6 “New Year Keys” For Occupancy Momentum!

6 “New Year Keys” For Occupancy Momentum!

Kick Start Your Senior Living Sales Momentum

Kick Start Your Senior Living Sales Momentum

Kick start your sales momentum in 2014!  Here are 6 keys that your senior living team can do simultaneously or add one technique per month to increase occupancy.

  1. Decide to be proactive instead of reactive with your retirement community’s database.  Set a goal of talking to the entire database this year.  Make so many calls per week and per month.  Call back every tour the next day.
  2. Create a new “wow” tour and teach other department heads the new tour.
  3. Study and learn a new closing technique.
  4. Ask for the deposit on every tour!
  5. Build strong relationships with prospects by caring about the senior’s best interests and not your paycheck.  They will feel the difference.
  6. Generate new avenues for more prospective seniors to learn about and come to your senior living community.

Start the New Year with excitement, learn a new technique and hug your team!  Group hug for everyone!

Please share your 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.  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.
Are Your Senior Living Prospects Dying?

Are Your Senior Living Prospects Dying?

129413596436283875Morgue.svg.medSenior living sales people fall into two different categories:

  • Proactive
  • Reactive

Proactive sales people in senior housing call their database  – the hot ones, the warm ones and yes even the older cold leads.  Reaching out and touching a senior every three to four months can fill your building.

Did you know that a senior’s life can change dramatically every six months?  It’s true.  They may have just been diagnosed with a degenerate disease like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes or some type of cancer.  Suddenly they realize that they are vulnerable and may need to live in a more supportive environment in the immediate future.

A senior who once told you it would be at least five years until they move, can suddenly turn into a one month move-in.  For those of you that call your database regularly, your phone call will spur the prospect into moving to your community sooner.  For those of you that don’t call your database, you are missing out.  That prospect will move somewhere and the community who advertises to them first will probably get the business.

Anyone who has been in this business for any length of time has had a prospective resident die.  It sucks and you feel horrible for them.  Congratulations, you know they died, because you are a proactive sales person.

Yesterday, one of my retirement counselors shared that his hottest prospect, he toured last week, had died.  He found out after he called and left a message.  The woman’s son called him back to say his mom had passed away.  The good news was by the end of that same day the retirement counselor had holds for two other apartments.  They are putting deposits down next week.   Your occupancy can increase with phone calls period.  Do you know if your prospects are dying?

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.
Strategizing Hot Leads?

Strategizing Hot Leads?

Strategizing in Senior Living SalesAre you strategizing out your next move with warm and hot senior housing leads on a daily or weekly basis?  A senior living sales person should always take time to reflect after an appointment with a prospective resident.  Immediately input notes into your lead database system (like REPS).  If you wait until the end of the day or don’t use a database system, this could be negatively affecting your occupancy. Jot down some key situational information:

  • Where are they living now?  Home value?
  • What prompted his or hers visit?
  • Is anyone helping them now?
  • What is their greatest concern?
  • Are they lonely?
  • Health issues?
  • Pets?
  • What is most important to them in a future home?
  • Which apartments did you show them and which one did they like best?
  • Assets? Monthly income?
  • What did they like best about your retirement community?
  • Could they see themselves living in your community?
  • Timeframe for moving in?

As a senior living sales person reflects on the above situation, a strategy for the next step in the sales process can start to formulate.  It is extremely beneficial to run this by a sales collogue, your director of marketing or your executive director.  I don’t care how many years that you have worked in this business; two heads can strategize better than one.  I discuss hot leads with my teams every week.  Team members contribute excellent suggestions to help a warm lead become hot or help turn a hot lead into a move-in.

Strategizing leads can be the spice of life to help increase your occupancy!  It works!!!

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

HELP – I Don’t Have Time to Make My Follow Up Calls!

Is this you?  Is this your senior living sales person?  Unless you have 10 to 15 tours a week, you have time to make follow up phone calls.  Some people share this song and dance with only having one or two tours for the week – really?  Come on…what are you really doing?

A legitimize excuse, for not making calls, would be having five move-ins for the week!  That’s a lot of paperwork!   If you were organizing a health fair with twenty venders to generate more leads – would also be worthy of a pass.

Time management is a beautiful thing and not everyone has this gift.  Sales people need coaching, goals and daily targets to achieve.  Break it down, to connecting with 15 people in a day.  Recent averages for my successful sales people would be about 30 phone calls in a day to achieve 15 voice-to-voice contacts (this can include call-ins, but mostly call-outs).  Out of the 15 voice contacts, they averaged scheduling 3 to 6 appointments per day for prospective residents to come to the community.  Two people, who were called in one day, were actually interested in moving in soon.  One person said, “The timing of your call was perfect, it’s time that I move into a retirement community.”

Phone calling success in senior housing includes inviting them to exciting events at the community, which you should have on at least a monthly basis.  Chapter six in my book Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full is Great Events Can Fill Your Building.

