New E-Book for Senior Housing Marketing

New E-Book for Senior Housing Marketing

12516_books_boty_400x80-ed._CB320897953_New E-book is now available, “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full.” 

Senior Housing MarketingRated by Amazon Editors as one of the best books of 2014!

“Diane’s book is an important resource for the senior housing industry. It contains tips and advice to help the novice, as well as the experienced marketer, build or maintain census. It is also a terrific guidebook for executive directors or administrators to use in managing the marketing function.”

— Chris McKenzie, VP Marketing, PR & Communications, multi-site CCRC organization

“Smart senior housing professionals understand that full occupancy means better cash flows and an improved bottom line. Diane’s practical, relevant strategies and tactics are must read material for any senior housing professional wanting insight on how to best fill and maintain full occupancy at their community. Presented in a positive and direct manner, this book is full of useful information delivered straight from the front line.”

— Richard M. Mazza, senior housing consultant, development & finance professional; former Chief Accounting Officer and Interim CFO

“A useful guide for both non-profit and for-profit senior housing organizations, with checklists, ideas, and reminders of essential elements all good managers and sales people need to be effective in filling senior living homes and apartments. Diane’s techniques can bring immediate results.”

—Thomas Becker, retired CEO & President of Pacific Retirement Services

There are 14 more testimonials on Amazon. If this book has helped you or your organization, please share your experience on Amazon or in the comment section below.

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.

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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/

Great Events Can Fill Your Building

Are you afraid of events or do you embrace them? How innovative are your events? Are they attracting qualified prospects to your community? The sole purpose of events is to have new prospects walk in your door and say, “Wow! This is where I want to live.” This chapter goes into detail on ideas and how to put on a great event.

What is your definition of an event? For example, the community picnic is a wonderful celebration for all residents and their families. It is not an appropriate event to invite prospects because they don’t want to see the sea of wheelchairs and walkers from the assisted living and skilled nursing residents. Please do not call this a marketing event. The community picnic is an event for existing residents and should be handled by resident services/activity directors. Marketing directors can help, but they need to stay focused on new sales or there won’t be any.

So how many marketing events should you be having? My recommendations:

  • Large events should be held three to four times a year.
  • Small events should be one to two times a month, depending on occupancy needs and your ability to attract new faces.

Let’s break each of them down from start to finish for ideas and planning to produce effective events.

A large event draws one hundred to three hundred attendees. Who do you invite? First on your guest list is your wait list. There are people percolating on your wait list who just need a subtle push to call the moving van and order change of address cards. If your event is done properly, it should result in three to five move-ins in the next quarter. Secondly, one-third of your guests must be new faces. These will come from two sources: advertising and resident referrals. I recommend a quarter page ad in your local newspaper. Please see recommendations for a newspaper ad in Media Buying, Advertising, Public Relations, and Community Building with a Skinny Piggy Bank. The third group to invite is friends of the residents. Many communities get 50 percent or more of their new leads from resident referrals.

Tip: The best way to get resident referrals is to let residents know that they have an opportunity to attend this fabulous event if they bring a guest who is interested in moving to your community. Hello? Knock, knock? Many of your residents’ friends probably qualify age-wise and financially to move to your community. Start informing the residents two months ahead of the event.

Tip: Make the event something exciting enough that residents will be able to enthusiastically endorse it and want their friends to attend. Do not have the CEO or a botanist describing the cross section of a leaf to be the main speaker. You may as well have an event to watch your newly painted walls dry. No offense to CEOs, but you are not a big enough draw. A resident’s Disney family vacation slide shows are for the residents to see, not your prospects. That theme will make your guest feel grumpy, dopey, and sleepy. Now if you wanted to invite the real Mickey Mouse and give away a trip for two to Disneyland…but that might be too expensive and that would be goofy.

To summarize your event attendance goals:

  • Approximately one-third new faces
  • One-third wait list members
  • One-sixth will be second looks (their second time in your community)
  • Less than one-sixth will be residents (who have invited a new face guest)

Planning should start a minimum of three months before the event date. Begin planning with the end result in mind. An event starts with an idea…

This was an excerpt from “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full.” The book has step by step instructions on how to have an excellent event.  http://www.amazon.com/Senior-Housing-

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/

Do You Have Proactive or Reactive Marketing?

One of the reasons your occupancy may be down is because you may have reactive marketing. What does this mean? Do any of the following scenarios happen at your community?

  • You walk into Bored Brad’s marketing office and he’s sorting paper clips. He just wants to give a tour but no one is coming in or calling the community.
  • When you stop by Blabby Barbara’s office, she is on the phone, but you quickly determine that she’s talking to a friend and not a potential resident.
  • Residents complain to management that phone calls to the marketing department are not returned in a timely fashion to friends they have referred and who are prospective residents. You march right over to Moody Marbella on your marketing team to address the residents’ concerns. She responds by changing the subject and, worse, blaming you with her explanation, “Events won’t work. Low occupancy is not my fault.” Do you think she missed the point?

Does this really happen? Yes! Reactive marketing people truly exist and I have worked with some of them. It can be a challenge to determine if the new team you are managing is reactive, but once you know the symptoms it’s easy to identify:

Symptom 1) Reactive marketing does not have programs or policies in place to make a certain number of outbound phone calls per day. This means every day.

Symptom 2) After conducting a tour, reactive marketing people wait for prospects to call them back to say they are interested in moving in. This is really the function of an order taker and not the attitude of a professional salesperson.

Symptom 3) Reactive marketers urge spending money on advertising because they claim they don’t have any leads and therefore no new sales.

Symptom 4) Reactive marketers exhibit a lack of urgency to answer the phone within two rings.

Symptom 5) Reactive marketers have a lackadaisical attitude returning phone, web, and social media inquiries.

These reactive marketing teams are waiting for walk-ins and call-ins. They believe the customer should just say, “Yep, here’s my deposit. Let’s call the moving company right now.”

Spending money on new leads is a waste of the marketing budget for a reactive marketing team. Many prospects can be slow (which is normal) to make a decision.  A reactive marketer does not initiate calls with the non-hot prospects, so a cool or lukewarm prospect will never be contacted again. This means that 20 percent to 30 percent of sales can just slip through the fingers of this type of marketer. This really does happen, and it can be affecting your financial performance.   Is it?

This was an excerpt from “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full.

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 coach your senior living marketing team (CCRC, independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care) or have her put on a sales retreat for your organization – please call: 206-853-6655 or email diane@marketing2seniors.net.  For more information: Twitter: @market2seniors Web: www.marketing2seniors.net Blog: http://marketing2seniors.net/blog/