Senior Health Services

Ask questions about the older adult as a person before you ask about the person as a customer or prospect. Mature people want relationships not transactions. Show them from the very beginning that you are interested in a relationship by asking about them before you get into questions about their retirement housing situation. “Tell me a little about yourself” is a good opening question for those you have had no significant prior contact with. Then, just follow-up what he/she tells you.  This is the best way to provide the senior health services that are in such high demand.

Use open-ended questions. Your objective is to get the person to talk about himself/herself for three reasons: to find out about them, to make him/her comfortable, and to make him/her feel good about you. Questions that call for a yes/no or other specific response won’t do that. So, you need to ask questions like, “How did you come to live in this area?” rather than “how long have you lived around here?” You can always follow-up an answer with “tell me more about that” in order to stimulate additional conversation.

Create normal conversations. Don’t turn the meeting into a question and answer session. Talk to the person as you would an interesting person who you met on an airplane. Everyone likes a good conversation.

Listen, really listen. Give the person your undivided attention. You will learn from what he or she says, how it’s said, the body language and more. You will subconsciously give off signals that you are listening intently and therefore are truly interested in what the person says.

Empathize to create empathy. An emotionally valuable relationship calls for empathy from both parties. If you want your customer/prospect to empathize with you, you must first honestly empathize with him or her. Here’s how: relax before the interview; tell yourself you will enjoy it; get physically comfortable and open yourself to the person. Try to experience what the person is experiencing – concern, anxiety, fear, joy, sorrow. Soon you will be on the same wavelength and the person will subconsciously pick up your sincerity.

Give permission. Customers and prospects sometimes feel reluctant to tell you things for a wide variety of reasons. You need to give permission as the occasion arises by reassuring them that it is okay to talk about the subject. An easy way to give permission is to say something like, “a lot of people feel that way” or “a lot of people have that problem.”

Be supportive. Use supportive verbal expressions to let the person know you are listening and care about is being said. Use phrases like, “that’s interesting,” “tell me more about that,” or “yes” signal that you are involved in their story.

Watch your face. Older people will often get more information from your facial expressions than from your words. Learn to look sincere as well as sound sincere. Try practicing with a mirror as you use supportive verbal expressions or otherwise express interest or encouragement.

Watch your body language. Your body as well as your face should reflect sincere interest. Sit up straight. Make eye contact. Lean forward to show increased interest. Tighten your torso and arms and legs to demonstrate attention.

Be positive. Always reflect a positive view of yourself and your ability to help them. No matter how dire things seem because of their own situation, they want to deal with someone who is confident in their ability to help.

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