milgram tested the ability of authority figures to instruct otherwise normal, non-violent people to do unthinkable things. In fact, contrary to expectations, a majority of civilian volunteers would obey orders to apply electric shocks to another person until they were unconscious or dead. In Milgram’s experiments, obedience tended to increase with the prestige of the authority figure. Oh, and I should note, that those being shocked were in reality actors and the shocks simulated.
Did you know that at one point Camel cigarettes had ads with Doctors recommending their brand? In fact, you can see the ads on YouTube. So, remember people, you must only use these principals for the power of good! Of course, willingness to comply can be used for positive change. For example, the surgeon general telling you to quit smoking is a good thing! Dr. Applebaum telling you to exercise is a good thing! So, who is your exclusive expert? Your Sales person? A Doctor? An Engineer? Architect? Accountant? Another resident or member? How can you apply this principal? Uniforms, badges, clipboards – become the expert. Also, add to your credentials by using press releases, videos, association memberships, public speaking, framed licenses, honors . . . Etc., etc . . . You get the point. I’m always very impressed when I go into Gary’s office, he must have like 600 framed advanced education degrees.
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When a number of people agree on something, we are likely to be persuaded too. Apple knew what it was doing when it gave the first IPODs
the glaring white wires and base. Soon you were seeing these glaring white music makers everywhere. When I drive by your gym, fitness center, or retirement community, do I get a sense of social proof? Have others gone before me? How strong is this principal? Dr. Cialdini tells of a group of researchers who went door-to-door in Columbia, South Carolina, soliciting donations for a charity campaign and displaying a list of neighborhood residents who had already donated to the cause. The researchers found that the longer the donor list was, the more likely those solicited would be to donate as well. To the people being solicited, the friendsâ€™ and neighborsâ€™ names on the list were a form of social evidence about how they should respond. But the evidence would not have been nearly as compelling had the names been those of random strangers. The fact is that persuasion can be extremely effective when it comes from peers. The science supports what most sales professionals already know: Testimonials from satisfied customers work best when the satisfied customer and the prospective customer share similar circumstances. Do you have pin maps showing where your members came from? Remember the Polaroid pictures I spoke of earlier? Both of these become visual clues of social proof to new and old signups! Do you have testimonials and letters posted around your office and in your marketing materials? Do you provide opportunities for your members to bring in friends for special occasions? Maybe a special appearance by a chef on how to prepare heart-healthy meals? Social proof makes perfect sense in a busy, overwhelming world. Itâ€™s proof that others have done the thinking for us and it turned out alright.
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Scarcity. When supplies of something are short, we are more likely to want it! … “It’s the last one in the shop!” For those of you without kids, this is a Nintendo Wii, which is a beautiful example of planned scarcity. Amazing, isn’t it, how this huge corporation somehow is always caught off-guard by the overwhelming demand for their product. Hmmm? Do people know when your development is about to become complete? Even better, how about the first phase? Even better, how about the first floor of the first building with the limited number of views towards the lake? Do you know how many slots your fitness center has? Do you have membership levels, with a limited number available at each level? Because if you don’t, then you can’t tell the customer how few chances they have to obtain your product. Creating scarcity is a key to success. And being able to offer an exact number increases the power of scarcity. Don’t think this is powerful? Let me give you an example: I happen to know of a retirement community where customers who called in to schedule visits were given overlapping appointment times.
When the people showed up for their appointments, they were often “in line” waiting for the retirement counselor to see them. The busier the sales office was, and the longer people had to wait (to a point), the more successful the sales person became. Why? Because social proof and scarcity are two very powerful principals. Grouping the appointments in a tight schedule was a strategic decision. You need to be very conscious in your efforts of “displaying” social proof and scarcity. If you are not, you’re cheating your business.
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If someone gives something to us first, we are likely to respond with a bigger favor. This obligation has staying power. Do something of value for your customer and they will owe you a reciprocal action. Dr. Cialdini uses a great example of one of his Arizona grad students trying out an experiment. The student got a California phone book and at random selected two-hundred names, which she then sent Holiday Greeting cards. Now remember, these were people she did not know . . . living in another state! Amazingly, holiday cards from the receivers flooded back in! These are people sending cards to a person they did not know! Why? Because
they owed her . . . And because they didn’t want to admit they couldn’t remember her. Even more amazing, is that she built real relationships with these people over the years. In fact, when it was time for her son to attend orientation at Stanford, who do you think he stayed with? That’s right, one of the “holiday card” people. So how can you use this principal to your favor? My favorite example of this is a sales person who, during an appointment buys with a dollar out of his pocket, a soda for himself and his guest. Why does this work? Because the power of reciprocity is sooo strong! I tell my retirement community clients, that instead of just having a coffee machine in the corner of the sales office, the salesperson should make their guest a cup of coffee, preferably in fine china. The whole experience should be a ritual in service. “Would you like some cream? Sugar?” Although out of these two examples, I would say the soda example is much stronger because the sales person is paying for it out of his pocket. And therefore, the person owes HIM something. I have always said that the best way to engage reciprocity is through unmatched customer service. The most loyal member base for health clubs, fitness centers, wellness centers, and retirement communities is one created through relationship marketing and an approach to post-sale customer service and relationship management that builds strong ties with your members - not one strictly based on price. If you do it right, you'll actually have members who stay in touch - for example, sending you referrals even after they move away. You can't beat that kind of goodwill.
