Seniors and Sales People Wearing Masks

Seniors and Sales People Wearing Masks

MaskAlmost everyone wears a mask out in public. It can be exhausting to hide behind a fake exterior and pretend we have it all together. I meet seniors and sales people everyday that seemed poised and polished to the world and yet they are terrified inside.

Many seniors and sales people have lost the ability to be real and authentic. They have worked hard to create the illusion that everything is fine, because they fear showing their vulnerability.  

Seniors walk into retirement communities everyday announcing that he or she is fine and “not ready yet” to make a move to senior housing. If you could pull off the mask, you might see a frightened senior who knows their memory is slipping, had a recent fender bender in the car or is just extremely lonely. That’s why they are exploring senior housing options.

Is this you?

Sale people may be dealing with an angry teenage daughter, a new baby, or ailing parents. They have to leave their breaking heart in the car and arrive for work with a mask of happiness. 

Is this you?

Here are the three most common masks:

The I’m Fine Mask: You smile and say that everything is fine when your heart is breaking. It appears that you have it all, but you may feel lost inside. It is safer to hide, because people expect it.

The Performance Mask: You have the “to do” list. You keep up a frantic pace.   If you stop performing then you are not worth anything at all. You want to matter and count.

The “I don’t care” Mask: You don’t bother with your looks. You do not seem to care. You are desperate to not be seen. You are certain that others will reject you.

Masks can be exhausting.  

I know because I am usually wearing the performance mask. On top of working full time as a regional marketing director at two Continuing Care Retirement Communities:

My personality has always been driven. I have always increased the occupancy of any senior living community I was working with. I love achieving goals. It’s also important to create balance in my life so I don’t burn out. I just started a women’s bible study called, “Keeping the Balance.” It is already changing my life and helping me recognize the real me, so I can be authentic with you. Today, I had some me time. What a treat. Tonight I will be dancing with my husband at Oktoberfest.

Balance in life is important. The opposite of wearing a mask can be seniors and sales people who over share. They want to dump all their problems on you and it may not be at an appropriate time.    

When my mom was in in later stages of dementia, her mask of pretending to be okay was gone. She just said whatever was on her mind.

How about you? What’s your mask? Have you found your balance?

Diane Masson has 19 years experience, both personally and professionally in senior housing.  She is an author of two books with 5-star ratings, a weekly blogger and a regional marketing director of two Continuing Care Retirement Communities.  Follow her newsletter on Tips2Seniors.com or Tips2Seniors on Facebook.

3 Chickens, 3 Cats, 2 Tanks of Fish and 1 Senior Moving In???

3 Chickens, 3 Cats, 2 Tanks of Fish and 1 Senior Moving In???

This is one of the chickens!

This is one of the chickens!

Would you build a chicken coop to have a senior move into your retirement community? Are chickens even allowed? What would your senior living community promise in order for a senior to move in? How many cats does your retirement community allow per senior resident? Would you increase it? Are you willing to take on two 100-gallon tanks of fish? One fish tank contains large koi and the other fresh water bala sharks.

“I still have my wits about me and don’t want to leave my animals,” said a prospective senior resident. “The administrator has promised me that he will take all my pets and if I pass away, he will let all of my precious chickens live with him at his home. He loves my chickens.”

This senior is waiting for a two-bedroom apartment to become available, but she has still not decided to actually move. Her family and friends (I am one of them) have been encouraging her to make a move for two years. She currently lives alone in a two-story home with a caregiver who helps several days a week.

One of the two fish tanks!

One of the two fish tanks!

Who knows how many years my senior friend has left? I don’t know. What I do know is that my friend would thrive in a retirement community with live music and weekly entertainment. She used to be very active with dozens of friends and now she is isolated in her home with early dementia and a lack of mobility. My senior friend comes to life over a lunch or dinner conversation. I told her that she could have social connectivity everyday if she moved into a retirement community.

In my entire career, I have never heard of a senior living community accepting all the animals that my senior friend currently loves. Never have I ever heard of senior moving into a community with chickens. Have you? Would you allow any or all of my friend’s animals? I personally think she should jump on the offer and told her so. She is still deciding…Would you build a chicken coop to get a sale?

Do you know a senior that is struggling?  Diane Masson’s new book can help walk you or them through, “Your Senior Housing Options.”  Diane has helped educate thousands of seniors in her career and shares weekly real life stories like this one.  Join her blog at Tips2Seniors.com or follow her on Facebook at Tips2Seniors.

Her first book “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” has helped new and experienced senior housing professionals (assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing care and Continuing Care Retirement Communities) around the world.  Both her first book and second book, “Your Senior Housing Options,” have a 5-star rating on Amazon.com.

