10 Ideas for Operations to WOW Senior Living Sales

10 Ideas for Operations to WOW Senior Living Sales

10 Senior Living TipsHere are 10 bright ideas on how the operations team can WOW senior living prospects and help increase sales and occupancy.

  1. Does the housekeeping department touch up the entrance to the senior living community and tour path areas several times per day (particularly in the fall when leaves are everywhere)?
  2. Are the retirement community’s walls touched up by maintenance on a regular basis (as they get marked up by walkers)?
  3. Will dining services make a WOW presentation of the food and use the china instead of disposal plates and styrofoam cups?
  4. Are the receptionists willing to stand up to greet marketing guests?
  5. Does the activity director reschedule resident classes in advance, so residents are not angry with the marketing staff on the day of an event (seniors don’t like short notices)?
  6. Will the transportation department pick up senior living prospective residents who don’t drive and transport them to and from the senior living community for a tour?
  7. Are the landscaping, signage and building exterior in prime condition for first impressions?
  8. Does every department head go out of their way to introduce themselves to senior living prospective residents?
  9. Has every manager encouraged their frontline staff to smile and greet all guests and residents?
  10. Will department heads take two hours per month to help at sales and marketing events?

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.
15 CCRC Move-Ins in One Month?!!?

15 CCRC Move-Ins in One Month?!!?

CCRC Team SalesThen add another 17 Continuing Care Retirement Community move-ins scheduled for these two California CCRC’s in the next 3 months…This has been the result of a good work ethic for the previous 3 months.

  • 300 calls per month per sales person
  • 20 tours per month per sales person

The sales will come when the work ethic is in place – trust me – it works.

Break the monthly goal down to a daily goal of 15 calls and one tour per day.  A new senior living sales person can easily do it.  A director of marketing with sales responsibilities can do it too.

In order for the two senior living sales teams to have this much success – they need to be backed by amazing operational teams that support marketing 100%:

  • First, you need to have enough leads walking in the door and coming to events.  Hopefully your corporation supports marketing with an adequate advertising budget.
  • Do you enjoy a great reputation of serving excellent food?  Our chef is a tremendous support to my teams and makes events and tours memorable.
  • How is your health care reputation?  Do the local hospitals and doctors recommend your assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care?  If they don’t  – fix it now!
  • Guests need to drive up and see beautiful landscaping, a well cared for building and an ultra clean retirement community.  It may be time to remodel if it’s been 10 years or looks tired.
  • Friendly residents and smiling staff – these two can make or break sales and my communities have both!
  • Can prospective senior residents SEE your residents having fun with an amazing calendar of events including regular live entertainment, exciting outings and themed meals?  Seniors won’t move to a boring retirement community.
  • Transportation can even increase sales by their willingness to pick up prospective residents and bring them in for a tour or an event.

So set a monthly sales goal for your retirement community and have everyone participate in achieving it.  When the sales come, it is not for the glory of marketing, it’s an entire retirement community’s achievement.  Everyone wins and the residents love having new vibrant seniors to connect with at dinner and activities.

Please share your success, failures or 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

Your Marketing Reputation – Implications and Promises

Your Marketing Reputation – Implications and Promises

Reputations in Senior LivingDo you and your retirement community’s reputation align?  I love it when I hire a senior living sales person and they say, “I want to make sure this community will deliver what I promise to the customer.”  Then they may go on to share a horror story of a previous senior living provider and how this was not the case.  It’s hard to imagine these sad stories and how seniors can be mistreated.

In today’s world of social media, blog posts and online commenting – operations at senior living organizations have to work hard to maintain an excellent reputation.  Around 97% of a retirement community’s employees are operations (taking care of the residents) and 3% are the friendly faces to increase the occupancy.  Sales and marketing represent the good faith promise of taking care of a senior or someone’s parent in a compassionate, respectful and timely fashion.

I believe longevity of staff plays a key role in providing consistent quality care and services in independent living and Continuing Care Retirement Communities settings.  A well run operational team is even more important in the higher levels of care like assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing care where the senior residents are most vulnerable.

Does the right hand always know what the left hand is doing?

Executive directors (E.D.) and administrators can be the glue that connects operations and sales.  An excellent operations team is a key to enjoying a great reputation of quality care with local hospitals and doctors.  Residents and guests will always speak out about the food quality; this can make or break new sales.  A great E.D. will have operations focus on sales and marketing.  This includes excellent customer service for all senior residents and guests (in every department).  On the other side of the coin, sales and marketing need to accurately represent what the community really provides (don’t promise more than what can be delivered with your licensing).

It’s easy to spot the good quality teams!  Just walk down the hall of any retirement community and see the faces of the employees.  Smiles and happy dispositions indicate that they enjoy their work and have a team spirit.   Sour faces already speak negatively to the quality of care provided for the residents.

I hope you and your retirement community enjoy a good reputation…

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

Deciding To Use Incentives Or Not In Senior Living?

Deciding To Use Incentives Or Not In Senior Living?

Incentives in Senior HousingWhat Is The Best Incentive You Have Ever Given In Senior Living?

Discounting can be the owner’s operational nightmare and the sales persons best friend.  Incentives cost the company money and affect the bottom line.  Just giving away one month of rent can cost $2000 – $6000 depending on the retirement community.  Yet, empty apartments are losing revenue month-after-month.  Should you or should you not use incentives?

I believe that incentives can permanently ruin some sales people.  Some sales people can ONLY sell apartments with incentives.  When the gravy train stops they don’t know how to just simply sell an apartment at regular price to a senior.  Seriously?!?  In my opinion, this is right up there with someone who is simply an order taker in senior living.