We all want to belong
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OK, now that you all have an understanding of the principals of influence, you have a leg up on your competition. This basic understanding will give you the ability to influence and build relationships. And now for the meat of our conversation. Building relationships! As I already told you, I’m a runner. Well, near my house there is a bagel shop and a running shoe store that have banded together to create a tradition . . . The Saturday bagel run. Every Saturday, for the last decade, a hundred plus runners gather together at the starting point, which is right outside the running store. Why? Two reasons, first the owner has kindly mapped running courses of all distances for people to run. He understands the power of reciprocity. He even put together a book with all the courses. Second, it’s a social event. You don’t have to run alone, you get to run with like-minded people. We all want to belong. And when we’re done running we all go to the bagel shop for a bagel and a coffee. Often followed up with a trip to our favorite running store. Were we manipulated? No, I would say we were done a favor. Remember at the beginning of my talk I showed you the Harley tattoo? One of the smartest moves Harley ever did was the
creation of the HOG chapters. HOG is short for Harley Owners Group. These local chapters frequently meet for rides together. Harley understands that people want to belong. So much so, that they’ll put permanent tattoos of their logo on their bodies and clothes so that other Harley owners can recognize them.
Inform Inspire Involve TR Mann Consulting
When I was at Erickson, I created a mantra, Inform * Inspire * And Involve, which was used by Erickson’s two media outlets: The Erickson Tribune and Retirement Living TV. Today, my team continues to use this mantra for the advertising and customized newspapers we create for our clients. Think about these three words very carefully. Inform. Inspire. And Involve. I promise you, if you use these three words to guide your marketing efforts you will start to build incredible relationships. Even better, forget about marketing, use these words to guide all of your actions and you’ll start to experience major success. Let’s tackle the first word.
Inform. This is an article written several years ago, before the market crashed. The purpose was to inform our potential customers (which were 11.5 million readers) that “moment” in time was the moment to sell their house. We were doing them a real service, by providing them with real information. The Tribune was written in a newsy, editorial manner with very little traditional advertising. We benefited immensely from the goodwill created from providing real information. Do you have this opportunity? You betcha. How about a monthly newsletter brimming with valuable health tips? One that can easily be passed on to friends and family. How about the example I gave you earlier, of the heart-healthy chef? These sorts of actions will also go a long way towards establishing you or one of your staff members as an expert. And make sure your experts’ and your salespersons’ photos are always included. You want your perspective customer to feel like they know you when they come in for their appointment.
And remember, you don’t really need to convince them to be healthy, they already know that. Instead, focus on making it easy for them. Give them information and services that make staying healthy easier! I should also point out one little bit of information here, while we’re talking about information. Several years ago, AARP in conjunction with the ICAA did a study on terminology. For the record, the mature market reacted very negatively towards the term “exercise” while the term “active” tested very positively. But I digress. Incidentally, my firm continues to create customized direct mail newspapers for our clients. Why? Because they’re one of the most efficient, cost-effective ways to reach the mature market!
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Inspire. Here’s a PR clip from a retirement community where an inspirational story about residents helping at the local school system was told. Was this inspirational? Absolutely! Many retirees are searching for new meaning in their lives. After all, society tends to devalue you once you retire. What’s the first question someone asks you at a party? “So, who do you work for?” Well, these stories don’t appear in the paper by accident,
they are often guided by talented PR people. And the effect? Seniors look at a story like this and go, “I want to be involved!” Very often their next thought is, “Man, I want to live at a place where people are doing cool stuff!” Think about it this way, have you ever placed an inspirational story about one of your community members, customers, or visitors? PR is even more powerful than advertising. It comes across as an unsolicited recommendation. I guarantee you, the stories that you don’t yet know about your customers will amaze you. And even more importantly, getting to know your members this deeply, so that you can discover these stories, will be even more important than the PR itself. Your clients will feel a real connection with you. They know that they belong and are cared for. Plus, most people love being stars!
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Involve. As many of you may know, GRAND Magazine is one of my clients. GRAND, along with one of our advertisers, Humana, created a contest for the GRANDparent of the Year award. This is an example of involving GRAND’s readers and Humana’s customers and potential customers.
Back to our last slide; think a fundraiser also counts towards involving your customers? Absolutely, in fact, in that example, even members that donâ€™t contribute monetarily to the fundraiser can contribute by running, etc. The opportunities to involve your customers are endless. Donâ€™t want to do a fundraiser, how about a contest? . . . a triathlon? A photography or painting contest? Again, the possibilities are endless! Your goal is to become an integral part of the community. Just give people a chance to be involved . . . To belong!
