MANY senior living sales professionals selling continuing care and retirement communities make three common mistakes:
- Believing only older need driven seniors will move into an independent retirement setting.
- Only focusing on seniors who want to move now.
- 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.
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When you initially sit down with a senior prospective resident – what is their first impression of you? Are you like a detective on TV, asking care needs – one after another? Or are you the compassionate sales person who cares and wants to help the senior solve their problem?
When I do mystery shopping, I find that 80% of senior living sales people are interrogators. This is an extremely high statistic; this means that only 20% of sales people come across as kind and compassionate.
How can you know if you are an interrogator and don’t mean to be one?
1) Don’t get to the nitty gritty details too fast…
2) Do offer a beverage – especially when it’s hot outside– I have been touring on 90-degree days and was not offered a beverage – this really happens…
3) Invite guests to sit down – don’t tell them to sit here or just point to a chair…
4) Don’t shut a prospective resident in your office – this happened to me 80% of the time and causes people to keep their wall up and not relax with you.
5) Don’t sit across a desk from someone, give up your control and meet around a round table, in the lobby on comfy chairs or in the model apartment.
6) Find out about what is most important to the senior or the adult children…why did they come to your retirement community today?
7) Do ask how they are doing (what they are feeling) and take the time to listen!
Do you want to increase sales, move-ins and up the occupancy? Then stop interrogating people…it is a horrible experience for the senior and their family members!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call your senior living database now to increase occupancy for early 2013! I elaborated on this in my last blog… Why this is the BEST TIME of the Year TO CALL Your Database!
- Suggest for a senior and their family to enjoy lunch at your retirement community! Visiting family and the senior need to eat…why not have it be at your senior living community? As they eat, maybe they can picture themselves living there. Most boomer children will advocate for their senior parent to move into senior housing when they see how nice the quality of their life can be…
- Invite hot and warm prospective residents to join your residents for some live entertainment or when the local school kids come by to sing.
- Offer seniors, who don’t drive, either a ride to your community or go out and do a home visit. This visit could be the tipping point to them moving into your community.
- When someone is visiting at your community, ask for the order. First do the proper warm up, discovery, listen to their needs, learn their hot buttons, build value for your community and figure out how to solve their problem. Then invite them to sit down again. Look them in the eye and say, “I know you love your home of forty years! And you have shared how difficult it is to manage stairs and your concern of falling down them when you do the laundry in the basement – right? After everything you have seen today and the wonderful lunch we enjoyed, do you believe you would have a better quality of life living here at The Village (insert your community name here)? If the answer is yes, just nod and let it digest with them. He who speaks first loses. They usually say, okay let’s do this and then start filling out the paperwork…
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 email@example.com. 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/