The benefit of incentives is bumping up the occupancy to get ahead of the move outs in a very short period of time.  Every senior living community has to look at their financials and determine what is best for them.  If you have more two-bedrooms than one-bedrooms, an incentive on two-bedrooms can create balance again in your inventory.  It is a funny thing in our industry – how every five years the surplus of a certain size apartment switches.  Right now everyone seems to want a one bedroom…

Here are some common assisted living and independent living incentives:

  • One free month
  • The fourth month free
  • No move in fee or a discount on the community fee
  • A free TV
  • A moving or downsizing allowance

Continuing Care Retirement Communities can use the same or different incentives:

  • 90 – 100% Returnable entrance fees
  • A percentage off future healthcare
  • Paying for the move completely
  • Discounting apartments that are the farthest walk from the dining room
  • A discount off the entrance fee if a prospect commits to moving in within a short period of time

Do you use incentives?  Which ones?  Which incentive in your career resulted in the biggest flurry of sales for your retirement community?  My favorite incentive of all time was a 100% returnable entrance fee at a new community that I opened.  It worked like a charm!  Within months, 70% of the building was spoken for, so we could start construction.

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

6 Reasons Why You Should Take Your Senior Housing Co-workers To Lunch

6 Reasons Why You Should Take Your Senior Housing Co-workers To Lunch

Senior Housing Co-worker LunchAre you so busy selling at work, that you thank a co-worker for their help as you race down the hall to your next appointment?  Sales and marketing in senior housing cannot exist without operational support.  To pull off a fantastic event, it takes great dining services, housekeeping and maintenance teams.  Often the activity department is helping out too.

When moving residents into an apartment, it’s a collaborative effort between sales, maintenance and housekeeping.  Once the resident moves into their new home at your retirement community, it takes the integration of the dining and activities team to help the senior feel settled.  Take a moment to slow down and invite a few key department heads to lunch this week.

6 Tips when you take your senior housing co-workers to lunch:

  1. Appreciate how each department wants the senior residents to have a great life.  Ultimately, all the department heads love the residents and want to do a great job serving them.
  2. Explain how sales and marketing appreciates the other departments. Share a few stories of how residents have shared with sales and marketing about how they have been helped by maintenance staff, housekeeping or had an incredible dining experience…
  3. Develop a deeper working relationship.  Your lunch will create a shared experience.  Ask – what are their biggest challenges now?  Share what marketing challenges have happened recently and how many calls or appointments you do on weekly or monthly basis.  (They may think you just sit in your office and chat with people on the phone or in person.  How hard can that be?)
  4. Solve an on-going challenge without being in someone’s office or “territory.”  For example: Every community could use better collaboration and communication in regards to apartment renovations.
  5. Take a moment to laugh.  Show that sales and marketing is human and wants to enjoy the journey with them!
  6. Pick up the check and say thank you again!   The other department heads will love you and feel appreciated.

How does your maintenance, housekeeping and sales teams coordinate to have the apartments ready for a move-ins?  Are you organized enough to have 50 or 100 move-ins this year?  Figure out how to improve as a senior community team over lunch.  My meeting is scheduled for Monday…

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

Top 12 Traits Needed to Fill a Senior Living Community?

Top 12 Traits Needed to Fill a Senior Living Community?

Hiring in Senior LivingWhat is your recipe for hiring a successful senior living sales person at your retirement community?  There are so many qualified candidates, what are your must have personality traits?  When I interview, here are the qualities that I look for in no particular order:

1)   Phone Experience and Voice – The applicant needs a great phone voice to even qualify for a live interview with me!  What is their history of making calls?  Have they made 50 calls in at least one day of their career?  How many calls did they need to make in order to have one live customer?  Phone calling can be one third of the job to fill the building.  It is crucial to have ongoing phone contact with our leads to make cool leads – warm, warm leads – hot and hot leads turning into move-ins.

2)   Real Sales Experience – They need to be able to give examples of how to warm people up, find communality, do discovery and educate the customer on a wonderful service.  I need to be able to visualize them describing our Continuing Care Retirement Community or Assisted Living.  I don’t require a background in senior living sales.

3)   Closing Experience – What is their closing ratio?  How many live customers do they need in order to achieve one sale?  Did they close me?

4)   Listener – If they practice good listening skills with me, then they can do the same for the customer.  This is vital…

5)   Teachable – Are they willing to learn and grow?  Some people want to live in a rut.  I want someone who can morph themselves and strategize the sales presentation and closing techniques based on the current economy.  I want someone who is willing to be a student of this business.

6)   Genuine – Are they believable?  Will the customer embrace their passion?

7)   Sincere love and compassion for seniors – Have they ever cared for a senior or helped find skilled nursing care for a relative or neighbor?  Do they have a history in working with seniors?

8)   Team Player – Is it all about them or do they enjoy and contribute to a team approach?  Operations definitely has a team approach in caring for the residents.  Marketing works best with a team approach as well!  I like to hear examples…

9)   Motivated by helping others improve their lives? – Does this rock their boat or is it all money, money, money?

10)   Education – If they had the dedication to complete their schooling, then they can have the dedication to fill the building.

11)    Professional Appearance – Great smile, well groomed and speaks well – These are all a must!

12)   Computer Literate? – Can they type at a decent speed, navigate through Word and Excel and learn a new database quickly?

Please share your top 12 favorite traits in hiring a senior housing sales person or feel free to add onto mine…

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/