Recognizing Buying Questions in Senior Living

Recognizing Buying Questions in Senior Living

Recognize Buying Signals in Senior LivingSome senior living sales people are so focused on getting a deposit that they miss crucial buyer signs from a senior living prospect.  One easy tip for you to start using today is to never answer an easy question that a senior or adult child asks with a simple, “yes” or “no.”  Instead, respond with a clarifying question and discover more about his or her mindset.

The following is an excerpt from my book, “Senior Housing Marketing – How To Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full.”

For example, if they ask, “Is this apartment available?”  You ask, “What is your time frame for moving in?”  The answer given is very telling.  They might say, “Well, I have to sell my home first.”  This indicates they want to buy it!  You just have to walk them through the steps on how to make it a reality.

More Buying Questions 

  • Asking about availability of a certain apartment.
  • What is the time frame required to move into this apartment?
  • They want something repeated.
  • Wanting to know about rates, price, or affordability.
  • Asking about the quality or levels of health care that are offered is a great sign.
  • Wanting to see the model apartment.
  • Asking what the other residents are like.
  • Comparing your senior living community with the competition. This means they are doing their homework and are interested.

Start recognizing closing questions that they may ask you.  The questions can come in the beginning, the middle, or the end of your senior living tour.  When they ask you a question, never answer with a simple “yes “or “no.”  It’s good to answer with a clarifying question that allows more discoveries as to their needs or wants.  Your strategic question can often turn into an early close and result in the sale.

They may say, “How much money would I have to put down to hold it?”  This is not a sale until you walk them through all the steps.  But it’s darned close!

Have your senior living occupancy start increasing today!

Please share your strategies, 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 2014 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.
Qualified Senior Living Sales Candidates?

Qualified Senior Living Sales Candidates?

Now HiringIs there anyone else struggling to hire a quality senior living sales person?  My search in Hemet, CA has been ongoing for four weeks.  The majority of applicants are unqualified and present poorly composed resumes.

Where to look?

  • Craig’s list can have a high success rate to find some senior living operational candidates but I have had no luck hiring senior living sales people through this resource.
  • LinkedIn has been good to me in the past, but I only received 8 applications in one month and it cost me $395.00.  It was very disappointing and an expensive dead end.
  • Career Builder has produced the most viable senior living sales candidates.

Quality of resumes?

  • Overall, I have seen the most poorly written resumes of my life in the last month.
  • Typos and format mistakes galore, candidates should have a professional or savvy friend review his or her resume before applying for a job.
  • Are nurses, EMT’s, mechanics and others in completely unrelated disciplines mistakenly seeking a senior living sales position?  Or are they just completing three job searches for unemployment?

Customer service experience is not sales and closing experience!

Order takers need not apply!  Sales and closing experience means having a sales track record with a closing ratio.  It’s a person who has overcome objections and persists until they get the sale.

No senior housing experience?

The last two people I hired had no experience in senior living sales.  They did have a passion for seniors and a background of sales and closing experience.  One of them was working in the healthcare profession and the other called on healthcare professionals as clients.  One of my specialities is training what I call “green” (no experience in senior living) candidates.

Interview process?

  • My first interview is over the telephone to see if he or she can be clearly understood, has a great phone voice and can sell me on why I should offer them an in-person interview.
  • The second interview is in-person with the Human Resources Director and myself.
  • The third interview is with the Marketing Director and Executive Director.
  • One person literally interviewed herself!  Next!  They would not stop talking!

The Results?

  • 60 applications
  • 10 phone interviews
  • Three second interviews
  • One third interview
  • Zero hired

Anyone out there in Riverside County, CA?

The Village is proud to be a debt free* Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) and has been serving seniors in Hemet, California for 25 years. We are honored to be voted as the Best Retirement Community in the Inland Empire for 8 consecutive years! Our 13-acre campus, including Independent Living, Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing Care, has been completely remodeled.

We are seeking a highly motivated Senior Living Sales Professional, internally referred to as a Retirement Counselor. In this role, you will increase occupancy by proactively generating sales leads and following up on all traffic generated through advertising, promotions, events, phone visits, and in-person home visits. Our Retirement Counselors offer tours with prospective residents and provide customer service to our current and prospective residents.

Responsibilities:

While this is a sales and closing role, you will get leads from hosting walk-in guests, events, phone calls or responses to advertising and marketing campaigns. You will combine inside, and outside public relations to build a professional, local network to help increase referrals and the CCRC occupancy. You will share the impact of: “A guarantee of care for the rest of your life.” Our retirement counselors use a consultative soft sell approach with prospective residents and explain the value of our senior services, benefits and how we differentiate from other senior housing competitors. Other duties will include completing reports, competitive studies and tracking leads.