A Word About Technique
Language 1. Listen 2. Remember their two jobs 3. Use a 15-year old dictionary 4. Make the reader feel good about herself
5. Eliminate “short-term” thinking, you are developing a relationship built on trust TR Mann Consulting
Imagery is important but COPY is key because they take the time to read. Here are some important things as you begin to shape your marketing copy: 1. Hopefully, your copy is a response to what you hear your customers asking for. Very few companies, or people, ask this age group for their opinion. Those that do benefit immensely. 2. Remember, research has shown that people will work harder to protect something then they will to gain something new. Make sure your copy acknowledges that fact. 3. Avoid slang which is moving at the speed of light thanks to technology. Stick to clear, precise language. 4. Make them feel good about themselves. Brag about their role in life . . . Remind them that they are still “doers” 5. To remove that protect shell, you need to EARN trust, which takes time. Consider campaigns that build and include social media
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You also need to remember that as you age, your eyes change. Your eyes actually change their shape which effects how light enters the lens. So what do you need to know? Choose dark colors with hues from the bottom half of the hue circle against light colors from the top half of the circle. Avoid contrasting light colors from the bottom half against dark colors from the top half. For most people with partial sight and/or congenital color deficiencies, the lightness values of colors in the bottom half of the hue circle tends to be reduced. Now take a look at the picture showing a hue circle. It is not effective to contrast colors that are next to each other on the hue circle, like red and orange. It is, however, effective to contrast colors that are opposite each other on the hue circle, like blue and yellow. All of which is why I preach the following to designers: Eliminate collages from your design. Itâ€™s very difficult for seniors to pick up where one photo begins and another ends. When advertising in black and
white remember to have high-contrast, simple backgrounds behind your ad hero. 12-point copy is essential and reversed out body-copy type is a cardinal sin. And remember, colors lose their edge, blues become grays, etc. All is which is why you often see seniors wearing bright colors that don’t match. It’s not that they have bad taste; they just don’t see what we see.
But most importantly . . .
Who can tell me who this is? That’s right; it’s Aretha, the Queen of Soul. And what’s her most famous song? R-E-S-P-E-C-T When a person reaches retirement age, American society gives them very little respect. After all, you’re no longer working . . . What exactly is it you do? Well, what I have found over the last 20 years is that if you give this audience the respect they deserve, they react like a flower to the sun . . .
they move towards you. Demonstrate the respect – don’t put them on a pedestal. Treat them as peers. That’s why our marketing materials always try to involve, inspire, and inform . . . And that’s more complicated than it sounds.
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This “pondering guy” should be your team as you think about marketing to the 50+ market. You need to take a very thoughtful approach to everything about this campaign, from who will be writing the copy to how your photo shoot is going to be planned. In the ideal world, you want someone closer to their age working on the copy and the account . . . But if you can’t swing that, at least look for some “old souls.” Be careful that a younger person doesn’t “think” that this is what grandma would like. A perfect example of this is when I was at Erickson. I used to laugh when I walked through our model apartments because inevitably an interior designer would use some old props . . . Like the first golf clubs ever invented, you know, the old wood ones . . . Or perhaps a bike from 1912
tucked in the corner. Trust me, Grandma doesn’t want an old manual typewriter on her desk, she wants a new Dell computer. But that’s what the designer thought “cute, little “grandma was about. So treat them respectfully, like peers . . . Dear Chuck, .... I especially bonded with what you spoke about in your presentation. Over the past three to four years, I've worked as a proofreader at *******, ******, and ***** (major ad agencies). ... So, it was especially amusing when your graphic for ***** came up and you noted that the copy was too small to read. You should have added that for some reason, more and more people are also using this light gray typeface (in the print ad you used as an example). My proofreading colleagues and I would get myopically and intellectually frustrated and rant about our changes not being acknowledged! We'd talk about the copywriters writing ads like the one you mentioned and not realize that the target audience could not read it! We couldn't read it without blowing it up! Our requested changes were never heeded. Regards, R---- D-----
Most importantly, make sure the entire team is onboard with your new INCLUSIVE approach. Here’s part of a letter a colleague of mine, Chuck Nyren, who is a brilliant presenter received. And I’m going to read it. Oh, and I’ll blank out some of the names to protect the guilty. Dear Chuck, .... I especially bonded with what you spoke about in your presentation. Over the past three to four years, I've worked as a proofreader at *******, ******, and ***** (major ad agencies). On the subject of Baby Boomers, I should tell you that when I walked into *****, the HR person greeted me with, "Oh, I think you're going to be very
happy here -- we have people of all ages!" Nothing made me feel selfconsciously older than that! However, the creative people still looked the same as they did at ***** and *****. ... So, it was especially amusing when your graphic for ***** came up and you noted that the copy was too small to read. You should have added that for some reason, more and more people are also using this light gray typeface (in the print ad you used as an example). My proofreading colleagues and I would get myopically and intellectually frustrated and rant about our changes not being acknowledged! We'd talk about the copywriters writing ads like the one you mentioned and not realize that the target audience could not read it! We couldn't read it without blowing it up! Our requested changes were never heeded. Regards, R---- D----Anyway, hereâ€™s a couple of campaigns that I think do an excellent job of combining clean graphics, straight to the point copy, and a respect for the customers intelligence.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lpo__xhTSv8 (Ipad – delicious commercial) Steve Jobs is the ultimate boomer. Not only has Apple designed a product with the Boomer in mind. They’ve also employed an ad agency that understands the task at hand … clean graphics, large type with black on white, catchy music … with an excellent demonstration of the product’s utility. This team understands who has the $800 bucks to drop on toys. By the way, the first Ipad I ever saw was being carried around in a Starbucks by a 70-something gentleman.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4JcLkla7u8 (Olympus Camera - Lion Commercial) Great use of humor. Note the large graphics and easy to read type. And again, an excellent demonstration of the productâ€™s strength. Remember, the 50+ market are savvy shoppers, they wonâ€™t buy on image alone.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vilUhBhNnQc (Dove Soap â€“ Anti-Aging Commercial) By now, you have all seen the Dove Pro-Age campaign but you may not have paid particular attention to the components that make this a brilliant piece of work. This campaign does it all inform * inspire * and involve. Take a look, first Iâ€™ll show you the TV commercial.
