The Difference Between Senior Living Sales Coaching and Training

Do you spend your days answering the same questions over and over again, changing processes, and putting out fires — no matter how many senior living sales trainings you develop?

When you’re responsible for the performance for your sales team, it’s easy to get stuck telling people what to do instead of asking them to think critically about how they should approach a situation and empowering them to solve problems on their own.

But if you want to develop a top-performing senior living sales team, you must provide both senior living sales training and sales coaching.


Wait, They’re Not the Same Thing?

That’s right: Sales coaching and sales training aren’t the same things, though both have their place in every senior living organization.

Senior Living Sales Training

Senior living sales trainings refers to an event or series of events that offer a baseline education so team members can do their job effectively. Trainings can be used for things like new-hire orientation, changes in processes or technology, and new procedures.

Key characteristics of sales trainings:

● Focuses on learning a skill or set of skills

● Provides new knowledge and skills

● Designed for small or large groups

● Has a structured approach with an agenda and specific content

Think about a sales trainer like a personal trainer. They’re often the people who help reps learn at the beginning by showing them the right way to do something and how to complete an objective in the right manner.

Senior Living Sales Coaching

Senior living sales coaching is not about teaching your team how to use a new CRM or ensuring they know sales forecasting fundamentals. Sales coaching is all about providing ongoing support to ensure that your sales reps are improving and maximizing their ability to nurture and close leads.

Normally done on a one-on-one basis, sales coaching is personalized to each member of your senior living sales team and is focused on where they need to get to, where they are now, and what they need to do to manage the gap.

So, for example, if Carla is relying on persuading and convincing strategies when working with a prospective senior and their family, you might have a weekly meeting with her where you coach her through developing unique and valuable perspectives about how to make the senior living decision in regards to financing, moving, and selecting the right community.

Or maybe Todd is complaining about a lead going cold — a new decision-maker was introduced late in the sales process — and wants to know what you think he should do. Instead of offering a solution, you might coach him through the process by saying something like: “I’m happy to share my opinion, Todd, but you’re so much closer to the situation. What’s your opinion on the next step?”

Key characteristics of sales coaching:

● Focuses on the ongoing development of the sales rep

● Facilitates critical thinking and decision-making

● Takes place one-on-one

● Consists of regular sit-downs, field sales accompaniments, and on-the-fly coaching

Think about a sales coach like a, well, coach. They’re the ones who work with reps throughout their careers to improve past the basics, to refine their skills, and to help them get better.

So Where Does Training End and Coaching Begin?

Without proper training, coaching cannot happen effectively. Training is a critical part of initial onboarding, letting your reps know about changes in sales strategies or company updates, and making sure your team is on the same page.

But these one-off trainings have a limited shelf life. To ensure your team continuously improves, you must integrate ongoing sales coaching from the beginning.

Your sales team is made up of people with various personalities and natural abilities. Through sales coaching, you can build relationships with them, determine how they can best improve their skills on an individual level, and ensure their individual growth and optimization.

And when you empower your team by giving them the insights and tools they need for continued development, you’ll see increased rep productivity and increased occupancy.

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