Showing Un-Renovated Apartments?  Bad Idea!!!!!

Showing Un-Renovated Apartments? Bad Idea!!!!!

Un-Renovated Senior Living Apartments This picture is worth a thousand words.  What is the state of your available apartments?  On a recent trip to Oregon, the best place in town had this in the tub.  I wanted to throw up.  Really?  Yet, I have seen this and worse when mystery shopping senior living communities.

Your maintenance team is overworked and they don’t have time to do apartment renovations.  So many senior residents are moving out…maintenance can’t keep up.  So senior living sales people have to show apartments that are not clean or renovated.  Is this fine at your retirement community?  Non-renovated apartments have sold that way before, right?

Wrong?!!!  This is a poor long-term strategy and bad first impression to fill the building and increase occupancy.  Don’t listen to the maintenance team blues!  Here are four quick solutions if your retirement community is in this boat…

  1. Only show model apartments period.  Never ever show a disgusting apartment that someone just moved out of.  It is not available to show ever!!!!
  2. If you don’t have model apartments, make arrangements with a few residents to show their apartments.  It’s always nice to have one or two residents who say you may show their apartment anytime.
  3. Have housekeeping clean up the disgusting apartment now, before it is shown to single a person.  (I know this is double work for housekeeping, cleaning it before and after renovation.  The extra clean does help sell apartments and improves first impressions.)
  4. The fourth choice is to pay an outside company to renovate apartments at your senior living community.  I know it costs more money than doing it in-house.  Please look at it in a new way…every month that an apartment remains empty, the senior living organization loses $2,000 to $6,000 in a monthly fee.

Please give sales and marketing the tools they need to create great first impressions and sell it now.  Showing models works great for a senior just looking or thinking two or three months out.  If you want those 48-hour move-ins or two-week move-ins, then clean up the apartments that need to be sold now.  

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.  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 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.
3 Simple Holiday Impressions to Increase or Maintain Occupancy

3 Simple Holiday Impressions to Increase or Maintain Occupancy

First Impressions in Senior LivingBoomers flock from all areas of the country to visit their senior parents during the holidays.  Many will come to your senior living community…are you ready?  One of two things will happen after the visit: they will either decide to support their parents moving into your community or they will move them out of your retirement community.  First impressions for Boomer children are critical to your occupancy.

Here are 3 simple tips to either increase occupancy or maintain occupancy over the holidays:

  1. Have the receptionist stand to greet all visitors with a welcoming smile.  If the receptionist is engaged on the phone, a warm smile and eye contact will acknowledge the guest.   When a Boomer says they are visiting his or her mom, inquire who the parent is and give a positive comment about your resident.  Ask if you can give the Boomer easy directions to the resident’s apartment or have someone escort them if it hard to find.  Make them feel 100% important.
  2. Be ready to have someone give a “wow” tour at all times.  A staff person or resident should be on call.  Don’t make someone wait 15 minutes as you call around the community sounding desperate on the phone.  It makes the guest feel guilty and makes them wonder what kind of care you would give his or her parent.
  3. Ensure that a huge stack of brochures is available at the front desk.  It’s very tacky to say that you are out of brochures and the marketing department will be here the next day…the sale is lost.

Finally, if you have a fireplace in your lobby, it is a huge asset this time of year.  It creates the warm ambiance of home.  What are your other tips?

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.
Balancing Discovery vs. Interrogation in Senior Living Sales?

Balancing Discovery vs. Interrogation in Senior Living Sales?

Interrogation in Senior Living SalesWhen you initially sit down with a senior prospective resident – what is their first impression of you?  Are you like a detective on TV, asking care needs – one after another?  Or are you the compassionate sales person who cares and wants to help the senior solve their problem?

When I do mystery shopping, I find that 80% of senior living sales people are interrogators.  This is an extremely high statistic; this means that only 20% of sales people come across as kind and compassionate.

How can you know if you are an interrogator and don’t mean to be one?

1)   Don’t get to the nitty gritty details too fast…

2)   Do offer a beverage – especially when it’s hot outside– I have been touring on 90-degree days and was not offered a beverage – this really happens…

3)   Invite guests to sit down – don’t tell them to sit here or just point to a chair…

4)   Don’t shut a prospective resident in your office – this happened to me 80% of the time and causes people to keep their wall up and not relax with you.

5)   Don’t sit across a desk from someone, give up your control and meet around a round table, in the lobby on comfy chairs or in the model apartment.

6)   Find out about what is most important to the senior or the adult children…why did they come to your retirement community today?

7)   Do ask how they are doing (what they are feeling) and take the time to listen!

Do you want to increase sales, move-ins and up the occupancy?  Then stop interrogating people…it is a horrible experience for the senior and their family members!

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

Why is this the BEST TIME of the Year TO CALL Your Database!

Why is this the BEST TIME of the Year TO CALL Your Database!