But Dove took the campaign beyond traditional static advertising. They made beauty an issue â€Ś an issue that they then asked their customers to get involved with. Dove gave women a soapbox to voice their likes, dislikes, frustrations and stories.
It also stood out for being REAL. Being authentic is one of the reasons I love customer testimonials. Seniors can smell an actor from a mile away.
And perhaps most importantly, Dove asked their customers to get involved. Remember, many seniors are at a stage where they are looking for meaning. What does their life mean after â€œWorkâ€?? Brands that ask their opinion or ask for their involvement are highly valued.
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Of course, all of this requires a disciplined marketing and Return on Investment approach. First, I highly recommend that you pay close attention to your phone team. Nothing will kill good marketing work faster than poor phone response. Everyone on your team needs to have extensive response training. The same is true for your tours. Remember, you are only as strong as your weakest link. In fact, I recommend a secret shopper service for your phone calls, your email and your tours. With one important disclaimer, your team needs to believe this is a teaching tool AND NOT a “gotcha” tool. Incent them for improved scores. You’ll be amazed at what you learn. Which leads us to the next part of our conversation, Phone skills. I can tell a lot by just standing in a sales office. Most sales people in struggling sales offices have what I call phone avoidance. Why? Because they’ve never received training and therefore aren’t very good on the phone and in appointments AND people don’t like to do what they not good at!
The Measure of Success, Outbound Sales Calls The success of a good sales team rests in their ability to build relationships over the phone. Why the phone? Because after someone requests information, they are WAITING for us to tell them what the next step is. In fact, they need us to help them break the inertia that comes from living in the same house 10, 20 or even 50 years. By the way, notice, I used the word “house” and not “home.” A “home” is something people have grown attached to … you’ve heard the saying, “Home is where the heart is.” We talk to clients about moving FROM their “house” and all its required maintenance … to their new home at “name your community.” But back to the phone call …
Trust us, no one ever requests information on a retirement community, assisted living facility or skilled care because they are low on a little light reading. If they have requested a brochure (or retirement information kit as we like to call the brochure), they are in need. And yet, despite the fact that the phone is the pipeline to sales success, we find it is often one of the most ignored areas of sales training. Today, you are going to learn our tried and true system for phone sales success. This system was designed by the TR Mann Consulting team â€Ś a team with over 20 years of senior housing sales and marketing experience. They have helped sell over 20,000 homes with a settlement pace four times faster than the industry average. Our system takes the best of the best from folks like Traci Bild, David Smith, Erickson, and Robert Cialdini and melds them into one powerful system.
Some of what we will share with you will be old hat, some of it will be brand new to you. In our experience, what separates the top 5% of sales people in the country is a practiced system that is followed religiously. It is our belief that lack of training leads to lack of confidence and success on the phone … which in turn leads to lack of outbound calls. A confident, well trained sales person loves the phone. So, let’s get started.
Step 1: Environment • No more than 3 rings • Our customers deserve a LIVE voice
• Give full attention to our clients • If you have a door, close it
(Write these steps on index card as they appear in the tan PowerPoint slides, then place them in front of you during your calls, cycling through each as the call progresses.) Pause to allow them to read slide. Just like a good pilot does a walk through before taking off, you want to make sure that you environment is set up for success. Never let the phone ring more than 3 times before someone picks up.
It’s important to answer as quickly as you can (always by 3rd ring). It shows the prospect that we are all about prompt service and that their call is important to us. Also, it is a proven fact that people will often hang up if they think they’re call is going to go to an answering machine. People HATE answering machines. NEVER, EVER, EVER, let a call go to an answering machine (unless it’s after hours). Answering quickly gets the call off to a good start! Give full attention There are many distractions going on around us when we pick up the phone; be sure to give your full attention to the caller. Our callers are important to us, so let’s show them we care enough to give them the courtesy of our attention. Do not let your computer distract you during your conversation. While you are handling calls the only thing that should be on your computer screen is the customer relationship program and your appointment calendar. Nothing else. (We estimate that an open email program knocks down your effectiveness by at least 25%). If you have an office door, keep it closed during your calls. Nationally speaking, the average cost per lead for an independent retirement community is in excess of $500. Each time we don’t answer before 3 rings we are tossing $500 in the office paper shredder.
