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.

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How Do You Pamper Your New Move-Ins?

How Do You Pamper Your New Move-Ins?

Treating Seniors Like RoyaltyDo you treat them like royalty?  Yesterday at Disney World they introduced the 11th princess, Merida (from Brave), and you know what they did?  All the other princesses came out to meet her and make her feel welcome publicly.

Some of you work in rental communities, where senior residents can give a 30 days notice at the drop of a hat –- if they are not happy.  Those of you with entrance fee Continuing Care Retirement Communities typically have a 90-day 100% refund – if the resident is not satisfied.

Recently, I have seen seniors moving from one senior living community to another, because the resident had poor transportation service, bad hamburgers or care promises not kept.  Seriously??!!??  Why aren’t senior living providers working harder to keep their clients?

Remember the first day of high school?  Walking into the cafeteria for the first time and wondering who to sit with or who would accept you?  Residents can feel the same way, when they move to a new senior housing community.  This fear can easily be off set by arranging dinners with different resident hosts for the first week.

How are you rolling out the red carpet at your retirement community for new residents?

Do you have someone dedicated to greeting new move-ins?  Are other residents reaching out to them and showing them the ropes on how to order in the dining room or the other little nuances of your community?  How are new move-ins integrating with the other residents?  Is there a focus on treating the new residents like royalty?  Do your maintenance, housekeeping and dining service teams all reach out with special services on the first day?  If not, they should be…

What do you do to pamper your new move-ins?

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

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

Misclassifying Leads Can Decrease Move Ins

Misclassifying Leads Can Decrease Move Ins

Misclassifying Senior Living SalesAfter the initial tour are you or your senior living sales people classifying the lead correctly in your database and following up with the prospective resident appropriately?

What is your retirement community’s definition of a hot lead?

Many senior housing professionals only classify a lead as HOT if:

  1. The senior says they want to move someplace right away.
  2. They tell you their home is on the market.
  3. The adult child says their mom or dad is in the hospital and can’t move back home.

Here are some more lead situations that I would classify as hot (Even if they say – “I AM NOT READY YET!”):

  1. The senior is considering putting their home on the market.
  2. Someone wondering how long they should continue living in their home.
  3. Telling you they are about a year away, but also saying it has been difficult managing in a two story home.
  4. My spouse has just been diagnosed with…

Prospects don’t jump up and down and say I am an easy sale.  Senior Living Sales is an art and it’s up to us to read between the lines.  If someone comes to see you in person, they should be a warm or hot lead until they clearly indicate they are not.  They walked into your senior living community for a reason…

Post-analyze their situation in the quiet of your office.  This can help you strategize how you can help move someone forward the next time you talk to them.  Some sales people (particularly green sales people) can benefit from strategizing with their boss to determine the next course of action with a prospective resident.

Can anyone share how they read between the lines, helped a senior solve their problem and it resulted in a move in?

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

How Homework Can Improve A Senior Living Sales Person’s Performance

How Homework Can Improve A Senior Living Sales Person’s Performance

Senior Housing MarketingAre you doing a senior housing sales book review each week?  If not, you should be.  If a sales person is not growing then they are moving backward.  Sales people can get in rut and become complacent.  They can claim that the lack of sales is from the economy or houses not selling.  Well, I am telling you that none of that matters.  It’s the attitude of the senior living sales person, which determines the sales growth.

Book reviews do several things:  First it creates collaboration among colleagues on a new topic.  Plus it has a sales person revisit their own techniques to see if there is room for improvement.  A new word or sentence said at the right time during a tour can spur a prospective senior resident to say yes to a move instead of thinking about it.  Thirdly, the stronger performers can help teach the new or weaker team members.

Now, let’s talk about the homework.  When a sales person is working at a million miles an hour pace, they don’t have time to be introspective about anything.  They barely have time to eat lunch.  Homework – happens at home – where he or she is away from the busy work place and they have time to absorb new material.  Reflection on positive outcomes for work – at home – can help a sales person become more effective.

Senior living sales people want to perform well.  Help them by offering a weekly book review – one chapter of homework a week…

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

Role Playing Can Help Senior Living Sales People Improve

Role Playing Can Help Senior Living Sales People Improve

Role Playing Can Improve Sales Performance

Role Playing Can Improve Sales Performance

Some senior living sales people know it all!  Do you have one of these?  Others are like sponges and thrive learning a new technique or improving their sales performance.

Role-playing as a team can help standardize sales techniques. This could happen at a weekly sales meeting, but I think a retreat format can be more effective.  It’s hard for a senior living sales person to switch off working and jump into role-playing.  It’s better to set the stage in a comfortable atmosphere.  Last week we talked about the importance of a sales and marketing retreat to rejuvenate and inspire the team.

Here are some great topics to role-play:

  • The opening greeting and questions for a walk-in prospective resident
  • Discovery questions – make sure seniors don’t feel interrogated
  • Giving a “wow” tour
  • How to prevent objections
  • A variety of closes
  • Asking for the deposit – multiple times

In a team environment, there are always stronger sales performers.  Have them role-play first.  It makes them feel valued and other sales people can learn from them.  If no one on the team knows how to do the role-playing topic correctly or it’s a new technique, always teach by example first.

Everyone hates role-playing, but boy does it work.  Watch the sales increase and your occupancy go up, up and up.

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