Guest Article: When the Objection is Cost, Emphasize Quality
Monday, November 11, 2019
By Shelle Womble, corecubed
We all love a bargain — the feeling that we’ve gotten a great deal for an item we’re purchasing, whether achieved by comparing costs online, clipping coupons, or asking family and friends for their recommendations. But then again, there are times when quality is paramount and cost isn’t the driving factor. Celebrating the golden anniversary of your parents, for instance. Or finding the top-rated heart surgeon in the nation for your upcoming heart replacement. And certainly, determining the most appropriate in-home care solution for a senior loved one.
As a home care agency owner, offering the highest possible quality services, and understanding how to convey that quality to your target audience, is a vital step in overcoming any objections related to cost — a daunting task when those who inquire about home care services tend to ask immediately, “How much do your services cost?”
To effectively address this question, keep in mind that many consumers are just entering the beginning stages of exploring the uncharted waters of care at home, and their situation is often a crisis requiring a solution NOW. And because they don’t know what they don’t know, the most logical place to begin is to research cost options. If your agency is poised to provide a higher quality of service than that of your competitors, you’ll need a way to educate on how and why the value you offer is worth the additional cost.
It starts by developing an incoming sales strategy and ensuring that all staff members are fully on board to understand and adhere to that strategy, which should involve:
- Utilizing reflective listening. This skill should be role-played internally with your staff. Reflective listening involves accurately hearing what the other person is saying, and then reflecting what you’ve heard back, so the caller knows he or she has been understood. While the caller is talking, jot down key points so you’re sure to capture the essence of his or her needs. Use the person’s (and loved one’s) name, so that your responses will be highly personalized, and never appear as though you’re reading from a script prepared in advance, or simply highlighting items on a checklist of services.
- Improper response: “Will you need help with laundry and housework? Showering and getting dressed? Meal preparation?”
- Proper response: “Mary, it sounds like your mother Jean is struggling with Alzheimer’s disease. Can you share more with me about how that’s affecting her daily routine?”
- Accentuating your expertise. Let the caller know that your agency is the expert in senior home care, and provide solutions to the challenges she’s expressing. Part of this involves determining if home care is appropriate in her specific situation, and if not, guiding her to the resources and services that are better suited. Explain what has worked for others in similar circumstances, and highlight your confidence in being able to provide the help needed.
- Understanding your value points. The most important aspects of home care to your caller will likely be:
- Engaging and motivating activities
- Connection to others
- Peace of mind
- Management of a chronic disease
- Alleviating boredom, loneliness, helplessness
As you are listening to the caller, pay attention to which of these needs (or others) are most important to her, and then explain how your services can meet those needs, emphasizing the value your agency offers and how your services fit into the continuum of health care services.
Once you’ve confirmed the details of your caller’s needs, the next step should be to offer an in-home consultation, where you will develop a plan of care and provide information on cost. If your agency prefers to share pricing by phone, however, be sure to incorporate value into your pricing discussion. For example, say, “It sounds like Jean could benefit from having a specialized dementia caregiver in her home. That service costs $25 per hour, and includes…” During this part of the conversation, tie in the specific value your agency provides that is over and above your competitors, such as:
- Employed care staff
- The safety and security of background checks
- Avoiding unemployment insurance claims and injury claims
- Better caregiver pay means higher quality caregivers in the home
- A registered nurse on staff (or any other qualified professionals)
- Caregiver training and matching
- Supervised and monitored care
- Client enrichment and wellness programs
- Updates to family through written communications or a client portal
- In-home evaluation/fall prevention assessment of the home before starting care
- Backup care in the event of caregiver illness or emergency
- Disaster preparedness
- A care team that allows for needs to be met in a timely manner
- On-call staff available 24/7/365
When Cost is All That Matters
There will be instances, naturally, when the caller simply wants to know cost and cost alone. These tactics may be worth trying in such a situation:
- Say something such as, “Our rates vary based upon services needed. I’d like to talk to you about your specific needs so I can provide the right price for what you’re requesting.”
- Try to find out exactly what the caller is looking for before discussing price.
If the caller seems agitated or angry with this process, provide a range of pricing, if appropriate.
Also note that if cost is the only concern, this may not be the best fit for your agency anyway. And, if the caller does end up choosing the lowest priced caregiving option, it’s quite likely that she will be unhappy with the care provided at some point, and may come back to you again at a later time.
Your high quality differentiators justify a higher price for your services. Communicate your value consistently and professionally, throughout all of your marketing channels, to offset any objections to cost.
About the Author
Shelle Womble is a home care sales and operations consultant for corecubed, a dynamic marketing company dedicated exclusively to serving the in-home care industry. With over 25 years of multi-state experience in home care, Shelle has held a variety of home care operations and sales management positions, from District Regional Manager of a single unit agency, to Director of Operations/General Manager for 50 branch locations in 11 states for a large home care franchise, and most notably, as National Sales Director. At corecubed, Shelle provides professional sales and operations training, strategy, and coaching services to home care agencies across the country. To learn more about corecubed’s services, call (800) 370-6580 or visit us at corecubed.com.