Senior living providers who expect and empower their community executive directors to be sales leaders know this is essential for optimum performance. The sales leadership structure of most senior living organizations looks like this:
CEO → VP of Sales → Regional Directors of Sales → Community Sales Director
The result is often a community sales director who feels isolated and not supported, and it shows in their sales performance.
Executive directors are responsible for net operating income. Top-line revenue is the first part of this equation. High occupancy cures many problems. When executive directors are part of an organization’s sales team – filling a role as a community sales leader between the regional director of sales and the community sales director – the leadership and support they provide is essential to the success of the community.
Here are 3 specific reasons why executive directors should be empowered to be senior living community sales leaders.
- They’re Responsible for Maintaining the Mission–Margin Balance
The executive director of a senior living community is the manager and leader of their business. They are responsible for the mission of the business, which is to provide high-quality care, amenities, and services to the community’s residents. They are also responsible for the margin of the business, which is the relationship between revenue and expenses.
The success of the senior living community depends on maintaining a balance between mission and margin. A senior living community that doesn’t fulfill its mission will fail. A senior living community that doesn’t keep the margin in profitability territory will fail. Executive directors that turn their back on their community’s occupancy success are not supporting the mission-margin balance. Leading sales is every bit as important as leading the resident experience.
An executive director’s role as community sales leader includes:
- Supporting a sales process that is clear, coherent, and simple. Ensuring that everyone in the organization follows the process.
- Expectations and benchmarks are clearly communicated.
- Promoting the alignment of the department managers’ goals with the sales process and goals.
- Participating and prioritizing outreach into the greater community.
- They’re the Champion of the Culture
Executive directors are the culture champions of the community. Every community has its own unique energy that can be felt as soon as you walk in the front entrance. The staff feels it, the residents feel it, and their loved ones feel it. Customers decide to move based on emotion over every other factor. The community needs to “feel” good. This starts with a strong culture.
Culture is no single thing, it’s a lot of little things. It’s how the team members engage with the residents and each other. It’s the way staff members greet visitors and residents alike. It’s sensory inputs too, like the music, temperature, and smells (Think about how you feel when you smell fresh-baked cookies or fresh popcorn at the movies.).
The executive director knows the community, team members, and residents. They have the power to create and influence the culture. If the executive director makes sales a positive and strong focus in the community’s culture, the team is going to focus on it too. In senior living communities where sales is a part of the culture, it’s not uncommon to see residents take an interest in “selling” the community by volunteering to be resident ambassadors or open their apartments to prospective residents touring the community.
- They Hold the Team Accountable – AND Celebrate Its Successes
An executive director who clearly communicates expectations to the team also has the responsibility of holding them accountable. Benchmarks and measurements are key components of every sales system. When sales is a part of the culture and every department’s goals are aligned with sales, accountability depends on the ability to measure team performance against the benchmarks.
Performance shortcomings need to be addressed. Part of holding others accountable is to find ways to remedy the shortcomings. The other part is to take corrective action if necessary, up to and including removing and replacing an individual.
The positive side of benchmarks and measuring performance is that successes can be identified, and success deserves to be celebrated. Oh, and celebrating the successes of not only individuals but as a whole team pays big dividends to the culture of the organization.
What successes should be celebrated in a senior living community? All of them. Net occupancy growth. Keeping expenses down. Positive reviews by residents and families. A deficiency-free inspection. Staff certifications. Years on the job. You name it. It all benefits the culture.
Ready to take your senior living sales success to a new level by elevating your executive directors to community sales leaders? Grow Your Occupancy provides the sales coaching, accountability coaching, and sales-skill coaching essential to fill that important role. Learn more about Grow Your Occupancy’s sales coaching and training here. Or book your free 30-minute consultation today.