Do Residents Give Better Tours Than Senior Living Sales People?

After touring 11 retirement communities in the last several days, I say yes – to residents being the best!  The senior living sales people who gave me tours – only focused on the real estate.  It was all about showing apartments, casitas and duplexes.  They only asked enough questions about my mom to determine if she could live independently in one of those choices.

The resident tour guide was fabulous!  She wanted to know about mom as a person.  Her questions were geared toward learning about what my mom enjoys now and then proceeded to explain how my mom could experience an even better life and social connections at the retirement community.  The resident brought the lifestyle to life first, by describing all the fun activities in every single community space that I was shown.  For example, when she showed me the swimming pool, she proceeded to describe how the residents enjoy water volleyball and how she personally enjoys it twice a week.    I was blown away.  The life she described was so exciting that I wanted to move in immediately.

After the resident painted the dream of the lifestyle, she then showed me her own beautiful home.  It was one of the best tours that I have ever been on.  She apologized that there was no brochure to give me.  The sales people don’t let her give them out.  She made sure she captured my contact information too.  Now here is the icing on the cake, she called me back two hours after I left to tell me something she forgot.  She shared again, that she would truly love to meet my mom in person.  This resident got an A+ in my view.  Too bad the senior living sales people did not trust her to give out brochures or talk price – maybe they would be full…

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available for sale at  If your curiosity is piqued to inquire on Diane’s availability to coach your senior living marketing team (CCRC, independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care) or have her put on a sales retreat for your organization – please call: 206-853-6655 or email  For more information: Twitter: @market2seniors Web: Blog:


  1. I find that really surprising that the residents give better tours, but then again they live there so they can better explain why they love to live in that particular A.L.F.

    It is a shame that the Sales force is so focused on making the sale that they forget to engage the prospect(s) in to what matters most to the resident. That is how comfortable they will be living with like minded individuals that enjoy the same things.

    I am glad this article came up now , while I am pursuing a position as either an Activities Director or a Move-In Coordinator. If I get a position where I am responsible for showing potential residents around , I will be keenly aware of what to
    say as far as what would be important to him or her.

  2. A good story for when radio listeners tell better stories than radio salespeople!

  3. Diane,
    Just loved this article! I have found it so true, that if you get a resident involed in the touring process, whether it be a lunch, tour, visit to their apartment, it establishes a connection with the prospect where they can truly accesss if this is the community for them.

  4. I love it. What a refreshing look at touring a senior living facility. We print an educational magazine aimed at educating our demographic of 50+ on what resources are available and how to know what to look for. We’ve just added video to our product line in the past 30 days and would love to do a video of the type tour you described here. I think it would be a wonderful educational tool. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Involving residents in the tour process is one of our best resources! A satisfied and happy resident can sell the benefits of living in your senior community from first-hand experience and is often happy to do so. Priceless!


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