Recognizing Buying Questions in Senior Living

Recognizing Buying Questions in Senior Living

Recognize Buying Signals in Senior LivingSome senior living sales people are so focused on getting a deposit that they miss crucial buyer signs from a senior living prospect.  One easy tip for you to start using today is to never answer an easy question that a senior or adult child asks with a simple, “yes” or “no.”  Instead, respond with a clarifying question and discover more about his or her mindset.

The following is an excerpt from my book, “Senior Housing Marketing – How To Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full.”

For example, if they ask, “Is this apartment available?”  You ask, “What is your time frame for moving in?”  The answer given is very telling.  They might say, “Well, I have to sell my home first.”  This indicates they want to buy it!  You just have to walk them through the steps on how to make it a reality.

More Buying Questions 

  • Asking about availability of a certain apartment.
  • What is the time frame required to move into this apartment?
  • They want something repeated.
  • Wanting to know about rates, price, or affordability.
  • Asking about the quality or levels of health care that are offered is a great sign.
  • Wanting to see the model apartment.
  • Asking what the other residents are like.
  • Comparing your senior living community with the competition. This means they are doing their homework and are interested.

Start recognizing closing questions that they may ask you.  The questions can come in the beginning, the middle, or the end of your senior living tour.  When they ask you a question, never answer with a simple “yes “or “no.”  It’s good to answer with a clarifying question that allows more discoveries as to their needs or wants.  Your strategic question can often turn into an early close and result in the sale.

They may say, “How much money would I have to put down to hold it?”  This is not a sale until you walk them through all the steps.  But it’s darned close!

Have your senior living occupancy start increasing today!

Please share your strategies, successes, failures or comment below 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 at Amazon.com with a 5-star rating.  The book is required reading at George Mason University as a part of its marketing curriculum.  Within this book, the author developed a sales & marketing method with 12 keys to help senior living providers increase their occupancy.   Masson developed this expertise as a marketing consultant, sought-after blogger for senior housing and a regional marketing director of continuing care retirement communities in several markets.  She has also been a corporate director of sales and a mystery shopper for independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled care nursing communities in multiple states.  Currently, Masson is setting move-in records as the regional marketing director of two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern California – Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California.  Interestingly, this career started when she was looking for a place for her own mom and helped her loved one transition through three levels of care.

 

© Marketing 2 Seniors| Diane Twohy Masson 2014 All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog post may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the author, unless otherwise indicated for stand-alone materials. You may share this website and or it’s content by any of the following means: 1. Using any of the share icons at the bottom of each page. 2. Providing a back-link or the URL of the content you wish to disseminate. 3. You may quote extracts from the website with attribution to Diane Masson CASP and link http://www.marketing2seniors.net For any other mode of sharing, please contact the author Diane Masson.
Is Visiting Your Senior Living Community Like Going to the Dentist?

Is Visiting Your Senior Living Community Like Going to the Dentist?

vecortoons07222013024-copyIt can be so simple to alleviate someone’s fear by giving a simple explanation of what to expect in the coming minutes or hour.  If you skip this simple step at your senior living community – learn what can happen.

Yesterday, I was at the dentist for a routine crown.  I received a crown 20 years ago and had no bad memories or fears coming to the appointment.   Once I signed that I would pay for the crown, there was zero explanation of what would happen next…

It was tough hearing, feeling and smelling procedures in my mouth with zero knowledge of the reason.  Could he have not taken a moment for some quick explanations to elevate the fear of the unknown?  The dentist did warn me about the pounding that was about to come.  That was my only warning.  He asked me to open up and bite down on something squishy, then he just walked away and left me.  What was in my mouth and why?  Well it turned out to be a crown mold that needed to set in my mouth for 8 minutes.  When the dentist came back, I had pretty much made a decision to never go to this dentist again.

When a prospective senior resident arrives at your senior living community, they can have fears.  A senior can fear being sold, giving up his or her home of 40 years, change in lifestyle, losing the size or view of the current home, downsizing, moving, mortality, being accepted by other residents, losing control and etc.

Simply take two minutes before touring a prospective senior resident and share what can happen on the visit.  Then ask for his or her permission to proceed.  Watch them visibly relax before your eyes.

