Selling Aging in Place Technology – It’s just a screenplay

Where's guidance on how to sell? One of my personal peeves about aging in place technology is the lack of marketing and sales information. With a purported gigantic market (aging tsunami and all) plus lots of sales people trying to earn a living, you’d think it would be a snap (and it should be). But there is a dearth of information from vendors about how to sell it easily and very little help from vendors on local or national marketing efforts. Frankly, I think many of us get too enamored with the technological guts and product features and forget how to sell the benefits of a technology servant.

Who are the 'characters' and what do they want? I recently purchased Contour screenplay software and thought this would be good place for aging in place tech vendors to start with their message. “Just answer these 4 questions: Who is the main character? What is the main character trying to accomplish? Who is trying to stop the main character? What happens if the main character fails?” Can you answer these questions for your product? Let’s run through these questions using TV Ears as an example.

  1. Who is the main character? The wife of the hard-of-hearing husband.
  2. What is the main character trying to accomplish? The wife is trying to live in the same house with her husband of 40 years and tolerate his increasing deafness.
  3. Who is trying to stop the main character? The husband who watches TV too loudly.
  4. What happens if the main character fails? The wife will leave, get a divorce or start hating the husband.

I bet some of you thought that the main character was the husband. Wrong. The TV Ears slogan is “TV Ears saved my marriage.” Pretty obvious after you answer the four questions above. Who is the main character for your product or service? Are you sure about that? Take 15 minutes and figure it out. Buy the software if you need to. And then share that information with the people trying to sell your product and your marketing folks. Please.

Susan Estrada is the founder of Happy@Home, a new product testing and review site, and will offer her perspective in this blog from time to time.

Selling Aging in Place Technology

Great analogy using a screenplay. Marketing aging-in-place services has gotten a back set to actually "providing" the services. Many companies that provide aging-in-place services are good at what they do but not so good at marketing. This is true for many industries. Fortunately, the NAHB has been working on this with their CAPS program (Certified Aging in Place Specialist) to help home builders not only know what services to provide but how to market them. Aging-in-place will be gaining traction in the years to come now that so many baby boomers will be reaching retirement age.

Excellent point! Thank you!

The idea that the people who need the service are actually the people who must "deal" with the elders (as if the elders can't make their own choice) is ludicrous. There may be times when someone is interested in order to assist their parents or spouse, but selling to the elder would do the same job.

Messaging in the Sales Channel

Hello Susan and Karen:

You both make some great points. It can be challenging to identify the real target market for specific aging in place products and services. Is it the end user or is it the family member who may be caring for the end user or is it someone else who buys products for the end user? It’s a changing target depending on the family and situation. Also, many of these products and services have two distinct “characters” (sometimes more) and the message may need to be different in order to market and sell to each individual character.

In the TV Ears example, the wife (main character/protagonist certainly wants to accomplish being able to watch TV with a volume level that is comfortable to her. The husband (antagonist) wants to be able to hear the TV. The sales message to the wife might be, “Watch TV with your husband again, without feeling like you’re at a rock concert.” The sales message to the husband might be, “Now you can hear the TV again, without turning up the volume.” This example is why we believe in the direct sales model for getting these types products in to the hands of people who need them. We adjust the message to the character.

As Susan laments, vendors often leave it to their channel partners to develop sales messaging that fits the specific target of the channel partner. Given the multiple target audiences, messaging can be more challenging than developing the technology. Nurture Connect is excited to be taking on this challenge.

Michaela Sweatt
www.nurtureconnect.com

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.