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 →

customer journey

Senior Living Sales: Mapping The Customer Journey After They Say Yes

Senior living sales and marketing departments spend a lot of time developing prospect personas and mapping out their journey. But what happens once a prospect becomes a bona fide customer? Their journey doesn’t end once they move in.

As a resident, they begin a new journey, one that can be happy, sad, or meh (depending on many factors). Senior living sales and marketing departments MUST pay attention. If you don’t, you could be losing out on a great referral source. (Happy residents talk up their experience and refer others.)

Take some time understanding the customer’s journey AFTER they say yes. Look for ways to build on what’s working. And address any issues, even if they fall outside senior living sales and marketing.

First, keep these things in mind:

  • There’s a lot going on. There’s a move that has to be coordinated, downsizing that needs to happen, financial matters to figure out, and paperwork to sign—lots of paperwork with lots of legalese.
  • It’s a significant change. The decision to move to a senior living residence is right up there with saying yes to a marriage proposal, choosing a college, and getting a new job. There’s stress and uncertainty. It’s a reminder that they are aging and need more help. They are giving up their home and familiar routines. Perhaps they’re afraid of losing personal control. Plus, they might be sad to leave their friends and community and become a stranger in their new environment.
  • They may be moving in after a crisis. Some residents are facing challenging situations, such as the following:
    • Severe health issue
    • Loss of spouse or caregiver
    • A decline in physical or mental health
  • It’s exhausting. Going through the decision process, planning the move, and then doing the actual move-in can be physically and emotionally exhausting for both the resident and family.

Second, figure out how senior living sales and marketing can you create a customer journey that supports residents and their families?

You want to create a journey that provides an empathetic, positive experience. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Do your research! Talk with residents and families and learn from their move-in experience. Did you provide a move-in gift or welcome package? If yes, did they find it helpful? If not, what was lacking? Can the senior living sales and marketing teams work on a better welcome package?
  • Look at your touchpoints and channels. What interactions do you have with residents and families during the move-in process? What are the methods by which these touchpoints happen: in-person, emails, phone conversations? Bottom line: the senior living sales rep shouldn’t disappear once the customer has signed. Remember, YOU are the person they know best. Greet them and their family the day they move in. Make a point of checking in on them over the next thirty days. Ditto with their family. If they bring up any issues, don’t say “Oh, I’ll look into that” and then forget. FOLLOW UP.
  • Think about how the customer feels during each touchpoint. Go through each touchpoint and think about how the customer may feel. Are they scared? Emotional? Confused? Disappointed? What are ways for everyone to come together to address these things?
  • How can you make that experience better? Look at opportunities to make the process easier. How can you reduce some of the stress and uncertainty? How can you make the process consistent and scalable? Are there best practices in your organization?
  • Get ongoing feedback and commit to ongoing improvement! There’s always room for improvement. Build on what’s working and fix what’s broken.

Interested in learning more strategies for exceeding prospects’ expectations?

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

senior living marketing

Senior Living Websites: Why Do a Website Audit?

My dad would always tell me, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” And when it came to my 1979 beat up Dodge Aspen, his advice made perfect sense. But when it comes to your senior living website, you must anticipate the broken bits (ideally, before they happen or just as they’re happening) so you can nip them in the proverbial bud.


By conducting regular website audits.

Why do a website audit? Here are three reasons why you need to make this a part of your ongoing web marketing strategy:

1. Improved website performance will lead to better user experience (and happier users make for happier leads/customers).

Even your website needs a yearly physical to see how the systems are running. A website audit will help you determine your website’s technical performance. Think framework and infrastructure, page speed/load time, and navigation—all of which affects the user experience (UX). When auditing your site, pay close attention to the following:

  • Is your website mobile-friendly? According to @similiarweb, mobile drives 56% of all traffic.
  • Is your website error free? Dead ends and broken links can be frustrating to the user.
  • Is your page size below 9.5 mb? The heavier the site page, the slower the load time.
  • Do your web pages load within three seconds? Any slower and visitors will abandon your site, reducing conversions and sales.