The Village is an equal opportunity employer. EOE/M/F/D/V

If you are interested in this position, the complete job description and requirements are listed on careerbuilder.com or please send your resume directly to me at dmasson@fmcwest.com and reference this blog post.   Come and be part of a team that has been breaking sales records for two years!  You will be personally trained by me, start participating in weekly book reviews and report directly to me.   I look forward to meeting you in person.  Diane Masson

Your tips could help others improve on a national basis, so please share by commenting on this blog.  If this weekly newsletter can help your sales and occupancy – why not sign up today so you don’t miss a single one? 

Diane Twohy Masson writes this weekly blog to support and engage with other senior housing professionals.  Her first book is Senior Housing Marketing – How To Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full.  Many sales teams and organizations have used the 12 keys contained in this book for their weekly book review.  Diane is working on her second book to help seniors select their senior housing options.

 

© Marketing 2 Seniors| Diane Twohy Masson 2014 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 BIG Senior Living Sales Mistakes

3 BIG Senior Living Sales Mistakes

3 MistakesMANY senior living sales professionals selling continuing care and retirement communities make three common mistakes:

  1. Believing only older need driven seniors will move into an independent retirement setting.
  2. Only focusing on seniors who want to move now.
  3. Not doing enough “discovery” to tailor a tour to a senior’s lifestyle.

After the financial world turned upside in 2008 and real estate took a dive, younger seniors remained in their own homes.  Now, younger seniors are moving into retirement communities again.  Senior living communities must have amenities and lifestyle choices that attract younger seniors.  Does yours??  As a sales person, you must believe that younger seniors will move in too!  I have acutally heard a senior living sales person say, “They are only 83 years old and not ready yet.”

Only 20% of seniors will walk in and say, “I am ready to move in now.”  The order taker marketers love this type of prospect.  Well guess what?  The majority of seniors need handholding and relationship building over a period of time.  They need to come into your senior living community four to six times to visualize themselves living the lifestyle.

Discovering the passions, pursuits and interests of a senior seems so obvious to the “A” player senior living sales professional.  This allows the sales person to tailor the “Wow Tour” to each senior.  It may mean having the senior meet other residents who share their common interests.  It could involve meeting and touring each adult child, so they can support their parents moving into your community.

Senior living sales takes more time and effort than it did six years ago.  Why do so many senior living sales people simply give a tour?  What have you witnessed or experienced?

Please share your strategies, 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 2014 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.
My Manager Will Call You Back

My Manager Will Call You Back

Welk ResortsAfter you share your tale of customer service woe to a representative, you are told that the manager will call you back the next day.  Do they?!?  Recently, I believed a manager from the Welk Resort would call me back to discuss my timeshare fiasco.  In fact, I waited two hours past the day and time the representative promised a manager would call me.  Telling me a date and time for the manager’s call is a very specific promise in my book.

After my Welk Resort Fiasco blog posted for the world to read, the Welk Resort tweeted me.  Here is their damage control twitter conversation:

‪@Market2Seniors – This is not the experience we aim to provide & we apologize. Could you DM us your email so we can reach out for more info?

‪@welkresorts – I reached out in 3 ways with no response, a manager was supposed to call me back by 9am on Sun.  The blog posted at 11am, Sun.

‪@Market2Seniors – or you can email our Director of Consumer Affairs at Hutch.farrell@welkgroup.com if you’d prefer. Thanks for the feedback

‪@welkresorts – You can contact me at diane@marketing2seniors.net.

‪@Market2Seniors – Thank you. I’ll have Hutch contact you.

This was my last contact with the Welk Resort.  I NEVER had a manager email me, tweet me or call me again.  Why not?  Why would a company have a Director of Consumer Affairs?  Obviously they must have ongoing customer service issues.  Why did “Hutch” never contact me?  Maybe he never got the tweet?  Maybe they thought I would forget that the sales people promised me a Catalina Island overnight on a weekend and what I received was a weekday trip that I could not use.

Have you had an experience where you were told the manager is going to call you back because they were not currently there?

Is this just a technique to calm down a frustrated customer and hope we forget?   Or is it a way for a  “C” player (last week I compared “A”, “B” and “C” players here) to not deal with you directly?  Maybe it is simply passing the buck.

Your tips could help others improve on a national basis, so please share by commenting on this blog.  If this weekly newsletter can help your sales and occupancy – why not sign up today so you don’t miss a single one? 

Diane Twohy Masson writes this weekly blog to support and engage with other senior housing professionals.  Her first book is Senior Housing Marketing – How To Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full.  Many sales teams and organizations have used the 12 keys contained in this book for their weekly book review.  Diane is working on her second book to help seniors select their senior housing options.

© Marketing 2 Seniors| Diane Twohy Masson 2014 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.