Maybe you say something like, “Today, you will have an opportunity to learn what our retirement community (assisted living, skilled nursing care, memory care or Continuing Care Retirement Community) has to offer and to see if this community could possibly be an option for you in your future.  Why don’t we take a few minutes to determine what is most important for you to learn today and then I can determine what areas of the community to show you first.  This will save you a lot of time.  My goal will be to answer all your questions as we tour the community and see a model home.  When you leave today, I will give you a brochure with all the floor plans and pricing included.  How does that sound to you?”

Relaxed seniors buy and stressed seniors go to the next senior living community who will relax them.  What do you say or do to relax your perspective residents at the beginning of a walk-in tour or appointment?

Please share your success, failures or comment below 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 at Amazon.com with a 5-star rating.  The book is required reading at George Mason University as a part of its marketing curriculum.  Within this book, the author developed a sales & marketing method with 12 keys to help senior living providers increase their occupancy.   Masson developed this expertise as a marketing consultant, sought-after blogger for senior housing and a regional marketing director of continuing care retirement communities in several markets.  She has also been a corporate director of sales and a mystery shopper for independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled care nursing communities in multiple states.  Most recently Masson was recruited to consult for two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern California – Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California.  Interestingly, this career started when she was looking for a place for her own mom and helped her loved one transition through three levels of care.

© Marketing 2 Seniors| Diane Twohy Masson 2013 All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog post may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the author, unless otherwise indicated for stand-alone materials. You may share this website and or it’s content by any of the following means: 1. Using any of the share icons at the bottom of each page. 2. Providing a back-link or the URL of the content you wish to disseminate. 3. You may quote extracts from the website with attribution to Diane Masson CASP and link http://www.marketing2seniors.net For any other mode of sharing, please contact the author Diane Masson.
Misclassifying Leads Can Decrease Move Ins

Misclassifying Leads Can Decrease Move Ins

Misclassifying Senior Living SalesAfter the initial tour are you or your senior living sales people classifying the lead correctly in your database and following up with the prospective resident appropriately?

What is your retirement community’s definition of a hot lead?

Many senior housing professionals only classify a lead as HOT if:

  1. The senior says they want to move someplace right away.
  2. They tell you their home is on the market.
  3. The adult child says their mom or dad is in the hospital and can’t move back home.

Here are some more lead situations that I would classify as hot (Even if they say – “I AM NOT READY YET!”):

  1. The senior is considering putting their home on the market.
  2. Someone wondering how long they should continue living in their home.
  3. Telling you they are about a year away, but also saying it has been difficult managing in a two story home.
  4. My spouse has just been diagnosed with…

Prospects don’t jump up and down and say I am an easy sale.  Senior Living Sales is an art and it’s up to us to read between the lines.  If someone comes to see you in person, they should be a warm or hot lead until they clearly indicate they are not.  They walked into your senior living community for a reason…

Post-analyze their situation in the quiet of your office.  This can help you strategize how you can help move someone forward the next time you talk to them.  Some sales people (particularly green sales people) can benefit from strategizing with their boss to determine the next course of action with a prospective resident.

Can anyone share how they read between the lines, helped a senior solve their problem and it resulted in a move in?

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 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

How to Train a “Green” Senior Living Sales Person (Part 2)

How to Train a “Green” Senior Living Sales Person (Part 2)

"Green" Senior Living Sales PeopleThis week I want to share with you which four techniques I used to train a new “green” sales person recently.

Last week, I talked about four sales training techniques in “How to Train a “Green” Senior Living Sales Person (Part 1)”: Shadowing an existing sales person, throwing the new “green” person in (with no senior housing experience) to just start selling, sending them out to study the competition and a dedicated all day training.

Recently, the first step I used training a “green” sales person was an all day training with the marketing team.  This was crucial, so she could have immediate knowledge of how this business works in a nutshell.  I interactively taught her and the team how to engage with a prospective resident, build a relationship in a short time and help someone make a decision to move to our community for the next chapter of his or her life.  She heard the successes of the other retirement counselors and she started to visualize how easy this business can really be.