Step 2: Let Your Smile Shine Thru • Exude courtesy, warmth, enthusiasm and knowledge
For most people, the decision to call us did not come lightly. After all, moving to a retirement community, assisted living facility, or skilled nursing home is a life altering decision. When people call us, they are scared. Usually, despite what they might be telling us, that call has been stirred by negative circumstances in their life (failing health, the death of a spouse, or loneliness). It’s our job to lift them up and reassure them that they made a good decision to call us. The first task in accomplishing this goal is for our voice to exude courtesy, warmth, enthusiasm and knowledge. If this is an incoming call, the correct way to answer is, “Hi! This is FIRST NAME. Thank you for calling COMMUNITY NAME! How can I help you? If this is an outbound call, we’ll be taking a much different tack on our opening communication, but more on that later. Exude courtesy, warmth, enthusiasm and knowledge Conveying a warm inviting personality and a can do attitude is the key to success. If we show excitement towards our jobs and the community we
are building, our customers can’t help but be excited. You know what they say – enthusiasm is contagious! Speak clearly, loudly and at a pace that they can comprehend.
Step 3: Engagement • Hi, is John in? (Use 1st name only, then pause, wait for “yes”) • Hi John, this is Tom Mann calling. (Make sure to use the magic word “calling,” then pause, wait for “yes”)
The key to success is placing outbound phone calls. Lots of them! The top sales people in the country convert 1 of every two calls they place when they have reached a live person. How? By following a process. Remember, these people --- the prospects ---contacted us. They have a need. Here’s the opening step for outbound calls: “Hi, is John in? (Pause, wait for “yes.”) Hi John, this is Tom Mann calling. (Pause, wait for “yes?”) Most people say “Hi, is John Smith in? This is Tom Mann from the Heritage of Green Hills. How are you today?” And the prospect will say something like, “I’m fine” or “Hi, Tom, unfortunately, I can’t talk right now.” Why? Because they instantly recognize you as a sales person.
That’s not a good thing. Why? Because their guard instantly goes up … they know we are about to ask for either their time and/or their money. Two things our prospects don’t want to part with. Instantly, they start thinking, “I don’t have time for this right now” and they might even be polite and talk with you a little, but they want to get OFF the phone as quickly as possible. When you start a conversation this way, you might not even get to discuss the real reason you called…to talk about your community. So avoid this trap that pretty much ALL senior housing sales professionals get in to --- which is naming your community up front. Instead, we would like you to use a very successful and proven opening step. Here is how simple it is. Ring, ring. “Hello is John in?” PAUSE, WAIT FOR REPLY “Yes, this is he.” “Hi John, this is Tom Mann calling.” And pause. Very polite and very personable, and now you’re probably wondering, “OK, when do I get to tell them who I am with?” And we will, just not yet. Because if you do, you can kiss the likelihood of this call being a success goodbye. This is a relationship business. If you open with this technique, you will form the personal connection. You see I am I am a person, not a company, so I am never going to call someone up and go, “Hi, this is Tom Mann with The Heritage of Green Hills, how are you today?” I can, but that would be weird. Instead, I’m going to say “Hi, John, this is Tom Mann calling. And they are going to go, “Hi Tom.” If they know me.
Don’t say, “Hi, is Mr. John Smith in?
It’s very important that you address the prospect by first name only. Don’t say, “Hi, is Mr. John Smith in?” We hear that a lot. I don’t even think people realize they are doing that. But what friend do you know, that calls you up and asks, “Hi is Tom Mann in?” So you’re going to go, “Hi, is John in? Hi John, this is Tom Mann calling.” The word calling is vitally important. Research shows us that the word “calling” instigates a “yes” response … but you have to PAUSE, so that your customer can say “yes.” Communication is about two people engaging. You speak, I speak. In a poor sales environment the sales person typically does all the talking. That is not communication. You must use your ears as well as your mouth. Learn to listen. So the parameters are: Address them by first name. Not “Hi, Mr. John Smith.” Then you are going to introduce yourself by both your first and last name and you are going to use that magical word “calling” directly after your name. Followed by a pause. When you pause, they are going to say “yes.” 99% of the time. Now, you are going to get a “yes” but if you don’t there are two other things they’ll say.
They’ll say “oh, Hi Tom, how are you?” When they do that that means they recognize you. That’s good, that’s a positive feedback and that’s what we want, a positive response. The other thing they might do is pause. “Hi, John, this is Tom Mann calling.” (If they don’t respond after a long pause, start back up, “if you recall…” then you go on to step 4. The other thing they might say is “who?” In that case, just restate your name. “Tom Mann .” They will respond with a, “yes?” This just means they can’t place your name, so they are trying to figure out who you are. That’s a good thing, now instead of trying to figure out how to get off the phone, you have them engaged. They’re trying to figure out who you are.” That is what we want. We want engagement. So your call should go like this: “Hi, is John in?” (Pause) “Yes, this is he. “Hi John, this is Tom Mann calling.” (Pause) “Yes?” “If you recall, you requested a brochure from the Heritage of Green Hills.” (Pause) “Oh, yes I did.
