The Five Most Important Resident Marketing Trends

The Five Most Important Resident Marketing Trends

In 2017, LeadingResponse marketed to, and surveyed, more than 250,000 prospective residents, their adult children and caregivers to gain insights, and generate new move-ins for their senior living community clients.  During this hot topic webinar, you’ll learn more about the amazing data and results that were born out of this initiative and how to use that information to dramatically improve your occupancy.

What You Will Learn:

  1. Provide the latest resident marketing trends
  2. Discuss best practices based on data to generate new move-ins
  3. Gain consumer behavior details that increase your conversion rate
  4. Learn more about very targeted efforts to yield the strongest qualified leads
  5. Discuss the difference in behaviors between face to face leads vs digital leads
What Happened? How to Improve the Customer’s Experience Webinar

What Happened? How to Improve the Customer’s Experience Webinar

Marketing, sales and operations have a blind spot into the offline customer journey once a call lands with the sales channel.  Learn ways to deliver a consistent, branded customer experience to improve revenue performance.

You’ll learn:

  • Inbound call handling best practices
  • Understanding where breakage occurs in the customer journey
  • How to effectively score all inbound customer calls
  • How to optimize media to drive more opportunities
Ensuring a Successful CRM Adoption Webinar

Ensuring a Successful CRM Adoption Webinar

You’ve done all the research and decided on your new CRM. That was the easy part. The next step – CRM Adoption – is critical in getting the most value out of your CRM. How do you get user buy-in and engagement in embracing a new CRM? How do you create a culture of inclusion, in the selection and implementation process? And most importantly, how do you engage users during training and leverage the tools after implementation?

In this recorded webinar, you’ll learn:

  1. Why User Adoption is Important
  2. How to Use Best Practices to Get High User Adoption
  3. How to Involve the Team in the Selection Process
  4. Why Management Support is So Important
  5. How Training Impacts Use Adoption

Kristin Hambleton is the Vice President of Business Development for Continuum CRM. She began her career in senior living in 2010 as the Director of Sales for a multi-site CCRC. Her strengths in leveraging the CRM data for strategic planning, coaching her team to success, and improving processes within the organization led her to her current role. Kristin’s passion is assisting other marketing & sales teams in becoming more effective in their role using their CRM.

Making It Stick - Healthcare CRM Adoption

Making It Stick – Healthcare CRM Adoption

Let’s face it: one of the least favorite tasks of senior living sales and marketing professionals is updating their lead management database or healthcare CRM.

They prefer building relationships with seniors, families, and professionals. Or maybe they gain energy from personal interactions rather than administrative tasks. Entering data, updating notes, and documenting activities . . . not so much. However, for sales managers, this documentation is crucial to identifying trends, barriers, and opportunities. Not to mention creating effective strategies.

Reduce resistance and improve healthcare CRM adoption:

1. Create a User Advisory Board

Include all user groups and stakeholders in the vetting and decision-making process. Create focus groups comprised of community, regional, and corporate sales and operations team members.

  • Assess. Make a list of everything that the team likes and dislikes about what they are using. Ask each group to make a list of their “hopes and dreams.” Sometimes teams are more comfortable using a terrible system that they know and despise rather than making a change to a better solution. Why? Fear of change. Or concerns about losing their job.
  • Brainstorm. Create a wish list of features and functions that would make their jobs easier. Ideas include intuitive user experience to simplify data entry, automated lead integration with website, live chat,  goal setting, quick links to social media, integration with training resources, and document libraries. Dream big. This is an important decision!
  • Test. When you get to the testing stage with vendors, select a representative sampling from the advisory board to have them test and provide feedback. Always include your lowest-tech community user. Because if it is too complex at that level, then none of the fancy reports, dashboards, or bells and whistles will matter.  Provide each tester with prospect info to enter. Test the steps throughout the sales process. Think documenting advances, adding notes, scheduling tours, and so forth.