The last couple of weeks before Christmas and New Years is a key time to call your senior living database.  When visiting family members (like boomer children) say, “Mom or Dad – let’s start exploring retirement housing options for you.”  The senior can say, well The Village or Freedom Village just called last week…  The Boomer children will say, “Great, let’s go check that community out first.”

Many sales people spend their entire precious selling time – attending resident holiday parties, enjoying carolers or other live entertainment.  This is not the time to sit back on your laurels and hope your retirement community will miraculously get fuller in 2013.

The work ethic of a senior living sales person before New Years can dictate a surge of move-ins in early 2013.  This is an opportunity to jump the census by 2 – 5 percentage points!

It’s time to smile and dial, because this is the best time of the year to call your database.  Many seniors are lonely and you may be the only phone call they receive during their entire day.  Able-bodied seniors drive or fly to see children and grandchildren for the holidays – so they may not be home.  Frailer seniors have to hope their kids will come visit them and are usually home.  Either way, the children may notice a change in their senior parent(s) and start exploring options.  Make sure your senior living community is top of mind with the senior – it only takes a simple phone call!

Call Your Database Now to Increase Occupancy for Early 2013!

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/

8 Keys to Create Compelling Events that Drive Sales in Senior Living

8 Keys to Create Compelling Events that Drive Sales in Senior Living

Do you have 50 plus prospective residents at every event?  If not, why not?  Here are just eight keys to keep in mind when planning great events that can fill your building.

1)   Pick a theme that would compel a senior to leave the comfort of their home, spend $4.00 a gallon on gas to drive to your retirement community and want to invite a friend to enjoy the experience with them.

2)   Organize your event, so every first impression is excellent.  Have someone out front directing parking, greet them at the door with a registration table, train tour guides, your community should be spotless, have an exciting program and maybe most important – present excellent food and beverages for their enjoyment.

3)   The goal is fill your building!  If you are going to have live entertainment, there must still be a 10 to 15 minute program with a resident testimonial.   Or maybe you are going to have a Power Point of your benefits and what differentiates you from other senior living communities?  Don’t be boring…

4)   You only have the senior’s attention for about 1½ hours maximum, so if you spend the time feeding and entertaining them, they will be too tired to tour your community.  Strategize out every minute they are going to be in the building.

5)   Invite them to come back and spend more time, so they can get a better feel of your retirement community.  It’s hard for people to decide in 1½ hours where they are going to spend the next chapter of their life.

6)   There should be at least 1/3 new faces at your event.

7)   Some senior living communities draw new prospective seniors best by advertising with direct mail, others with newspaper and still others work best with a combo.

8)   After spending all the time, money and staff resources on a great event, don’t forget to call them the next day.  Invite them back…

I had two events this week for Continuing Care Retirement Communities; one drew 85 seniors to RSVP in a rural area and the other had over 100 seniors RSVP in a metropolitan area.  This traffic will help fill the building for the next two months.

Do you want more information on how to put on a great event?  Chapter 6 of “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” offers a step-by-step approach to successful events and many ideas for compelling themes.  Good luck and please share your success…

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/

Calling it – “The steak is the shoulder of a cow” – In Senior Living?

Calling it – “The steak is the shoulder of a cow” – In Senior Living?

Prime cuts of beefThe first impressions of the dining experience at your senior living community can affect occupancy…or someone coming back…

Is your community twenty years old and does it look it?  Can you add fresh flowers on each dining table to spruce it up?  Are linen tablecloths and napkins a standard?  Or have you cut these items from your operations budget?  You may have a great chef, the best service and a beautiful dining room, but the wrong words can also leave a bad impression…

On a recent trip to Seattle, my family decided to go to McCormick and Schmicks – a nice dining restaurant on the water.  The waiter greeted us and shared his steak and lobster special of the day.  Hmm, I thought – that sounds good.  We asked what type of steak it was.  Then he said, “The steak is the shoulder of a cow.”  He walked away from us, so we could contemplate the menu and we immediately started saying – what???  Why would someone talk about the steak as the shoulder of cow, which is not very appetizing?  My sister-in-law said, I envision a cow with a hacked off shoulder.”  We all started getting grossed out and laughing.    When the waiter came back, we teased him and told him that the shoulder of a cow did not sound good.  He apologized and said he forgot the proper term to say which was “Terrace Major.”  We all agreed that was not appetizing either.

What descriptor words are on your retirement community’s menu?  Is the dining staff trained to sell the food?  We’ve all been to fine dining restaurants where they describe the desert in a magnificent way or they bring a tray to show the yummy deserts – then it is really hard to say no.  Many senior living communities that I have visited – say, “Would you like desert?”  That’s it!?!!  They should say we have 10 deserts for you to select from, can I share the choices with you?  (Most retirement communities have many ice creams to choose from, a sugar free desert, a baked desert, fresh fruit and canned fruit.)

Let’s make our residents feel special every day of the week!  Dining should be a stimulating experience for them!  What does your senior living community do to make the residents feel like they are experiencing fine dining?

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/