2. Enhancing your search engine optimization (SEO) means your site stands a better chance of coming up in organic searches.

By conducting an SEO site checkup, you’ll be able to identify any missed SEO opportunities and remedy any mistakes.

  • Does your website have XML sitemap files? This tells Google and other search engines what pages on your site you want crawled and indexed.
  • Do you have a title tag and how long is it? The title tag is an HTML title that is used to briefly and accurately describe the topic and theme of an online listing. Your title tag should be no longer than 65 characters in length.
  • Are your page titles optimized? Remember, 60% of all organic clicks go to the top three organic search results. Optimize your page titles and use a compelling meta description to get off on the right foot.
  • Are you reviewing your keywords? Look at your keyword performance. Find out which keywords are giving you the biggest gains in traffic and leads and make sure you are adding relevant content to your website that targets those keywords.

3. Reviewing and tweaking conversion paths will help you boost overall visitor-to-leads and leads-to-customers.

A website audit enables you to re-evaluate your lead generation and conversion funnels.

  • Are you providing high quality content on your website that provides value to your prospects? Companies that blog get 55% more web traffic and 70% more leads than those that don’t. Blogging is the best way to reach your target audience with useful, educational information they’re out there looking for. Not to mention how much it helps your search rankings.
  • Do you have a variety of content that appeals to all your different prospects (e.g., potential resident, adult child), including where they are in their journey (e.g., research, planning)? Understanding your buyers by developing (and regularly revisiting!) personas will help you create targeted content that speaks to them and gets them to act.
  • Do you have a system of following up with your leads and keeping them engaged in your content and brand? Calls-to-action, marketing offers, and landing pages play a major role in the performance of your website.

Let’s Audit Your Website!

Ready to find out how your senior living website is doing? Get started here.

senior living web design

Senior Living Website of the Future: A Case Study

Vitality Senior Living wanted to build a senior living website of the future. We worked with them to integrate website design and function to align with their sales culture.

Vitality wanted to accomplish the following with their new senior living website:

  • Provide the right content at the right time to the right prospect
  • Create a highly engaging site that would encourage visitors to stay longer and keep them coming back
  • Represent senior living in a positive light using vibrant images and positive language
  • Engage prospects in every stage of readiness, not just those ready to move in within the next thirty days
  • Allow prospects to self-select their stage of readiness, consume content created for that stage, and advance seamlessly through the journey
  • Automate lead nurturing campaigns for earlier-stage prospects while advancing prospects who are ready to engage with the sales team
  • Generate high quality, organic leads

Step #1: Personas, Stages of Readiness, and Content – Oh My!

We created buyer personas and mapped the buyer’s journey based on three stages of readiness: Research, Planning, and Action.

First, we created a buyer persona for the adult daughter and the older adult prospect and mapped out motivations, obstacles, priorities, wants, and needs for each. Then, we were able to plan the right content that would be valuable to each persona. In addition, we could organize the blog and resources by stage of readiness.

For example, a prospect in the beginning stages of Awareness and Research usually wants to know where they will live, what they will do, who will take care of them, and if they can afford to live there. Someone in a Planning or Action stage needs to know how they are going to downsize, which community will be the best fit, when to make the move, and how to have the conversation with the family. Once we completed this, we created a blog calendar and the writers got to work. We moved on to the next step – engagement.

Step #2: Drive Traffic To the Site & Keep Them Coming Back

Vitality didn’t want to use traditional senior living labels, such as seniors, assisted living, or memory care. Instead, they wanted positive age-neutral descriptions, such as older adult, lifestyles, and choice. As a result, we had to get creative in using keywords to drive search engine optimization.

To engage website visitors, we included several Senior Living SMART partners in the development of the website.

