How your sales activity can help seniors during the restrictions imposed by COVID-19.
No other group in our society has been affected as deeply as seniors during COVID-19. In addition to the associated health risks, seniors are experiencing the greatest amounts of social isolation and will remain isolated for a longer period of time. Social isolation, whether it is a result of physicial limitations, or the shelter in place requirements, is strongly linked to depression and anxiety in seniors. A large percentage of those who are sheltering in place (47%) are reporting that they are experiencing anxiety and depression - that's a jump of 30% over those who aren't stuck at home.
It helps seniors to present preplanning during times of crisis.
One of the biggest challenges that seniors face when they are in a socially restricted status is having the power to control their own life. So much is off-limits - those who weren't homebound before the crisis, have become homebound without any warning. A senior's mental health and the ability to adjust to challenges is strengthened when they gain elements of control over their lives. Psychologists call this "locus of control." Put simply, when you are in control of your life decisions, it allows you to maintain a healthy mental balance. When your fate is in someone else's hands, adapting and staying upbeat is much more difficult.
Giving seniors choices and the power to plan ahead empowers them. If death, legacy and their family is on their minds, which it certainly is for many right now, then giving them options and the opportunity to complete preplanning is a way to empower them. Your assistance in preplanning with them not only lifts the burden of final arrangements for their loved ones in the future, it puts the power to choose back in their hands, too.
Prearranging puts control back into the hands of a senior, creating a stronger sense of well-being.
The alternative to preplanning for seniors, is to simply remain both powerless and concerned about the risks of the virus for them and those they know. That approach can easily lead to feelings of anxiety or depression.
How to empower seniors during the virtual preplanning process:
- Don't settle for a phone call if you can help it - ask seniors to meet with you on a virtual video call.
- Spend an appropriate amount of time visiting and connecting. Seniors who are socially isolated experience this a valued social moment, and it is beneficial to them.
- Don't simply try to force the traditional in-person agenda into a single meeting. Set up a virtual process that provides educational information that also builds rapport prior to the meeting. (Learn more about how to do this)
- Offering an advance educational process puts the senior to work (that's good for them, too) and makes them a better customer. When it is delivered effectively, it also positions you as an expert.
- A phone call and a mailed booklet doesn't provide enough social interaction to build trust. People buy because they trust you, and that's very challenging to establish on the telephone alone.
- Adapt your sales skills to the video meeting environment. It's not a direct transfer and requires new skills and approaches.
While some senior serving sales teams have pulled back during the shutdown, it makes more sense to understand the role that you play to empower seniors. Preplanning is an area that is already on their minds. Thoughtful and relationship-oriented preplanning is truly a service to seniors right now.