Discarding Great Leads?
There are thousands of senior living sales people across this country. After each tour, they have choice to pursue a viable lead or simply ignore it. Is your frontline sales staff making the right decision? Do you review new inquiry leads with them?
If not, why not?!!? It costs your senior living organization thousands of dollars to bring in new call-in leads and walk-in tours. Just this last week, I know of two sales people who each blew off a lead because it was not quick move-in. Luckily I caught them in time, so that follow up phone calls could happen.
One prospective resident couple had a complicated situation with a wife who wanted independent living with a husband who was qualified for skilled nursing care. They wanted to bring in their own caregiver and the man could not feed himself. The sales person felt it was too complicated to pursue.
I shared a story of a couple that came to my Continuing Care Retirement Community several years ago. The man was dying and the couple wanted to move to independent living together. My executive director said no, it was too hard on the other residents and he was not independent. In spite of this decision, I loved on this couple. Five months later, the husband died. I sent sympathy card. The wife appreciated me reaching out with caring kindness. Within weeks, she moved into my retirement community.
So when the senior living sales person called back this complicated prospective resident couple, he learned that the husband was in the hospital. He loved on the wife as I had suggested. I expect a move in the next six months from this additional phone encounter.
Do you have stories of difficult tours turning into sales?
Please consider joining this exclusive Marketing2Seniors blog and 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 currently writing a new book for seniors on how to select senior housing options. Her first book, “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” is available at Amazon.com with a five star rating. Masson continues to set 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. Her mom’s struggle with dementia is inspiring Diane to pen a third book to support adult children.
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When all the smoke and thunder blows away, which company can provide me the best quality leads that will increase my occupancy immediately? Keep reading for the answer. I was shocked to find out in my research how many Internet leads a senior housing community has to go through in order to get two sales – the answer can be about 100!
This is my third article regarding researching senior housing Internet referral companies. All the major players do a pretty good job of differentiating themselves from each other. Some companies seem to do a better job of identifying and targeting qualified leads than others. Some have great web sites, live care advisors, blogs or have fantastic placement on the Internet. A majority of the legitimate leads tend to need some help with the activities of daily living.
Pay Per Move In – In talking with a lot of administrators, in a variety of senior housing options, they tend to shy away from paying an entire month of rent for a move-in. It is a big chunk of change and I have personally experienced several bad outcomes with this choice. One challenge was when we offered the 2nd month free to get move-ins. The Internet company received one months rent, we gave the 2nd month away for free and the residents moved out at the end of the 2nd month. Yes, it cost us money to have these people live at our assisted living community.
I have also had great results with pay-per-move-in in the past, including increasing sales by 10% per month with straight independent living or assisted living rental properties. The key was working the leads immediately, because the Internet lead company would send the same lead to 5 or more of my competitors. The retirement community who called the lead first won and he who followed up two or three times also won.
Monthly Subscription – Monthly subscription Internet leads are not as high quality, because no live person filters them. About the only advantage I can see, is your community will be included in the paid search field at the top or side of a Google search (within that referral source). This will run you about $150 or more a month for this benefit.
Pay Per Lead – The companies that provide pay-per-lead have a wide variety of outcomes depending on their level of filtering the leads. You will pay $35 to $50 per lead with results ranging from 2% to 8% turning into move-ins. This means that every 50 leads your company calls will turn into a sale in the worse case scenario. The average for one company was about 4% or one sale in every 25 leads. One company claimed that the best quality sales people could produce one sale out of every 12 leads. Why the discrepancy? They said that lead results were better for those sales forces that proactively used quick follow up when the lead was received and then continued with multiple attempts of connecting with the prospective resident. I have found this to be 100% true with those I coach.
So the bottom line is the better the sales people, the lower the cost per lead. Internet leads come in, then sales people are supposed to turn them into tours, so they can become sales and finally become a move-in. What can you do if your sales people don’t manage leads effectively and you need to increase your occupancy now? A couple ideas would be to hire a sales coach or have stricter monitoring and management of metrics to set goals in your sales lead tracking system, both of which would help to increase existing performance on all your leads.
Pay Per Tour – There’s a new model that I’ve recently come across, pay per tour, which seems to address the efficiency and ROI challenges of all the existing models. This model addresses the lead efficiency issue that I’ve seen with some companies managing Internet leads while getting a reasonable effective cost per move-in.
It’s a new program being launched by Seniors for Living and based on their preliminary data they show an average of a move-in for every 4 to 7 tours (depending on the community).
The cost is around $400 per tour, so if my sales people provided great tours, an Internet move-in would only cost me around $2000. This would save me the hardest and most time-consuming part of the sale process which is following up the lead and qualification to get to the tour. I have spent 14 years in senior housing and have trained hundreds of sales people on how to turn inquiries on the telephone into great senior living tours so I know what it takes to get to a tour.
This pay per tour sounds like it will be the best approach, particularly for those retirement communities with sales teams already spread thin from their other sales activities. As part of my researching for this blog series and speaking with Seniors for Living I have begun working with them on their advisor training to help them refine their process to generate a better tour and the best overall experience for prospects and communities. Since this is a new approach I’m eager to see how this works with wider use by more senior living communities.
I look forward to hearing your feedback on all these models. What’s your experience?
Diane Twohy Masson is the author of “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available for sale at Amazon.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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: www.marketing2seniors.net Blog: http://marketing2seniors.net/blog/