  • Site visitors can take a Roobrik assessment. Each assessment takes 3 to 5 minutes and leads prospects to a personalized Care Fit Report that presents their best care options. Prospects can share their report with other family members or save it for later. This keeps them on the website longer and increases return traffic and conversions.
  • We also added interactive room planners for each community. This way, prospects in Planning or Action stages can choose an apartment style and design it by adding furnishings. These room planners by NextGenTools are the only ones that work on mobile devices and allow prospects to share their completed design on Facebook or email to other family members. This increases time-on-page by 6 to 8 minutes and creates a reason to come back to the website.
  • Future enhancements include adding live chat to improve conversion from anonymous visitor to qualified leads and tours. With SiteStaff, we are getting 40% conversion from chat to lead and 20% conversion from chat to scheduled tour!

Step #3: HubSpot & CRM Integration

Vitality wanted to automate lead nurturing strategies for all of the leads that are earlier stage. An “earlier stage” lead is a person who is not ready to tour or talk to a sales person, but they’re still expressing interest. Vitality also wanted to be sure that “urgent” leads quickly went to the sales team.

As a result, we recommended integrating the website with HubSpot (for automated nurturing). We also recommended integrating the site with their senior living CRM (they use Sherpa) to connect leads in an Action Stage to the sales team for face-to-face and voice-to-voice relationship building.

The results? A senior living website of the future!

The new Vitality website is attracting more of the right traffic, engaging them longer, and speaking to (and converting) them throughout their journey.

Want to take your senior living website to the next level? We’d love to help! Request your free 30-minute brainstorming session or fill out the form below to get a website assessment.

FREE Website Assessment

Ready to find out how your website matches up? See how your site is performing with our instant report that you may save and share.

5 Marketing Trends That Can Generate 5-7 New Move-Ins

5 Marketing Trends That Can Generate 5-7 New Move-Ins! Webinar

This webinar will provide best practices on how to use your event marketing to increase your lead generation and move-ins!

Senior Living Sales Tips: How to Rock Site Views

Senior Living Sales Tips: How to Rock Site Visits

The role of a regional director of sales & marketing is tough. You have to manage up, down, and across various groups (corporate, community, and regional peers). Not to mention, you have the responsibility to impact occupancy with little authority. You have to get your results through influence.

And one of the biggest ways you can influence people (positively or negatively) is through site visits.

Here are some senior living sales tips for rocking site visits.

Senior Living Sales Tips: Take the Time to Plan

Effective site visits begin with solid planning, specifically communication, preparation, and collaboration with the Executive Director. Make sure you explain when you’re coming, why you’re coming, and what you expect of people during your visit.

Senior Living Sales Tips: Review Reports and Diagnose Before Your Visit

Don’t waste your actual site visits reviewing reports with the teams. Instead, review reports in advance of the visit to diagnose strengths and weaknesses and to identify trends. Then, during your actual site visit, share what the data reveals and coach team members based on your findings. This will result in a much more productive site visit for everyone involved.

Senior Living Sales Tips: Begin and End with the Executive Director

Too often, regionals walk right by the ED’s door and spend their visit with the sales team. Success in this role is greatly influenced by the partnership with the ED, so be sure to begin and end the visit together reviewing goals and outcomes.

Senior Living Sales Tips: Coach, Model, and Teach

Sales teams learn by practicing, observing, and doing! If creative follow up is an opportunity to improve closing ratios, plan to spend an hour with the sales counselor to model good follow up. Review active leads prior to going to the community and come prepared with some creative follow-up ideas. Brainstorm these leads with the sales counselor and follow through to model the behavior you want to reinforce.

Senior Living Sales Tips: Are You An Auditor Or A Coach?

In an ideal world, you should be both: audit before you arrive (e.g. review reports, as suggested above). Coach people during your site visit. Below are traits of each.

  • Auditor Behavior
  • Spends most of their time with data
  • Uses reports to find weaknesses
  • Feedback provided by telling (training)
  • The intent is control
  • Coach Behavior
  • Spends most of their time with people
  • Uses reports to identify opportunities
  • Feedback provided by doing (modeling & coaching)
  • The intent is support

Senior Living Sales Tips: Focus

Site visits and coaching should be in alignment with your quarterly focus and tie into your overall improvement strategy. If your quarterly focus is to improve tour-to-deposit and move-in conversions, make sure you focus all of your time and energy on those areas.

