Have you noticed? Senior citizens aren’t as old as they used to be. At least some aren’t. And that means you cannot market to all seniors in the same way.
Senior buyers come in two varieties. The first are those who are actually suffering from the ravages of age – and are only too happy to tell you all about it. They’ll give you a list of ailments and things they can no longer do, so your job in finding them a home is a bit more straightforward.
You can openly discuss issues like stairways, counter heights, doorway widths, and space to install grab bars in the bathroom. They’ll tell you what they need and want so you can go out and find it for them.
When you’re selling to this group, go preview homes before you take them along.
When people are having a hard time getting around, need a wheelchair or walker, or are just unsteady on their feet, they don’t need to be dragged around looking at all the wrong homes. They won’t appreciate you wasting their energy by showing them homes that are obviously wrong.
So pay careful attention to their needs, and if you eliminate a house they’ve asked about, tell them why. It might be because the bathrooms and bedrooms are on the second floor and the laundry room is in the basement – or perhaps because of steep steps leading to the house. Maybe the garage is too narrow to allow them room to put a wheel chair in and out of the car, or the bathroom door is too narrow for the wheel chair to get through.
Do your homework, tell them the straight facts, and you’ll earn their loyalty.
This segment of the senior population may be focused on living within minutes of a medical facility, and they’ll probably tell you which one.
But what about the second group? What about the ones who are officially senior citizens, but have no intention of acknowledging the fact?
You’d do well not to mention the words “Senior citizen” in their presence.
Instead, find out more about them and their lives. Many are still working, so see if they want to locate near the workplace. After that, inquire about hobbies and other leisure time activities. Your new seniors may be avid golfers, they may want to hit the gym three days a week, they make require fast access to a swimming pool, or perhaps want to locate near a boarding facility where they can keep a horse.
They may even want a home with a bit of pasture so they can take care of that horse themselves.
Don’t assume anything. Some seniors are anxious to leave yard care behind so they can pursue other interests, while others have been waiting for retirement to have time to landscape a yard and grow a huge garden.
Take the time to listen. Listening is important no matter who your client is, but when you’re selling to senior citizens, you need to listen to the subtle hints as well as the open statements.
Remember, in the back of their minds, they’re recognizing the possibility of ill-health in the future. How could they avoid it, with the television and newspapers shouting it at every turn?
They know that the day could be coming soon when they won’t be able to easily navigate those stairways – and they know that a wheel chair could be a part of their future. They may even have a secret fear of living too far from a medical facility.
But many simply do not want to talk about that. So don’t bring it up unless they do.
Selling to seniors isn’t really all that different from selling to anyone else. Your job is to listen and pay attention to what you hear. When you do that with each and every customer and client you’ll be head and shoulders above your competition – because listening is almost a lost art.