Getting Ahead of the Curve of Senior Living Attrition

Getting Ahead of the Curve of Senior Living Attrition

Senior Housing MarketingEvery organization approaches goals a little differently.  Some senior living communities set sales and occupancy goals that are never achieved.   Each month and year the occupancy dips a little lower with constant resident attrition.  How do you get ahead of the curve?

Well, someone needs to create a sales and marketing strategic plan for your individual independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing care or Continuing Care Retirement Community.  The plan needs to be implemented and every sales person and operational team member needs to be on board.  The focus should be on the simultaneous goals of serving the existing residents and increasing the occupancy with new move-ins.

There are twelve keys that I have developed to increase the occupancy of all types of senior housing.  Some keys can be implemented immediately for quick results and other keys are a process that can take some time to develop and execute.   The bottom line is these twelve keys work and it is my joy to reach 100% occupancy.  Here are the keys in a nutshell; the details are contained in my book called Senior Housing Marketing – How To Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full:

Key 1 – Attitude toward Occupancy – Turn Your Change into Dollars

  • Occupancy-driven Marketing Reports that will Wow Your CFO

Key 2 – Quit Blabbing! Control the Flow of Information

  • Tip: Five Steps to Controlling the Flow of Information
  • Decreasing Apartment Availability
  • Create Urgency for the Wait List

Key 3 – Dare to Differentiate Yourself from Your Competition

  • Keep the Waiting List FULL through Branding

Key 4 – Do You Have Proactive or Reactive Marketing?

  • Effective Follow-Up Inquiry Goals
  • The Typical Behavior of the Average Prospective Resident
  • Follow Up – When and How Much?

Key 5 – Building Value for Your Community – Giving a Wow Experience!

  • “How much does an apartment cost?”
  • Let them push up the price point

Key 6 – Great Events can fill Your Building

  • What is the timing of an effective program?
  • Step-By-Step Event Planner Guidelines

Key 7 – Never Say to the Customer…

  • Use health services words that add value and differentiate you from the competition!

Key 8 – Selling to Personalities

  • Are you selling to their personality type—or yours?

Key 9 – Hard or Soft Closing?

  • Hot Buttons
  • Objections
  • Recognizing Buying Questions
  • Types of Closes
  • Make Urgency!

Key 10 – Internal Customers – no need to worry about them, right? Wrong!

Key 11 – Join the Twenty-first Century with your Website, E-mail Blasts, and Social Media

  • How can you save money building a website?
  • “I just don’t have time to be responsible for social media…”

Key 12 – Media Buying, Public Relations, and Community Relations with a Skinny Piggy Bank

  • Keeping the costs affordable in the marketing plan
  • The magic three to build attendance at an event

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.
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.
Stop Multitasking and Increase Sales in Senior Living

Stop Multitasking and Increase Sales in Senior Living

Stop Multitasking and Increase Sales in Senior LivingAre you juggling these 10 things all at the same time in your assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing care or Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)?

  1. The phone is ringing with a new inquiry
  2. There is a new walk-in in the lobby
  3. Scheduled tours are arriving
  4. Going to a meeting requested by your Executive Director or Director of Marketing
  5. Working with maintenance to make sure the apartment is renovated properly
  6. Finishing the paperwork for a new move-in
  7. Calling the doctor to have them send back a medical report for a new move in
  8. Touring a family member of an upcoming move-in
  9. Residents coming in the office to ask questions
  10. Preparing for the next event

What is not on this list? What about calling or following-up with anyone in your database? I know…you don’t have time. But you do have time…

Did you know it takes 25 to 40 percent longer to get a job done when you are multitasking? Yes!! So how do you become more efficient? Work on one task at a time. Shut the door to your office for one hour and just make calls in the morning. If you do this everyday, you can make about 15 calls a day.

Two things will happen if you take the time to increase your calls:

  1. Your sales will increase, because you will be proactively marketing versus reactively waiting for every customer to call you back.
  2. Your occupancy will rise, because the percentage of senior prospects who select an apartment on the first tour are low. The average person touring assisted living needs to see it three times and CCRC sales can take three to six visits.

Focus on one task at a time and become more effective and efficient – EVERYTIME.

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 best-selling 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.
Which Internet Lead Referral Company Provides the Most Value?

Which Internet Lead Referral Company Provides the Most Value?

Value for the MoneyWhen 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 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/

I’m Not Ready Yet!!!!

I’m Not Ready Yet!!!!

When you hear a senior prospect or family member say these words – what runs through your mind first?  How do you respond?  Do you believe them?  At every encounter with a prospective resident, someone always buys the popcorn – either the sales person or the senior!

