Are Follow Up Phone Calls in Senior Living Pushy?

Several marketers told me in the last few weeks that follow up phone calls after a tour can be pushy – what do you think?

When every senior living tour is completed– someone is sold in my opinion.  It’s either the prospective resident sold the sales person on not being ready to move in yet or the sales person has sold the prospective resident that it is time for them to move into his or her retirement community.

When some sales people hear a prospect indicate that he or she is not ready yet, they believe that a phone call will bother the people the next day.  They think making that phone call would be considered pushy.  And you know what?  They don’t make the call!  Is your occupancy down?  This could be why!

Granted, every situation is unique!  In the majority of cases, if a senior living marketer really listens to the customers needs and builds a great first name relationship with a senior, then the senior will welcome a sincere phone call the next day.  The phone call could be about inquiring if they have additional questions, answers a question they had from the previous day or better yet shares some NEW information that would be pertinent to their decision making process.  Obviously a sincere and caring attitude is of the utmost importance and felt by the customer.

Everyday that a sales person waits to make a phone call after a tour or an event, the senior’s emotional connection to the decision making process decreases.  So if your company’s policy to follow up 3 to 4 days later – this is why your senior living occupancy is down.

The best attitude to have when making the phone call is to believe the senior or the adult child does not have enough information to make a decision yet and your phone call will continue to educate and help them.  Most seniors or adult children are great with a quick phone call to see if they have additional questions…. The sales process is about a willingness to go through some no’s to get some yes’s.  If a salesperson is afraid of the no’s, then they won’t get as many yes’s!  I hope this advice helps you fill your CCRC, assisted living, or retirement community faster!

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 speak at a senior housing conference (CCRC, independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care) – please call: 206-853-6655 or email  Diane is currently consulting in Southern California for Freedom Management Company, the proud debt-free owners of Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California.  For more information: Twitter: @market2seniors Web: Blog:


  1. I think only pushy people or those intending to be pushy will be seen as pushy and not the act of calling someone as a follow-up.

    Stated in the initial interview that I may call them after the interview to see how they are doing and see if their interest is still there will open the door to their choice of whether they are willing for you to do that or not.

    In this day and age of obnoxious, truly opportunistic telemarketing getting follow-up phone calls can be irritating as soon as the receiver realizes they have been once again duped into picking up their phone.

    But done properly and with a forewarning that it may happen I cannot see a problem with it.

  2. Great article! I think as sales people we have to do the right thing and make the follow-up calls, even when they are hard. The only other alternative is having no leads to call and we all know that is not a good situation either

    If we are following up in good faith and truely not being pushy, we must remember that some times peoples anger is not about the phone call and not about us, but maybe other reasons like they couldn’t really afford it but the didn’t want to admit it, one spouce wanted to and the other didn’t, the adult children are putting undo pressure on them, or many other reasons that have nothing to do with us.

    We must just remain calm, kind, let them vent, and make the next call because you never know for sure where that next move-in will come from or who will eventually come around again and show some interest in your community

  3. Thanks Diane, for a great reminder of just HOW important it is to make that follow up phone call. I also believe that good creative follow up (by mail, delivery service, hand delivered, etc) can be a viable alternative to a phone call in some cases. My community specifically provides care for residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias, therefore we primarily deal with family members (responsible party) during the inquiry phase. It has been my experience that much of the time someone is “not ready yet” in a needs driven community such as mine, the underlying dilema is GUILT. This leads me to forming my opinion about the importance of making the follow phone call or sending that creative follow up designed specifically for the individual… It allows us as sales people to show that we really were LISTENING and HEARING their concerns, & we really do have a GENUINE CONCERN FOR & INTEREST IN the senior’s well being, & we differ from the other communities they may have toured because we are willing to TAKE THE NEXT STEP and go ABOVE AND BEYOND the “norm.”

    Also, making a follow up phone call is so much easier to do when we (as sales people) have done a good job in the discovery phase of the inquiry. If we make sure we learn about what the prospect is looking for in a community, what current needs the prospective resident has (what’s prompting the search for AL), and most importantly LEARN ABOUT THE PROSPECTIVE RESIDENT AS A PERSON! (What hobbies did or does s/he have? What did s/he do for a living? Pets? Interests? What makes the person smile? Etc… )

    If we have all the above mentioned information at hand, it really helps takes the uneasiness & pushiness out of making the immediate follow up contact. In my opinion, it then becomes fun to reach out to the person inquiring and show I’m truly interested in their loved one.