Senior Living Sales Tips: Leave The Team With a Plan!

Every site visit will end with the creation of an action plan based on what you observe during the visit. Be specific in setting expectations, timeframes, and responsibilities. Don’t wait until the next visit to get updates. Review this action plan during your weekly calls.

Need help rocking your website?

That’s where we come in!

CRM Tips: Using Data to Predict Future Occupancy

Senior Living CRM Software: Using Data to Predict Future Occupancy

More and more communities are moving from paper based and manual systems of tracking prospect information and choosing senior living CRM software.

Why the shift? One word: Information.

Senior living CRMs unlock information that helps sales people see trends and identify opportunities to project future occupancy (among many other things). Essentially, the right senior living CRM will help sales staff abandon the “rearview mirror” way of thinking and adopt a “windshield view” of looking forward.

Rearview Mirror Sales Management

Have you ever been on an “occupancy call” where the regional director gathers all of the communities within the region to participate and report results?

The call usually focuses on all the activities of the previous week: number of new leads, tours, deposits, move-ins/outs, call outs, mail/email outs, home visits, sales calls, professional referrals, and events.

The problem with this approach? There’s no correlation between activities and results. Also, you can’t do anything with the old data. For example, if you’re only focusing on the lack of tours from last week, how does that help this week’s sales goals?

The rearview mirror approach is reactive. Instead of thinking about how to create strategies to improve performance this week, its focus is on what happened last week. And just as objects appear bigger in rearview mirrors, this approach tends to make a bigger deal out of poor sales than is necessary.

Windshield View Sales Management

The most productive calls spend less time on past activities. After all, this information is already in the senior living CRM. Everyone can review it prior to the call. Instead, the discussion can focus on the current sales pipeline. This is a better use of everyone’s time. Why? Because the pipeline provides an overview of prospects/leads and the likelihood of turning those leads into sales.

Remember, the number of scheduled tours, assessments, home visits, sales calls to professionals, and events are a better predictor of success. Your call with the team can then focus on effectively planning and executing the scheduled activities rather than re-hashing lost sales from last week.

The windshield view is proactive: what can the team do to turn the pipeline prospects into residents?

As you can imagine, the windshield view is much more empowering, much more popular, and much more effective.

Note: We’re not suggesting you shouldn’t learn from past activities and performance. But you don’t need to dedicate precious time to recapping and reviewing what’s already in a quality senior living CRM.

Senior Living CRM Tips: Use a Projection Report to Identify Opportunities

Take your CRM to the next level by using a projection report to help identify opportunities.

A projection report is a weekly representation of all of the key data points that drive occupancy, all in one place. It takes into account all of the actual move-ins/move-outs, scheduled ins and outs, and the sales pipeline, all of which can affect occupancy for the month.

We’ve created a template that automatically calculates by both resident and unit count. Download the Projection Report template.

Need help getting the most out of your senior living CRM software?

We have deep experience in senior living sales and marketing, particularly CRMs. Let’s talk about your needs.

Senior Living Sales Tips: What You Should Never Say to Prospects

Senior Living Sales And Marketing: What NOT To Say

The words we use in senior living sales and marketing matter. Here are some that make us cringe in particular (along with what to say instead):

Don’t Say This!Try This Instead
Them or TheyOur residents
Unit or RoomApartment or Suite
Facility, home, or centerCommunity or Residence
Alzheimer’s UnitMemory Care or Dementia Care Neighborhood
ADLsPersonal Care
Over There or Back ThereOur Memory Care Neighborhood
Seniors, Elders, ElderlyOlder Adults

More senior living sales and marketing jargon to be aware of . . .

Prisons, hospitals, and nursing homes are “facilities.” “Senior living” is a community of people living together and caring for and about one another.

Another way to express the senior living lifestyle is to say, “This is a residence for older adults.” It is not a center, and it is not their home. Think of other times when people lived in communal settings, such as summer camp, hostels, barracks, and college. Each represented a community, but none were home.