Step 4: “If you recall …” or “I understand …” • “if you recall … you had asked to receive a brochure from COMMUNITY NAME …” (Pause, wait for “yes”) • Or “I understand …” then you are going to state a fact. “I understand you are just beginning to look into retirement living.” (Pause)
So the forth step you’re going to learn next, is to always start the next step by recalling an event, so you’ll say “if you recall” and then recall your event. Or “I understand,” then you are going to state a fact. “I understand you are just beginning to look into retirement living” (Pause) “Yes, I am.” That’s going to be your next “yes,” but more on that later. Here’s some more role playing: “Hi, is John in?” (Pause) “Yes, this is he.” “Hi, John. This is Tom Mann calling.” (Pause) “Who?”
“Tom Mann . If you recall you had inquired about the Heritage, oh geez, around a year ago actually. We are located at 200 Tranquility Lane by Flying Hills.” (Pause) “Yes.” Notice how I am pausing to get my “yeses.” Let’s start again, on another call. “Hi, is John in?” (Pause) “Yes” “Hi, John. This is Tom Mann calling.” (Pause) (pause, no yes). “If you recall, you requested a brochure from the Heritage of Green Hills.” (Pause) By the way, remember what we said about voice inflection and enthusiasm at the beginning of this class. You need to be passionate about what you are doing and your voice needs to reflect that passion. Remember, we teaching you how to be in the top 5% of senior housing sales people, to do that, you must execute the little things. But if you do, you’ll soon be hitting double digit sales each month. This 10 step system can be utilized for old leads, new leads, outbound sales calls, even appointments.
Step 5: “Great. Do you have just a quick minute to talk?” • “Great. Do you have just a quick minute to talk?” (Pause, don’t say what you are calling about yet).
• It’s important that you use this phrase, “quick minute.”
“Hi, John. This is Tom Mann calling.” (Pause) “Hi, Tom. How are you today?” “I’m great! If you recall… Now notice, I did not return the “how are you” question with an “I’m great, how are you?” Instead, I replied with “I’m great. If you recall…” or “I’m great, do you have a quick minute?” because when you ask in return, “how are you today?” you lose control of the conversation. This is a hard habit to change. Now, many of you are thinking, now why wouldn’t I want to ask, “how are you?” After all, I’m building a relationship. Well, trust us; the whole TR Mann Consulting sales process is about building a relationship, while staying in control. So when someone says, “how are you?” say, “I’m great! Do you have a quick moment?”
There are two parts of the disarming process. First you are either going to state a fact or recall an event. The second is you are going to get permission to speak. Now, if they recognize you, you don’t have to recall an event, or fact. That’s because that step is there to engage them. If you can tell that they recognize and like you, you can go to the second step of the disarming and say “do you have a quick minute?” So let’s go back to the first part of disarming, whenever you are disarming your prospect, you’re going to either recall an event or fact. So you are going to say “if you recall” and then state what it is you are recalling. You are going to use this technique 99% of the time on your outbound follow-up calls. Because, you’re going to say things like, “if you recall, you and I have been talking about the villas here at the Heritage” OR “If you recall, you asked us to send you a Heritage of Green Hills brochure” and they will say, “oh yes, of course.” You can also use this on very old leads and database clean up. ”If you recall, you requested a brochure from The Heritage about a year and a half ago.” (Pause) “Why, yes, I did.” This technique gets people immediately engaged instead of feeling like they’re a getting cold call. It’s important for you to pause after you give the recall statement so that you allow them to engage. The other phrase you can use is, “I understand…” For example, “I understand that you are currently looking into life care communities…” “Yes, we are” “Great, do you have just a quick minute to talk?”
Important Note The phrase “Do you have just a quick minute to talk?” is far more effective at getting a “yes” than phrases like, “Is this a convenient time to talk?” This often gets a, “No, not really.”
O.K., let’s look at this call from the beginning again: “Hello, is John in?” (Pause) “Yes, this is he.” 1st yes “Hi, John, this is Tom Mann calling” (Pause) “yes?”
“As you may recall, you requested an info kit from the Heritage of Green Hills.” (Pause) “Yes”
“Great. Do you have just a quick minute to talk?” (Pause) (Don’t say what about yet). “Yes”
This timing question, “Do you have just a quick minute to talk,” is very important. A lot of people are frightened to ask it because they are afraid prospects are going to say “no.” Again, you are dealing with proven, researched system. It works. All you have to do is ask. And I consider this timing question “asking for permission” to further engage. It’s respectful and people really respond to it. And because they have given you permission, they’re going to be more respectful and engaged in your conversation. Think about these techniques. When is the last time you have had 4 “yes” responses in a phone call, let alone in the first 35 seconds? This (getting people to say “yes”) is proven to disarm and put people in a positive state of mind. So practice these steps and utilize the flashcards. Remember, to utilize each of the steps and the essential pauses. In the beginning, you are likely to combine all the steps together. That’s OK, as you practice, you will become more efficient. Tape record yourself and practice.