Recently, I was going through some retirement community’s databases and lead after lead after lead had a “NRY” as the number one response in the notes.  I had to ask, “What is “NRY”?”  The retirement counselors in unison said, “Not ready yet.”  I thought quietly to myself, “Why the heck would anyone put such a negative assertion in his or her database?”  The next time they look at the lead, they are going to immediately think that it’s a crappy lead.

I believe that every lead is great!  If someone hangs up on me, the prospective resident is just having a bad day.  I have actually called these back again and they have been receptive, come in for a tour and eventually moved in.

When someone says they are not ready yet, do you blow the person off like I see some sales people do?  Are you just looking for a quick sale on a silver platter or a 30-day move-in?  Well then you are missing a ton of sales and this is why the occupancy is down at your retirement community.  Real sales people know that persistence pays off.  I have called people every month for one year and then they turned into a sale!  Those can be the most gratifying sales!

Do you have a Negative Nellie working your precious (expensive) senior housing leads that could be potential move-ins?  Believing Betty understands that each lead could be worth thousands of dollars and calls with enthusiasm and passion.  The customer needs to hear us smiling through the phone and feel our energy and excitement when they arrive in person.  We need to believe in our leads and keep calling them back…

When someone says they are not ready yet, they are one fall or one diagnosis away from suddenly wanting to move immediately.  Don’t schedule the next call for one year away, because it’s not the golden goose quick sale.  Understand the frailty of the senior customer and schedule to call them on a quarterly basis or your competition will get this move-in instead of you!

So when a senior tells me that they are not ready yet…this is great…they are interested for the future. The first thought that runs through my mind is: I need to educate them more about the lifestyle!  The second thought I have is: What did I miss saying?  Did I build enough value for health services?  After I learned about them through discovery, did I tailor the tour to their needs?  I need to fill the retirement community today, one year from now and 5 years from now!  So if someone wants to wait a year or two, no problem… my positive contact with them can speed up their decision.  Then when they suddenly want to move in, whom will they think of first?  Well, the nice lady on the phone who was never pushy and always had their best interests at heart…of course!

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/

Trying to Evaluate Senior Housing Internet Referral Choices?

Trying to Evaluate Senior Housing Internet Referral Choices?

Every one of us is so busy in senior living sales and marketing.  Some of you are pure sales and others are juggling marketing with sales.  With walk-ins, tours, and phone inquiries happening constantly, who has time to research Internet exposure and lead referral companies?  Maybe I can help…I have been looking into this for a few weeks and have learned a lot.

You can do “Pay for Click,” which means you buy high placement for key words that show up in a Google search.  Ever wonder how companies get in the colored box at the top of the screen with a Google search or have placement on the right hand side of your screen?  Every time someone clicks on that link, you pay, no matter what.  If someone is looking for a job, the phone number to your community to talk to a resident or simply click but have no interest, it can cost you 50 cents to $5.00 or more.  When I looked into it, there were almost 400 versions of the keywords independent living, senior living and senior housing.  The cost was going to be almost $1000 a month for a ten-mile radius.  Are you kidding me?   They had not even included key words such as assisted living, skilled nursing care or a Continuing Care Retirement Community yet!

Another easier choice for those of us in senior housing seems to be the Internet lead referral companies.  They buy all the clicks and key words, so they take all the risk.  Most of them have a live person talking to the inquiries, so by the time we get the lead at our community, we may have a viable person who is interested in our senior living community.

There are three main types of Internet lead referral companies:

  • Pay after a move-in
  • Pay-per-lead
  • Monthly subscription

The quality varies through my experience depending on which company you select and your type of senior housing.   There are pluses and minuses to all three choices.  The plus to paying after a move-in is, obviously, paying for performance only.  The minus is this can be the most expensive option with the cost generally being one month of rent.  Pay-per-lead companies charge between $35-$45 a lead.  The plus is that most of the companies have a person confirming which type of senior housing the prospect is interested in and making sure they understand it is private pay.  The down side is most of them have around a 2% conversion rate into a sale.  Monthly subscriptions can charge around $150 a month, so the cost is good, but they don’t have a live person filtering the leads, so you can receive a lot more garbage leads.

One benefit of all Internet referral companies is finding their sites in the paid search boxes on Google.  People searching online have hit key words regarding senior housing and start exploring their options through Internet referral sources.  You can add photos, videos, a description of your community, prices, floor plans and some Internet referral sources even link back to your website or your social media.

So what’s the purpose of adding Internet leads into your marketing mix?  More people are finding senior housing online than ever before and when someone is doing a search online – you want to be found.

Check back in a couple of weeks and I will be sharing which Internet lead referral companies I believe are the most effective and the best value for the money spent.

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/