Be Mindful Regarding Your Healthcare CRM Selection

  • Compare. Take the feedback from the focus groups and look for commonalities. Select a CRM that meets everyone’s needs. Each user group needs to get a win—something that saves them time, makes documentation easy, integrates systems etc.
  • Alignment. One of the most important considerations is to align your new CRM with your sales culture. For example, if your goal is to motivate your sales team to spend time developing relationships with prospects and referral sources, the CRM should have the ability to measure and reward for that behavior. If your sales culture is more task, activity, and conversion ratio-driven, select a CRM that provides that data in real time. Your CRM won’t stick if your sales culture and training says one thing, and your CRM measures something else. Your sales team will always behave according to the structure of the CRM rather than the culture and training.

Selecting the Healthcare CRM Isn’t Enough

Once you’ve made your selection, you need to prepare your team for implementation. Here’s what to do.

  • Training & Reinforcement. Budget generously for the rollout! If possible, use a training center to train small groups outside of the community setting to limit distractions and interruptions. It usually takes two to three days for the initial training. Day one is a reinforcement of your sales culture and training to create alignment with the new CRM. This can be done in a community setting. You’ll then need a full day of classroom training using a test site to practice entering leads and explore all the features and functions. Day 3 can be either a half day or whole day training to demonstrate report functions, dashboards, and more sophisticated features, such as marketing automation. Users should leave this initial training feeling competent and confident. Schedule ongoing training sessions using remote screen sharing as well as open hours and help desks for questions.
  • Data Migration. This is a great opportunity to clean up your data. Work with your CRM vendor to “de-dupe” or merge your duplicate records for leads and referral accounts. Decide if you want to migrate all of your data or move only those within a specific timeframe (for example over two years old) or with specific stages (e.g., leads labeled as “lost”). Providing a clean data set will go a long way in getting users onboard.

Want to learn more about senior living CRM adoption? Watch for our FREE WEBINAR

Lessons Learned From Doing 100,000 Mystery Shops

Senior Living Mystery Shopping: Lessons Learned From 100,000

Senior Living SMART recently interviewed Mike Miller, CEO of Primo Solutions, to discuss senior living mystery shopping. He has mind-blowing data gathered from doing over 100,000 mystery shops (phone and in-person) of senior living sales professionals.

Let’s dive into the results of this senior living mystery shopping.

RESULT: 90% of questions asked by the Sales Counselor are closed-ended questions, which makes it nearly impossible to build rapport.

SLS: What are some of the best open-ended questions that every sales counselor should ask? 

MM: I normally do not provide a list of open-ended questions because it can be different for everyone. However, one of the best questions I love to ask the adult child/family member is this: “When you are not taking care of mom/dad, what are some of the things you enjoy doing?” Not only does this open the door to building rapport with the adult child, but it also puts the sales counselor in a closing posture. Saying that, I am including a list of “Starter Questions” that sales counselors can use to get a conversation started as well as transition through the sales process.

RESULT: 98% of the Sales Counselors talked more than 70% during the entire call.

SLS: How can sales managers train/ coach to improve this?

MM: This can easily be improved by asking more open-ended questions, which force the prospect to answer with more than 1 or 2 words.

SLS: What do they talk about? Is it feature-dumping/ laundry listing?

MM: Yes, it is features dumping. After asking just a couple of questions, most sales counselors jump right into presentation mode. They share everything there is to know about the community. The problem is that they never discovered the true needs (both physical and emotional), so most presentations are not specific to the prospect and that is a huge mistake.

Watch the Recorded Webinar: How To Use Mystery Shops as a Coaching Tool

RESULT: 45% of the time, the prospect was asked to visit the community in the first two minutes of the call. No rapport or discovery was attempted. How do you think this made the prospect feel?

SLS: Are there any stats about how many questions sales counselors typically ask before trying to close for the tour?  

MM: This is a great question and it really does depend on the personality of the sales counselor and the amount of training and coaching they have received. But if I had to put a number on it, I would say they typically ask 4-5 questions. Although asking too few questions is a problem, asking the wrong questions compounds that problem. Most of the questions being asked are questions that qualify or disqualify a prospect from moving into the community.

RESULT: The receptionist asked for the caller’s name only 20% of the time.

SLS: Is this getting worse?

MM: It seems to be getting a little better for those companies who are actually investing in the front-line staff members who answer the phone. However, the industry as a whole is not getting any better. Many times the caller is put on hold and then just transferred to the sales counselor. This one “little” thing can make the difference in creating a good first impression.