Step 6: The reason I am calling … • “The reason I’m calling is because… (Depends on which of the scenarios fit, ie. “as you may recall you requested a brochure” OR “as you may recall, you attended our event on Tuesday”) …ends with one of two things: Either: • Permission to ask questions OR • 2,) Box & Close – this where the caller is given two choices. “i.e., so which works better for you, Tuesday or Thursday?”
Now, we are at the heart of the call, the reason for your call. After getting permission to speak, you are going to say, “The reason I’m calling is because… (Depends on which of the scenarios fit, i.e. “as you may recall you requested a brochure” or “as you may recall, you attended our event on Tuesday”) …ends with one of two things: Either permission to ask questions or a Box & Close, where the caller is given two choices. “ i.e., so which works better for you, Tuesday or Thursday?”
Scenario: Follow up to an event
“The reason I am calling is that I know you were here last week for our luncheon and you were really able to get familiar with The Heritage. Well, there are a couple of great events/activities going on this week. It’s a really great opportunity for you to become even more familiar with the community, better engage with residents, and get a feel for what it’s really like to live here. The first thing is we’re having a golf outing at Flying Hills across the street on Saturday, it’s a charity event raising money for The
Believe In Tomorrow Children’s Foundation and I know you love to golf. I’ll be happy to pay your entry fees. And the other thing I was thinking about was, and it’s very simple, is movie night on Friday night, which works best for you? Friday or Saturday night?” “Wow, that sounds exciting but I really can’t make it” or “thanks, but I have already gathered all the info I need for right now.” These are objections or conversation stoppers. So, you will go “I understand, well, since I already have you on the phone do you have a quick minute for me to ask just one more question …” Then go into another open ended question.
Scenario: To book an appointment
If you are trying to book an appointment, here is what that part of the phone call will sound like: “The reason I’m calling is because …” and then either ask for permission to ask questions or move to the Box & Close. For example: “Hi, is John in? (Pause)
“Yes, this is he.” “Hi, John! This is Tom Mann . The reason I am calling is because it has been some time since someone from the Heritage of Green Hills has reached out to you, and wondered if I could ask you a quick question?” (Pause) And they will say “yes.” The reason we know they will say “yes” is because we’ve researched it. We listened to thousands of secret shopper phone calls and they always say “yes.” Once, they have said “yes,” you now have permission to ask your questions. Now ask them an open ended question. You can also use open ended questions to help you get by Conversation Stoppers.
Important Note Conversation Stoppers/Dead Ends
Inevitably, you will run into someone who absolutely does NOT want to be committed to the conversation. Here’s an example of how they might try to kill the conversation in its tracks: “Can you just give me the prices? I really have to run!” OR
“I really need to talk to my son first.” OR “My wife’s just not ready.” OR “It’s just not going to work at this time.” OR “I can’t even speak to you right now, my mom thinks I’m trying t put her in an old folk’s home.” That’s O.K. Remember; they initially ASKED US for information, so we owe it to them to help them get past their natural distrust of sales people. As before, we are going to defuse the situation with a phrase you will come to love, “I understand completely …” “I understand completely” disarms the prospect and puts them at ease. You will then continue. “I understand completely. Since I have you on the phone, can I ask can I ask you one quick question? “Yes” They will always say “yes.” Why because they just shot you down and now they feel like they owe you (this is the power of reciprocity in play). Once they say “yes,” ask them another open ended question. Note: This is NOT your opportunity to overcome their objections. Do NOT try to do so here. This IS your opportunity to LISTEN and to gather information.
Examples of open-ended questions: “Can I ask, out of everything we have discusses, what really is the most important deciding factor for you, about the community you will ultimately choose.” “I sense some hesitation, may I ask what is it that is really bothering you about our community?” “What is your greatest concern right now?” “What inspired you to call us today?”
Here are some examples of open ended questions you might ask: “Can I ask, out of everything we have discussed, what really is the most important deciding factor for you about the community you will ultimately choose.” “I sense some hesitation, may I ask what is it that is really bothering you about our community?” “What is your greatest concern right now?” “What inspired you to call us today?” “What would you like to accomplish on our call today?” “What made you pick up the phone and call us today?” “What are you looking for in an ACTIVE Retirement Community?” “What do you do with all your free time now that you have retired?”
“What is your current situation?” “What’s most important to you in a retirement community?” “What interests you about our community? “How do you like to spend your free time?” “What is it you like about these activities?” “What are your hobbies and interests?” “What do you mean by that?” “Why is that important to you?”
Step 7: The Parrot • “So’ let me repeat back to you what you just said, to make sure I heard you correctly …”
• Remember, people liked to be listened to … the more we can prove that we were listening, the more they will like us.
After listening to your prospects answers to your open ended questions, repeat what you heard the customer say … this is called parroting. Research tells us that the more closely we repeat back what a customer is saying when we respond to them; the more they will like us. Why? Because when we do this, we demonstrate that we are listening. Half the time people don’t even know what they need, so when you are taking notes and the
parroting back what they just said, they are thinking… “I really do have a lot of issues. Wow, she is really listening. Yes, that is important. Maybe they can help.” The most basic of skills, listening is very important and very difficult to master. But you my friend can do it. To show you how powerful parroting is, researchers recently proved that waiters can increase their tip size nearly 70% simply by exactly matching their customers’ verbalizations after receiving the order! So, after parroting what our prospective customer has said, we then go to the Box & Close.