The most cringe worthy language involves explaining memory care. “We have a locked unit.” Honestly, who wants to think of their loved one as “locked up”? Try this instead: “Keeping residents safe and secure is a top priority in our Memory Care Neighborhood.”

Independent and assisted living is often referred to as “here” or “on this side,” and memory care is “over there” or “back there.” Don’t call it the “Alzheimer’s Unit.” Alzheimer’s is only one of many forms of dementia, and to many people, it is the most frightening. Substitute “memory care” or “dementia care” instead.

Need help choosing the right words and messages for your senior living sales and marketing?

Let us help! We’re an agency filled with people who have real experience in senior living (and this extends to our awesome copywriters). We can help you craft messages that are welcoming, inclusive, and engaging. Let’s chat!

Senior Living Sales: Do This, Not That When Taking an Initial Inquiry

Senior Living Sales Strategies: How to Handle the Initial Phone Inquiry

When it comes to senior living sales strategies, taking an inquiry call seems simple enough. The phone rings. The person on the other end is reaching out to get information about senior living. Our job is to qualify the prospect and, if appropriate, advance them to a next step.

Simple, right? Nope!

Calls can take many different paths and senior living sales pros have to be prepared, flexible, and intuitive to be successful. Below are do’s and don’ts to keep in mind during this very important step.

1. Senior living sales strategy: Do use a discovery form or questionnaire to capture information.Senior Living Inquiry Form Discovery Questionnaire Template

Over the years, I’ve tried many different discovery forms, including scripted ones and others organized in qualifying themes with sample questions and a box for notes. The problem is that the conversations are not linear and prospects tend to jump around while telling their story. But that’s OK. A messy form is better than NO form.

So figure out what works best for you and stick with it. Whatever you do, don’t wing it! If you need a form, download the one we’ve created (it’s free).

2. Senior living sales strategy: Don’t make it sound like an interrogation.

Listening to hundreds of mystery shops, I’m reminded of how cold it sounds to start a conversation with a litany of informational questions: name, phone, email, address, zip, loved one’s name and age, and the ubiquitous “How did you hear about us?”

Remember, it takes a lot of courage to pick up the phone and call a community. Often, prospects are in crisis mode and what they need is compassion, empathy, and someone who is willing to listen and help. (Keep in mind that it’s quite possible the person has already perused your senior living website as well. So this “first call” isn’t necessarily their first engagement with your community.)

At the beginning of the call, the sales person should only ask for the caller’s name, phone number (in case you get disconnected), and the name and relationship of who they are calling for (so you can personalize the conversation). Then, let the person tell you his or her story. Wait until the end of the conversation to finish gathering all the contact and referral source information.

3. Senior living sales strategy: Do ask these five types of questions (and hold off on pushing for a tour).

Good discovery leads to higher conversions-to-tours and move-ins. Don’t rush the process. Trying to book a tour without knowing anything about the situation is sales malpractice.

Here are the five types of questions you should always ask:

  • Situational. Where is the prospect living, are they getting any help from family or agencies, what is working and what is not?
  • Greatest Concerns. What are they worried about, how is that affecting everyone, how would moving into a community help?
  • Motivations. Why now, what has changed, what does the person want and need, what routines are important to maintain, how will they choose the right community, who will be involved and what are their roles?
  • Life Story. What are their favorite interests, hobbies, foods, and so forth? What did they do for work? Do they have children? Grandchildren?
  • Financial. Do they have a budget and/or will they qualify for any funding solutions, such as Veterans Aid & Attendance, life insurance conversion, or long-term care insurance?

4. Senior living sales strategy: Do take the time to match a prospect’s wants/needs with specific solutions.Senior Living Need Matching Cheat Sheet

After listening to the story and understanding their situation, you should match their specific needs with community solutions. Avoid “feature dumping,” which simply provides a laundry list of everything the community offers and ignores whether any of it is relevant to the prospect.

Instead, opt for “needs matching,” which involves listening to the prospect’s desires and explaining how living at the community will fulfill those desires and needs. Download our “needs matching” sheet.

