Have You Hired a Closer or Order Taker In Senior Living?

Have You Hired a Closer or Order Taker In Senior Living?

Order Taker or Closer in Senior Living?Did you hire a closer or an order taker for your senior living community?  Both can be good listeners, but there is a huge difference.   One can increase the occupancy and the other will complain that people “ARE NOT READY YET!”  Many seniors desire to move now – do you want them to move into your senior living community or a competitor?

The first order of business is hiring a fantastic senior living sales person that fits with your current staff and has the ability to talk to your prospective residents like you would yourself.  Be patient and don’t hire the first person that “might” work.

An order taker lets the customer take the lead through the tour.  For example a senior says, “I don’t have a lot of time and want to see a two bedroom.”  The order taker would take them to the two-bedroom and then wonder why no one buys from them.

A closer will listen to what the senior or boomer children demand to see.  Then the closer can suggest to the family to have a quick sit-down, to determine exactly what is most important for them to see during the visit.  Then they can tell the prospective resident(s) that a tailored tour for what is most important to them will save them a ton of time.  People eat these comments up like candy and love that you want to save them time.  The closer introduces the pricing of a studio and one-bedroom before the tour begins, because that two-bedroom price could be too rich for the senior’s blood (this strategy alone can increase sales by 25%).  So even though the customer demanded to see a two bedroom, the closer may never show them one.

The closer guides them throughout the tour and asks key questions and builds rapport as they walk down hallways.  Every minute and every word that comes out of a closer’s mouth is designed to either build value for the retirement community or learn more about the needs and timing of the prospective senior resident.

Senior living sales closers strategically show prospects high value areas of the community during the tailored tour.  This can happen on the way to the apartment that the senior can most likely afford now. 

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available for sale at Amazon.com.  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: diane@marketing2seniors.net


  1. Great post – spot on. Sales pros in the affluent, 2nd home market have been practicing tactics like this for years. Forward-thinking Senior Living operators would benefit from more strategic pricing strategies to help salespeople leverage strong sales processes like this.

  2. LinkedIn Senior Care Services Companies

    I believe Diane is on target with her method of listening and learning. This is the basis of what she is suggesting, which is a proper “needs analysis.” Having worked in sales for 30 years, including for an international sales trainer, a proper needs analysis is required to learn what the future resident requires. (If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.”)

    When I first entered the eldercare field 13 years ago, my background was in more what we might refer to as intense sales. Once I got into eldercare I learned that while a proper needs analysis was equally important in this arena, one needed to be more “heart squishy” (term used by a social worker).

    This does not in any way imply you are an order taker. It means you communicate in a needs analysis manner without the more short statement, intense and obvious closing methods. It is a kinder close but one that does not leave out the needs of the future resident to which Diane is referring.
    By Veronica Woldt, MA

  3. LinkedIn Senior Care Services Companies

    Diane and Veronica are correct. Selling in today’s environment is much different than it was a few years ago. Because the terms ‘closer’ and ‘order’ taker were used in this discussion, you do not need to automatically think Diane is referring to a used car sales approach. Selling is not a passive profession. The true sales professional slowly establishes a solid foundation through listening, questioning, rapport building conversation. They create a community match for the prospect’s needs and preferences. Through the process of what I generate for my clients, sales agent evaluations, I can attest that the true sales professional creates such a relaxed and trusting environment, their prospect feels comfortable in engaging in discovery conversation. The sales professional’s job is to slowly gain commitment and create a reason for the prospect to commit once the agent has established a community and lifestyle match. If the prospect does not commit that day, that is understandable. The process of effective follow-up then will follow the appropriate time line for that prospect’s commitment.
    By Mary LeBlanc

  4. LinkedIn Senior Care Services Companies

    Let me understand; close the sale, pull them in, ready or not?
    By Dave L. Mainwaring

  5. LinkedIn Assisted Living Professionals

    Not many can!
    By Elizabeth Sastri

    • Every sales person can improve their techniques through training. When a senior arrives for a tour at a retirement community, they desire information and help on how to make a good transition. The senior does not understand costs or how it all works. A senior living sales person has one chance to listen and make a great first impression by tailoring the tour to the senior’s needs and helping to guide them through the moving process.

  6. LinkedIn Assisted Living Professionals

    Sounds like a very effective sales technique. Hadn’t thought of it…
    By Lorie Eber

  7. LinkedIn Assisted Living Professionals

    If you listen, then you’ll learn how to attract that particular person as a future resident. It’s the 2 ears, 1 mouth thing 😉
    By Lorie Eber

  8. LinkedIn Senior Care Services Companies

    This really highlights the importance of making an informed hiring decision for your senior living community.
    By Bill Cross

  9. Linked In Assisted Living Professionals

    Order takers are plentiful….closers are very rare. But they can make all the difference!
    By Tom Quinlan