SLS: Do you offer training on this?

MM: When we are brought on to conduct sales training for a company, many times the concierge and management is included in the training. However, one does not need professional training to learn how to properly and professionally answer the phone, and then how to handle the call. A little bit of guidance from the ED or sales counselor can go a long ways.

RESULT: 35% of the time, prospects did not get answers to their questions on the first call.

SLS: Why is this?

MM: This statistic is actually derived from call backs. The first time a prospect calls a community, they think they have an idea of what questions to ask and what information they need to gain. However, as we all know, it is an educational process.

Sales counselors need to ask questions that lead to an outcome. They need to ask questions to guide the prospect to start thinking about for more than what they called in. However, it normally takes several calls to other communities before they start piecing together the questions they did not even realize they needed to ask. The bottom line is that most of our prospects do not know what questions to ask when they call in. It is the job of the sales counselor to help them identify those questions, needs, and solutions.

Download ‘Questions to Use in the Inquiry Process’ checklist

RESULT: 60% of the Sales Counselors used the brochure as the close. 

SLS: Why? Have they disqualified the caller as not being hot/ urgent enough so they call back to the brochure?

MM: After the initial call, if a tour has not been scheduled, the sales counselor immediately offers to send a brochure. The problem is not the sending of the brochure. The problem is that they are not gaining a commitment to the next step. Perhaps the prospect needs to share the information with a family member, or they need to call a few other communities. There could be a number of reasons why the prospect does not agree to a tour initially. However, there still needs to be a next step, e.g. follow up call.

SLS: Do they not have other options: tour, lunch, event, home visit, support group, etc.?

MM: There are a number of different options. It just depends upon the objection given by the prospect. Many times the sales counselor does not even ask for the close, because they have not earned the right and therefore do not feel comfortable. So, they revert to sending a brochure. I am a firm believer that you need to earn the right to ask for the close. However, even if you have not earned the right, you still ask for the close. The truth is that most sales counselors are not earning the right to ask for the close. So, just ask!

SLS: These statistics obviously show there is a lot of room for improvement in the discovery process. Has anything changed in the last 5 years?

MM: There has been a significant amount of talk about changes in the industry. You cannot attend an industry conference without hearing about changes. The place where I have seen the greatest change is in technology. The problem is that technology is not the fix to creating a sales culture in your organization. This industry requires a sales process that is founded on relationship building principles. We do a good job of talking about these principles, but we do a poor job of implementing them.

SLS: Are there trends that we can learn from?

MM: There are certainly some key trends that we can learn from, and they are not industry specific. The first thing we need to do is invest in our people. When it’s time to reduce budgets, normally the training budget is the first thing cut. This is a huge mistake. A training program that is implemented correctly can create a sales culture, increase closing ratios, and decrease turnover.

The second thing we need to do is hold our people accountable. If you make the commitment to invest in them, then make the commitment to hold them accountable. Third, you need to have follow up and follow through measures in place. Training your people once a year will not create any changes. There needs to be ongoing training and coaching. There needs to be tools in place, e.g. mystery shopping, that identifies specific areas of opportunity. Then you reinforce those areas of opportunity with more coaching and training.

SLS: What kind of senior living sales training/ coaching has the best impact on improving skills?

MM: Although there are a number of training processes, I believe we should be using a process that is specific to the senior living industry. Once the sales process has been identified, then you need to ensure specific skill sets are being trained. There is a lot of training out there that tells you what you need to do, but they don’t tell you specifically how to do it. Any trainer can tell you that relationship building is crucial to the sales process, but don’t just tell me – show me. I am not a huge believer in inquiry forms, primarily because the sales counselors are not trained on how to properly use them. The majority of the time, the inquiry form turns the sales process into more of an interview or interrogation.

Additionally, since most of these inquiry forms have pretty much the same questions, the prospect is getting asked the same questions regardless of what community they are calling. When a sales counselor asks a question, they should not know what their next question will be until they have heard the answer. The question should be based off the answer because that is how you are going to get below the surface to the emotional level. The inquiry form seems to be more of a hindrance than an assistance.