The second step was letting HR do their thing and allowing her to shadow some quality senior living sale people, so the all day training would sink in a little more.

The third step was sending her out to study the competition.  This helped her articulate the strengths and weaknesses of our Continuing Care Retirement Community versus the retirement community down the street.  She truly saw the business through the eyes of the senior customer and learned what a senior housing interrogation, from one of our neighboring competitors, can feel like.

The fourth step was having her start to become a student of this business.  She started studying the web site, all the marketing materials and reading a senior housing book with 12 keys to marketing senior housing.  During training there is a half an hour here or an hour there, when the trainer (me) may need to address something that has nothing to do with training.  These can be opportunities for the “green” person to read a chapter of a senior housing training book like “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full.”  Part of the reason, I wrote this book was to help train “green” sales people quickly.

Actually, I used all the steps that I talked about in Part 1, except throwing them in to sink or swim.  Once my “green” person knew the right way to build a relationship with a prospective resident, I sent them out to study the competition and their eyes were opened.  They have no doubt that our Continuing Care Retirement Community is the best.  I think it is vital to get your person to believe in their heart that your retirement community is the best and a great value for the money – as soon as possible.

Good luck and I would love to hear your stories of what training techniques worked best for your new employees and why…

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 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

How To Train a “Green” Senior Living Sales Person (Part 1)

How To Train a “Green” Senior Living Sales Person (Part 1)

Training "Green" Sales PeopleWhen a brand new sales person starts, what is most important to teach first?  My definition of “green” is that they have never worked in senior housing before.  “Part-green” means they have some background in senior housing like working in the homecare industry.  I love coaching “green” and “part-green” senior living sales people.

So what do you teach a “green” sales person in the first couple of weeks?

Is it shadowing an existing sales person?  You may or may not be lucky enough to have a quality person they can shadow.  It can be very helpful, but it can also get a little boring for the trainee.  If this is your whole training program, then you are missing the boat of opportunity.

Do you just throw them in to sink or swim immediately?  This might not be the brightest idea.  They don’t understand the business and what you offer yet.  Leads are money, so are you willing to just blow off some potentially hot leads, because a “green” person does not know how they should be managed properly?  Some smaller retirement communities have no choice, because they only have one marketer.

Or do you send them out to study the competition?  This can be very important in the first couple weeks of training and allows them to compare senior housing communities like the prospects would.  They can start to articulate the strengths and weaknesses of their own community versus the retirement community down the street.

How about a dedicated all day training?  You could spend a whole day with an interactive program that explains how the prospect really thinks, what to do when the prospect arrives at your community, how to ask discovery questions without interrogating someone, the steps on giving a “wow” tour, helping the prospect connect that your community is the answer to their problem and how to complete the interaction at the end — with determining the next step(s).  This is how I started a “green” person two weeks ago.

What has worked and not worked for you – training “green” sales people?  Next week I will share what techniques I use training “green” sales people and why…

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 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

Role Playing Can Help Senior Living Sales People Improve

Role Playing Can Help Senior Living Sales People Improve

Role Playing Can Improve Sales Performance

Role Playing Can Improve Sales Performance

Some senior living sales people know it all!  Do you have one of these?  Others are like sponges and thrive learning a new technique or improving their sales performance.

Role-playing as a team can help standardize sales techniques. This could happen at a weekly sales meeting, but I think a retreat format can be more effective.  It’s hard for a senior living sales person to switch off working and jump into role-playing.  It’s better to set the stage in a comfortable atmosphere.  Last week we talked about the importance of a sales and marketing retreat to rejuvenate and inspire the team.

Here are some great topics to role-play:

  • The opening greeting and questions for a walk-in prospective resident
  • Discovery questions – make sure seniors don’t feel interrogated
  • Giving a “wow” tour
  • How to prevent objections
  • A variety of closes
  • Asking for the deposit – multiple times

In a team environment, there are always stronger sales performers.  Have them role-play first.  It makes them feel valued and other sales people can learn from them.  If no one on the team knows how to do the role-playing topic correctly or it’s a new technique, always teach by example first.

Everyone hates role-playing, but boy does it work.  Watch the sales increase and your occupancy go up, up and up.

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 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