How to Get Momentum Again in Senior Living Sales

How to Get Momentum Again in Senior Living Sales
Momentum in Senior Living

Momentum in Senior Living

Are you losing senior residents faster than gaining new ones at your retirement community?  Welcome to 2013, where older and frailer new residents don’t spend much time at your senior living community before moving onto a higher level of care or meeting their maker…

If you have more move-outs than move-ins year after year, your occupancy has slowly dropped.  It’s time to get the big “MO” back – that’s right momentum!

Are your owners only looking at the bottom line and demanding for the occupancy numbers to increase?  Or, are your owners willing to strategize with sales and marketing to look outside the sales box and figure out how to make the building more attractive to younger seniors?  The later is the key…it can be a one-year process of improvements and upgrades.  (Hint: Younger seniors live at your retirement community longer!)

The results can be phenomenal!  A community I work with in Southern California just had 7 CCRC entrance fee sales in 8 days!  Yes, some younger residents, including couples are moving in too.  The CCRC community looks fantastic now after extensive renovations!  The sale team is excited and all the scheduled move-ins generate urgency for other prospective residents to move-in now, because the apartment home inventory is dwindling.

What are you doing to attract younger seniors and build momentum for occupancy?

Please comment to join the conversation and interact with other senior living professionals on what is currently being effective to increase occupancy on a nationwide basis.

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available for sale at  Masson’s book will be required reading at George Mason University in the Fall as part of the marketing curriculum.  She is currently consulting with Seniors For Living and two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern California – Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California. Connection and partnership opportunities: Email:


  1. LinkedIn Govig Senior Care

    Great article Diane. So many of the CCRC’s I work with are truly “aging in place”, that is, the building, let alone the residents. But I find that the sales staff at most properties are selling like they did before the great recession. Many don’t realize that they need to improve their skills for 21st Century selling. Thanks for sharing.
    By Jane Marie O’Connor, CAASH, MIRM, CAPS, CMP, CSP

  2. LinkedIn Assisted Living Professional Network

    Great points in the article Diane. We are working on refreshing & updating our facility to make us more competitive and attractive to prospective residents. More and more facilities are offering modern day amenities and conveniences that people are accustomed to in their homes, so why not offer the same in their retirement homes? Again, great comments Diane!
    By Andy Brannigan

  3. LinkedIn Assisted Living Professionals

    The combination of “Closing the Back Door” and creating Marketing Plans that include an increase of foot traffic into your property is key. Try to encourage local clubs and organizations to meet at your property (include refreshments) and definitely develop a TOMA (top of mind awareness) program by ensuring the Marketing Representative is well known within your 5 to 10 mile radius.
    Residents are waiting longer before admitting the need for Assisted Living and I feel this probably will not change for quite a few years, if at all. So the need for consistent and strong marketing will be necessary.
    By Karen Hallenbeck

  4. LinkedIn Assisted Living Professionals

    We are seeing that independent liviing is not bringing us the free wheeling seniors we would expect. Most seniors are “waiting for the situation to change” before considering a move to a community. I don’t think it is the housing market per se that is keeping them in place- waiting for the proverbial pot of gold pay off- that is delaying the moves, I believe that this generation had a built in fear of the “nursing home” and doesn’t see that a community where you can enjoy the remaining years having someone do all the work, is a solution they can get a handle on. Most of the move ins are based on “I can’t do this anymore” issues or one of the partners needs more care. We are becoming more of an assisted type community than being the spa for the 55+. So move outs are high with an older, frail resident Education about who we are and what we do is paramount to success..
    By Richard A. Restiano, Sr.

  5. LinkedIn Assisted Living Professionals

    These days, it’s also critical for your facility — whether it’s independent living, assisted living, or SNF — to have some form of specializing, the higher-acuity issues aren’t going away anytime soon, so the question is: how will you drive people to YOUR organization, when they are ready to move? More and more, LTCs are developing memory-care specialization to address flagging census numbers, because the need is becoming omnipresent in every market.
    By Virginia Pflanz

  6. LinedIn Assisted Living Professionals

    Diane, Thank you for reminding us that we need to look outside the sales box and figure out how to make the building more attractive to younger seniors, and that it starts at the top with the owners willing to strategize.

    One of the resources that we find is under utilized and under recognized as a strong part of the sales & marketing team is the dining service team. Now is not the time to cut food cost, now is the time to increase food quality. Younger residents want to be proud of their new home and invite friends (additional younger potential!)

    If the sales team is not using the dining experience to close sales, the community is missing an opportunity to set themselves apart. If the owners are not providing resources to assist with that enhancement, look for resources that can help you achieve those goals. After all, great food = happier residents = more resident referrals = higher occupancy.

    Also, regarding Karen’s comment about inviting local clubs and groups into the community…don’t miss the opportunity to WOW them with hospitality and a great dining experience, even if it is a simple coffee station, every opportunity counts!
    Sieze Every Opportunity to Shine!
    RonnDa Peters
    Strategic Dining Services
    By RonnDa Peters