An almost imperceptible time drain can include taking too much time talking to residents and/or helping residents.  We love them so much and it’s so much easier to shoot the breeze with residents instead of hearing another “no” on the telephone from our database.  Our residents deserve dignity and respect.  But let’s look at all the employees at your senior living community… 97% or more of the employees are hired to take care of the residents.  Less than 3% handle the marketing to fill the building.  Marketers should redirect the resident to the 97% or more of the operational employees who are being paid to serve them.  I believe in the two-minute rule, any resident can have one to two minutes and then say, “I would love to talk longer, but I have a phone call, meeting or tour that I need to do,” (whatever is really true).

The bottom line is that proactive marketers make follow up phone calls the next day after a tour and on a regular basis communicate with their database.  Start increasing your occupancy today…

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 diane@marketing2seniors.net.  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.netBlog: http://marketing2seniors.net/blog/

The Occupancy is NOT my Fault!  It’s the Economy!

The Occupancy is NOT my Fault! It’s the Economy!

Have you heard this from your sales and marketing teams?  Is this what the executive director of your senior living community is saying?  Are you buying the popcorn?  Come on…wake up…seniors are moving into retirement communities everyday.  If it is not yours, it’s into your competition.

Is your senior living occupancy below 90%? The first thing to look at is the attitude of your team.  Do they believe they can do it?  Are they truly doing everything they can to fill the building?  Are you having exciting events to draw in new faces?  When guests arrive at your building are they treated like a precious jewel worth thousands of dollars?  They should be – one move-in could be worth $36,000 per year to your bottom line.  Does the receptionist jump up to great them?  Is your phone answered with clarity and enthusiasm?

Are the sales people selling the real estate or the emotion?  If your team is only selling the real estate (floor plans and apartments), people would just rather stay in their own home.   Senior living communities are about a vibrant lifestyle – do your offer one or is it just bingo?  Seniors want the security you offer instead of being isolated in their own home.  One of a senior’s biggest fears is having a bad fall, not being able to call for help and end up – stuck – lying on the floor for several days.   Are you sharing life-long-learning opportunities and the connectivity with like-minded seniors at your community?  Do you offer them?  How about sharing the peace of mind (in some CCRC’s) – just knowing that if something did happen to a resident’s finances they could have a guarantee of care for the rest of their lives?

The biggest tell tail sign of low occupancy is a low amount of call-outs after a tour.   It seems so obvious, to give a quick call to the previous day’s tours.  Just find out what they liked best the previous day, answer any more questions and always share something NEW that you failed to mention yesterday.  Consistent follow-up phone calls is the key! ALL seniors say they are not ready!  It means they don’t have enough information YET and they can’t picture themselves living there.  Keep inviting them back to exciting events! You don’t need every senior in your city to picture themselves at your community…only enough to have 100% occupancy.

My book, “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” teaches 12 keys to kick-start your sales and marketing program in the right direction.  Good luck and start watching your occupancy increase!

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 diane@marketing2seniors.net.  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/

The illustration has a copyright of 2011 by Diane Twohy Masson.  The illustration may not be reproduced – mechanically, electronically, or by any other means, including photocopying or scanning – without the written permission of the copyright holder. Requests for permission can be submitted to Marketing 2 Seniors.

How Many Sales Are Sitting in Your Senior Living Database?

First, you need to have a database!  Second, after each inquiry calls in or walks in, the contact information (senior and/or baby boomer adult children) needs to be captured in your database.  Most retirement communities have a database of 1,500 to 15,000 names (please note that real leads are somewhere in the department of 3,000 names or less).

I recommend that your leads be sorted into hot, warm and cool.  Hot leads will move into the community in the next two months, warm leads will move in about six months and cool leads are beyond a six-month move-in.  Hot leads should be touched weekly.  Warm leads should be touched bi-monthly depending on their situation.  Cool leads should be touched quarterly.

Typically, most senior housing organizations also have a large group of people who are not interested now and just want to be on the mailing list.  These need to be organized too!  Even when someone says, just put me on the mailing list and don’t call – I still schedule a call once a year with him or her.  Some of you may say, “No way – I will go by their wishes to never call!”  Well, what the senior is really saying is don’t bug me all the time, but I am interested in staying in touch.  NO one has ever been bothered by a yearly call from anyone on my teams!

Almost every lead in your database should be touched on a quarterly basis by telephone and by mail.  If the senior living sales person is making a minimum of 15 calls per day, that becomes 75 calls a week or 300 phone calls a month.  Three sales people can easily generate 900 calls a month or 2,700 calls on a quarterly basis.  Now with this amount of calls, it WILL GENERATE TOURS to your community.  Tours can turn into sales and sales will become move-ins.

If your community made all these calls for three months, it should generate 5 – 10 move-ins – just from your database.  It really works.

So why aren’t the sales people doing this now?  They need to be coached and directed!  Maybe the number of calls they are making needs to be added to their job description?  They need to be held accountable.  It is much easier to shoot the breeze with a resident and not make calls.  Calls can equal lots of rejections and no’s.

My book, “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” teaches senior living sales people how to overcome this fear and be persistent.   One little trick I share is counting your calls with hash marks on a piece of paper.  By the time someone talks to 20 people they should have scheduled 2 tours.  It may be the 19th and 20th calls – so don’t give up.  Good luck and start watching your occupancy increase!

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 diane@marketing2seniors.net.  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/