SLS: Of the best performers that you have shopped, what are the common characteristics and behaviors that set them apart?

MM: First, they build rapport with the person who is on the phone (normally the adult child). This rarely happens but when it does, it transforms the call completely. Second, the call sounds like they are having a normal conversation with a friend. If they are using an inquiry form, it is certainly disguised by the sales person’s ability to drill down and ask deeper questions. Third, all of the best performers are great listeners. They listen with intent and pick up on key phrases that allow them to dig deeper until they get to an emotional level. Our prospects ask us about the logical things, but they really care about the emotional things.

SLS: Do you ever shop EDs or back up teams/ MOD? Anything we can share about those shops?

MM:  We do have clients that shop their EDs and back up teams. Many clients even conduct phone shops after hours (nights and weekends) to see how the calls are being handled. If you have contact with the prospect, you should be getting shopped. As you can imagine, the EDs and backup teams typically score significantly lower than the sales counselor. The main reason is because they are not provided the necessary training to handle an inquiry. I am not saying they need to master the sales process like your sales counselors, but they need to be armed with enough skills to properly handle the call without losing the lead.

Senior living mystery shopping is one of the most cost-effective tools you can invest in that could provide a very large return. If you don’t measure it, you can’t expect it.

Primo Solutions Mystery Shops & Sales Training

Primo Solutions, LLC is a full service Mystery Shopping, Training, Marketing, and Satisfaction Survey company, providing quality follow-up and follow-through measurement tools to evaluate your sales, customer service, and other team members.

Understanding Sales and Marketing Transparency in Senior Living

Understanding Sales and Marketing Transparency in Senior Living

Understanding Sales and Marketing Transparency in Senior Living

Creating lead generation transparency is unique in senior living yet critical to each community’s efficiency and productivity. We will pull back the curtain with statistics on lead management, lead validation and conversion rates.

What to schedule a demo or learn more? Click here for more information on SeniorVu services

content marketing

Using Premium Content to Generate More Leads, Tours, & Move-Ins

Content is king. If used correctly, it will attract and convert website visitors into qualified leads, scheduled tours, and move-ins.

But what content should you create? Most people immediately say “blog posts.” While blogs are a great tool to improve SEO, increase traffic, and engage visitors, you need to do more than simply “blog” if you want to generate leads, tours, and move-ins.

1. Invest in Premium Content

Your site probably has lots of ungated content, meaning people can access it without giving you their info. Your blog posts are examples of ungated content.

But offering premium content—something people can’t get anywhere else that is “gated” behind a form—motivates visitors to give you their contact information in exchange for the valuable content. From there, you can continue to nurture the prospects along their sales journey. So what should the premium content be? Think guides, e-books, “how-to” articles, and checklists.

A good place to promote your premium content is through a call-to-action (CTA) at the end of a blog post (e.g., “Get our free guide on aging well!”). The blog posts are the bait, your prospects are the fish, and the premium content serves as the hook.

Keep in mind that it’s important to have a variety of premium content because prospects will “bite” on different content based on their stage of readiness and interests.

2. Create Stellar Landing Pages

Your landing page is where the premium content “lives.” This the “gate” part in gated content. The landing page should include:

  • An image of the premium content – so work with a graphic designer on a beautiful cover!
  • A compelling description of what the prospect will learn – so work with a copywriter!
  • A form to gather contact information in exchange for receiving the content. If you want to be sure to gather real emails, distribute the content to prospects via email rather than direct download.

Don’t overwhelm prospects with too many required fields! This is a first date, so simply ask for first and last name and email address. In terms of how to create and host landing pages, we recommend HubSpot because they offer progressive profiling so you can ask additional questions with every opt-in form. As prospects take more premium content, you get more information such as preferred location, their role, and desired lifestyle.

Remember, marketing’s job is to “plate up” sales-qualified leads (SQLs) to the sales team. Each landing page represents a piece of content related to the sales funnel. Your sales team will be especially interested in prospects who opt into content that indicates they’re sales ready. And by knowing what content the SQL has downloaded, your sales team can have a more productive conversation when they talk to the prospect on the phone or meet face-to-face.

