Do your residents speak at your senior living community’s events? Are you afraid of what they might say? If you don’t let residents speak, then your senior attendees are missing out. How can seniors really know what it is like to live at a retirement community or assisted living? The most effective way is for them to hear it from a peer.
Yesterday, I had a fabulous resident speaker at the Oktoberfest event for Freedom Village in Lake Forest, Ca. Richard spoke from the heart for about four minutes. His opening line was, “Welcome to my home.” He explained why he, his wife Barbara and Lily (his Chihuahua) moved to a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC).
Richard shared some cute stories including when his wife initially tried the food at Freedom Village. She had declared, “The food is delicious and we are moving here.” He also said, “I was walking through my apartment the other day and just stopped to tell my wife, how happy that I am living here at Freedom Village.” He retired from law enforcement and explained why he felt very safe and secure at his retirement community. He mentioned volunteering at the local hospital and how you can live any kind of life you want. Sometimes he just enjoys reading a book in his apartment and at other times he has the opportunity to be social at dinner or at events.
I had no clue what Richard would say. Was it a risk? Yes! But it is important to make your best guess selecting a resident to speak at your senior living event. Richard and his wife are very active at the CCRC and embrace life with vigor and vitality. Richard’s testimonial was pivotal to some guests deciding to make Freedom Village their future home. In the past, I have had residents speak too long and had to gently nudge them to end. What are your experiences?
Do you want more information on how to put on a great event? Click on this link for a previous blog post I wrote about 8 Keys to Create Compelling Events that Drive Sales in Senior Living.
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.
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Do you have 50 plus prospective residents at every event? If not, why not? Here are just eight keys to keep in mind when planning great events that can fill your building.
1) Pick a theme that would compel a senior to leave the comfort of their home, spend $4.00 a gallon on gas to drive to your retirement community and want to invite a friend to enjoy the experience with them.
2) Organize your event, so every first impression is excellent. Have someone out front directing parking, greet them at the door with a registration table, train tour guides, your community should be spotless, have an exciting program and maybe most important – present excellent food and beverages for their enjoyment.
3) The goal is fill your building! If you are going to have live entertainment, there must still be a 10 to 15 minute program with a resident testimonial. Or maybe you are going to have a Power Point of your benefits and what differentiates you from other senior living communities? Don’t be boring…
4) You only have the senior’s attention for about 1½ hours maximum, so if you spend the time feeding and entertaining them, they will be too tired to tour your community. Strategize out every minute they are going to be in the building.
5) Invite them to come back and spend more time, so they can get a better feel of your retirement community. It’s hard for people to decide in 1½ hours where they are going to spend the next chapter of their life.
6) There should be at least 1/3 new faces at your event.
7) Some senior living communities draw new prospective seniors best by advertising with direct mail, others with newspaper and still others work best with a combo.
8) After spending all the time, money and staff resources on a great event, don’t forget to call them the next day. Invite them back…
I had two events this week for Continuing Care Retirement Communities; one drew 85 seniors to RSVP in a rural area and the other had over 100 seniors RSVP in a metropolitan area. This traffic will help fill the building for the next two months.
Do you want more information on how to put on a great event? Chapter 6 of “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” offers a step-by-step approach to successful events and many ideas for compelling themes. Good luck and please share your success…
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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/