5. Senior living sales strategy: Don’t hang up without a next step.

Effective discovery results in a scheduled next step that is date and time specific. If you can’t put it on a calendar, then you can’t consider it a next step or advance.

Always have a main “advance” planned and a back-up “advance” in case the first one is rejected. Sample advances include a scheduled tour, attendance at an upcoming lunch or an event, an appointment with someone who can help with funding solutions, a scheduled home visit or assessment, or attendance at a support group.

If all else fails, ask for mailing and email addresses to send out newsletters/activity calendars or invitations to events.

Need help with this and other senior living sales strategies?

We love working with marketing and sales teams. Our approach helps make everyone’s jobs easier. Let’s chat about your needs!

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for marketers looking to get the most out of inbound phone calls

See real-time, working community examples of integrating these technology solutions helped to complement existing sales team.

Senior Living Sales: Turn Your Stand-Up Meeting into a Huddle

Senior Living Sales Tips: Turn Your Stand-Up Meeting into a Huddle

Football is a great analogy for the sport of senior living sales. Teams need strong offense and defense to succeed. “Coaches” (sales managers) provide strategies and tactical insights. The “players” (sales team) execute the plays.

And, yes—we can go even deeper with this analogy.

We have sales and marketing teams playing offense by moving leads forward with a series of advances. Resident care teams play defense by holding the line on move-outs. Executive directors play the quarterback position, directing team members to execute the down. Department managers represent specialty teams, keeping residents engaged and families happy. Regional and corporate support teams fill coaching roles to round out the team.

This year, resolve to get more out of your stand-up meetings by running it like a football huddle. Here’s how…

Senior Living Sales Tip: Gear Up

Just like a football huddle, your “huddle” should be a quick check-in to make sure that information is exchanged and everyone is on the same page.

Preparation is key to keeping the huddle quick, productive, and on track. Stand-up meetings are opportunities for teams to connect at the start of the day to share relevant and time-sensitive information. Use the Daily Stand-Up Report to communicate everything the team needs to know. (We’ve created a ‘Daily Stand Up Report’ for you. It’s free! Download the template now.)

Senior Living Sales Tip: Keep it Snappy

The most effective football huddles communicate information clearly and quickly. You need to do the same:

  • Ask everyone to stand. It’s called a “huddle” for a reason, right? You’d never expect football players to scatter, sit, or lounge on benches. Demand the same from your team: have everyone stand. Standing forces people to think on their feet—literally – and it ensures the meeting moves along.
  • Choose a time and be consistent. In football, a huddle takes place at the beginning of (almost) every play. The players know when to expect it, along with the coaches and fans. Do the same with your huddles. Start on time with whoever is present – don’t wait for stragglers.
  • Focus only on what’s necessary. In a football huddle, the focus is on the next play only. That’s it. You need to do the same with your huddle. Limit the scope. Have a flip chart available to create a “parking lot” of issues and topics that are better addressed in a team meeting or 1:1.
  • Know when to ditch the huddle. In football, there’s the “hurry up offense” where the team forgoes the huddle in order to get a play off quickly. There will be times when it makes sense to cancel or ditch a regularly scheduled huddle: a state inspector has just walked in, for example. Or it’s a big holiday week. Use your judgment.

Senior Living Sales Tip: Call the Plays

In the huddle, the quarterback calls the next play. In your huddle, each person will communicate his or her “plays” (updates). The executive director will use the Stand-Up Report as a way to engage each “player” (director), encouraging him or her to share updates. (Download the FREE ‘Daily Huddle Tools’ Training Guide.)

Senior Living Sales Tip: Celebrate the Touchdowns

Keep your huddles quick and focused. Then, step back and watch your players execute their plays during the day, resulting in “touchdowns” (success!). Remember to celebrate these successes at a future huddle (the equivalent of an end-zone dance).

By the way, we work closely with senior living sales teams AND marketing teams to get them working better–and SMARTER. Reach out and let’s talk!