3. Set Up Effective Senior Living Marketing Automation to Nurture Leads

Congratulations, you took an anonymous website visitor and converted them to a lead – great! Now, it’s time to nurture these leads to create face-to-face or voice-to-voice interactions with the sales team.

However, if you reel in the fish too quickly, it will get spooked and drop off the line. That is what happens when you send every lead directly into your CRM. Instead, use a marketing automation platform that will create automated workflows to provide additional content and offers (e.g., tours, lunches, home visits, events) that are relevant to the lead based on the “bait” that reeled them in.

For example, if someone downloads a piece of educational content on tips for aging well, this suggests they are at the top of the sales funnel and perhaps just beginning to learn about senior living options. How you nurture them will be a lot different from the way you nurture someone who’s downloaded a guide on how to finance different senior living arrangements.

If you follow these three steps, you will establish your brand as a thought leader and you’ll continue to bring prospects back to your website throughout their journey. Best of all? You’ll be serving up SQLs that your sales team can take across the finish line.

If you need assistance setting up these systems, please contact us or call 888.620.9832.

The Senior Living Sales Counselor – A Trapeze Artist

The Senior Living Sales Counselor – A Trapeze Artist

Success in senior living sales is a balance of art and science with many analogies. I have heard it described as a dance-very artistic. Others describe the journey as a funnel or pipeline-100% science. My analogy involves a trapeze. Let me explain!

Going to the circus as a child, I was mesmerized by the trapeze artists. I watched excitedly as they climbed the precarious ladder up to the tippy top of the tent and gathered on the absurdly small platform to take their places. I don’t know what their official roles were, but I thought of them as catchers and flyers.

The catchers were first up, hanging upside down, establishing a steady rhythm, and preparing themselves for the responsibility of catching one or more of the flyers-without a safety net. The flyers then started their swinging back and forth, getting into synch with the catcher and waiting for the right time and alignment to let go of the safety of the swing.

I held my breath until the flyer was caught and brought over to the platform on the other side. It always seemed to take forever and I could never figure out how the flyers knew just the right moment to let go and fly! There was a lot of technique involved in executing this feat, but there was also grace, flexibility, and trust.

In a senior living sales process, I see the families as the flyers and the community sales teams as the catchers. Families bravely climb the scary ladder, gather together on the platform, and try to make it to the other side of finding the right senior living community. Our community sales team “catchers” are always ready to catch the family and bring them safely across the divide. They cannot rush the flyer or entice them over; they just have to be there as a steady presence to build trust.

Usually, the family members gathered on the tiny platform nominate the adult daughter as the first flyer and over she comes as the family scout. Others follow with encouragement from those that went before until, finally, the future resident joins. And the whole time, the senior living sales team is there, waiting to catch.

Whether your sales philosophy falls more on the side of art or on the side of science, here are some resources that should be of interest.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Follow Up: From Failure to Fabulous!

Are you sick and tired of giving away more than 3/4 of your prospects to your competition because of follow-up failure? Keep reading…because you’re about to go from FOLLOW UP Failure to Follow up FABULOUS!

Using Data to Uncover New Possibilities in Senior Living

Using Data to Uncover New Possibilities in Senior Living Webinar

Using Incidence Analytics to Identify Market Need

Improving Senior Housing Performance with Precision Market Analytics

We are a data driven world. It can be good or it can be overwhelming. This webinar will highlight three scenarios where data is used to make intelligent business decisions, improve current assets and increase referrals to your communities. Learn how to use incidence data and medication data to improve your business results.

What to schedule a demo or learn more? Click here for more information on VisionLTC services →

senior living marketing

[WEBINAR] Senior Living Websites: Attract, Engage & Nurture Prospects

Senior Living Websites Should Attract, Engage, and Nurture Prospects

Lead nurturing is the purposeful process of engaging prospects by providing relevant information at each stage of the buyer’s journey. You want to actively move the prospects through your marketing and lead generation efforts, to the point where they become leads. In this webinar, we discuss how to nurture leads. Strategies include targeted content, multi-channel nurturing,  timely follow-ups, and personalization.

Interested in learning more strategies for exceeding prospects’ expectations?

Let’s chat! We’ll spend 30 minutes brainstorming with you.