Step 8: The Box & Close • “so which works better for you? Tuesday or Thursday?” • By giving them choices to choose from, we are NOT allowing them to delay the decision by procrastinating and saying, “I’ll get back to you.” We are striking while the iron is hot. • If the first option is shot down, be prepared with the next round of options, “I understand. How about Monday or Friday of next week?”
OK, the Box & Close … “so which works better for you? Tuesday or Thursday?” We call this technique a Box & Close because we are giving the prospect a box of choices to choose from (preferably only two). By giving them choices to choose from, we are not allowing them to delay the decision by procrastinating. So here’s what a parroting followed by a Box & Close might look like:
“So based on what you told me, the most important thing to you about a community you might choose it that it has ……………….(whatever their hot buttons are). Yet in saying that, finances are a concern as well. Is that correct? (yes) So what I would like to do is set finances aside, because the bottom line is you are not even sure that this community is the right fit for you. What I would like to do is invite you to try out some of the amenities of our community. I know that you go to the YMCA, so instead of going to the Y this week, what I would love is for you to come this and utilize our allseason swimming pool this week, plus, attend our tai chi classes or yoga classes or our Super Noggin classes. I know you are participating in those activities now … and this way you will get to experiment firsthand of what it would be like living in our community … before you even commit to anything. Many of our residents, who went to the Y, found that our classes were actually better and they were able to terminate their memberships and actually save money. This would be an excellent chance to see the quality of our fitness programs and meet our Well By Design director Cheryl Anderson. She can tell you how we’d customize a plan just for you. More importantly, you’ll have a chance to meet some residents and talk to them about they like or don’t like. And again, whether you choose us or not, you’ll feel better knowing you’ve done your research and experienced our community’s lifestyle for yourself. So what will work better? We have water aerobics going on tomorrow at 7:30, that’s for our early risers, and then at 10 we have yoga, which of those will work better for you?”
Step 9: The Recap • “So, John. Let me recap. You’ll be here on Thursday at 10:30. Is that correct?” (Pause, wait for “yes”)
• Once a prospect publicly agrees or says something out loud, they are much more likely to hold to that agreement.
Finally, now we our winding up our call. This is where you repeat what they have committed to. “So, John. Let me recap. You’ll be here on Thursday at 10:30. Is that correct? (Pause, wait for “yes”) “Yes.” Bingo. Once a prospect publicly agrees or says something out loud, they are much more likely to hold to that agreement. This is called the principal of consistency. That is why, your close to the call is so important. You want them to acknowledge their commitment. “John, it was great speaking with you today. I’m really looking forward to seeing you on Thursday!” Be polite and energetic when completing the close above BUT do not “thank” them for their time. They did not do you a favor. We want the principal of reciprocity to remain in our favor.
Step 10: Reciprocity • Directly after setting the appointment, send the prospect a customized note or gift. To engage the power of reciprocity.
• The more “customized” it is to fit their personality, likes, and situation, the stronger the value.
After you hang up, you will send a customized note or gift to the prospect. This will again reinforce the principal of reciprocity. Tilting the hand of favor even more in your direction (reciprocity is merely when someone does us a favor first, we feel obligated to return that favor with another favor … and it does not matter how small that favor was, we feel indebted until we have returned a favor). If you practice these steps and follow them religiously, we promise you will start to close at a much, much, higher rate.
True Customer Service Is The Unexpected Benefit that comes from true understanding.
– Book club – Charities – Gifts
• Harley Davidson – HOG
• Jimmy Buffett – Parrott Heads
• Starbucks – Countless flavors – Office/lounge away from home – Music TR Mann Consulting
Pulling it all together. The best marketers are the brands or companies that delight their customers with the unexpected. How do they do this? By knowing their customers on a deeper, more meaningful way . . . Then digesting that information . . . And coming back to their customer with creative surprises. And that word creative just kind of hangs out there because true creativity requires work, it requires brainstorming, it requires the conscious decision to go where your competitors haven’t. I love Oprah. In fact, she’s my personal hero. She is a natural relational marketing genius. Think about it, she is consistent in her actions, she is likable – she is both attractive and like us (she has battled weight and drugs). And because she has battled with weight, drugs, relationships, and is wealthy, she is an authority. And last but not least, she clearly understands the power of reciprocity. I mean here is a lady who gives away cars, has a huge connection with charities, and constantly provides valuable services and information like the book club. But it all stems from her desire to delight! You see, the best marketers are givers!
“Try not to become a person of success.
Rather become a person of value.” Albert Einstein
So in closing, follow Albert Einstein’s advice, “Try not to become a person of success. Rather become a person of value.”
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Tom Mann of TR Mann Consulting recently spoke on sales and marketing techniques retirement communities, assisted living, and skilled nursing...
Published on Feb 14, 2011
Tom Mann of TR Mann Consulting recently spoke on sales and marketing techniques retirement communities, assisted living, and skilled nursing...