Mystery Shopping as a Coaching Tool Webinar

Mystery Shopping as a Coaching Tool

This webinar will provide best practices on how to use your mystery shopping as a coaching tool, and take your sales skills to the next level.

Spring Training for Senior Living Sales Professionals!

Spring Training for Senior Living Sales Professionals!

All of the prospects who didn’t want to move in over the holidays or wanted to wait until spring to put their house on the market are coming out of hibernation. The urgent winter move-ins may decrease, so it’s time to get back in the game of driving occupancy.

Here are some ideas to improve your senior living sales B-A-T-ting Average:

Behavior. What do you need to do consistently every day to advance sales? Professional baseball players stretch, take batting practice, and do fielding drills before the game starts.

For senior living sales, we need to focus on the key behaviors that improve conversions and advance and close sales. Focus on spending time in the highest value behaviors, such as…

  • Participating in face-to-face and voice-to-voice interactions with prospects and referral sources so that you can build relationships. Tours, home visits, sales calls, and purposeful follow-ups are a few key areas.
  • Planning advances and strategizing with your top 10 prospects based on where they are in their decision-making journey and what they need next to feel comfortable to advance to the next step.
  • Doing creative follow-up to provide personal touch points that are meaningful to each individual prospect based on their likes, interests, histories, and motivators.

Attitude. What kind of mindset do you need to be successful? Every professional baseball player believes that he is going to win when he steps out on the field, despite the challenges. You need the same attitude towards senior living sales.

Acknowledge the challenges ahead, but always maintain a winning mindset. Yes, it’s competitive, and prospects have many choices, including competitor communities, home care, and doing nothing. There are family dynamics (drama!), sticker shock, various objections (e.g. “I’m not ready!”) to overcome. Focus on what you can impact:

  • Shift your mindset from “always be closing” to “always be advancing.” Not every prospect is ready to deposit or schedule a lease agreement, so always plan a couple of appropriate “advances” to keep them engaged and moving forward. Having lunch, attending an event, scheduling an assessment, and visiting with the prospect in their home are just a few ideas.
  • Increase your confidence in your community’s value by mystery shopping and understanding the competition so you can articulate the value of choosing your community. Never speak negatively about another option, but be able to help prospects sort through the pros and cons of each solution.
  • Have resources at hand to overcome your most common objections. Partner with financial solutions companies that can help families access benefits and unlock assets, such as life insurance policy conversion, long-term care insurance approval, and veteran benefits. Develop relationships with geriatric care managers, real estate agents, movers, elder law attorneys, and downsizing specialists.
  • Be open to learning. We are all either growing or dying professionally. If you think that you are standing still, you are wrong because the market is moving forward and those that do not change and adopt will not be successful.

Training. What do you know, what don’t you know, and how can you always be learning? Even Hall of Fame baseball players are always in training. They go to spring training for a month, get to the park early to practice before every game, and practice during the off-season. They have trainers and coaches working with them every day.

The same is true for us: As sales professionals, we are never “trained”; we are always “in training.” Here are some ways to keep your training sharp:

  • Sit in on webinars. Senior Living SMART offers webinars-on-demand to allow our members to stay current with the latest industry trends.
  • Attend industry conferences.
  • Get on LinkedIn. There are many webinars and other goodies offered through this network.
  • Sign up for SMARTNews »

So get your bats ready, step up to the plate, and bring home some occupancy this season!

Senior living marketing webinar

Red Carpet Tours Webinar – How To Plan & Execute the Perfect Personalized Tour

By Deborah Howard

This webinar will cover how to really roll out the red carpet for your tours and provide tools to provide a personalized experience and get your whole team engaged! Looking to improve tour conversions and grow occupancy? Then, this webinar is for you!


Execute the perfect tour with planning tools, including forms, signs, staff recognition & post-tour gifts and follow-up resources.

While members may download our guide here, the Red Carpet Tour products can be purchased through our SMARTbrand.

15% discount for Senior Living SMART members. Check it out!

Testimonials to Increase Leads, Tours & Move-ins

Senior Living Marketing: Use Video Testimonials to Increase Leads, Tours & Move-ins

Want to boost your senior living marketing BIG time? Think video testimonials!

You already know that people are more likely to believe statements made by current residents and families rather than slick marketing copy saying how fabulous your community. This is why review sites have so much sway, after all.

But what’s more compelling than written reviews? When people talk on video about your community. Why? Well, hearing a real person’s voice makes an emotional connection. In fact, according to this report on testimonials,”42% of people say testimonial videos are effective because they showcase an actual person and help the viewer understand their story.”

Testimonial Videos for the Win!

As you consider your senior living marketing strategy, make sure testimonial videos are a part of the mix. By taking a few extra steps, your residents and their families can tell prospects why they selected your community and why it’s so special.

Testimonial Video Production: Casual or Professional?

You can choose to have videos professionally shot. Or you can use a smartphone (or a mix between the two). Today’s phones  make editing super easy (and you can often add captions and calls-to-action). A nice mix of “candid” videos and pro videos is a good overall strategy. (Because people respond well to videos they deem authentic…we can all tell if a video is too slick.)

Testimonial Video Production: How Long is Too Long?

Think short. And be mindful of how you title the videos. In our experience, people will not watch a 5- to 10-minute video. However, they will watch five short videos, especially if they have descriptive titles that accurately explain what people are in for.

Of course, simply having video testimonials isn’t enough. You need to use them wisely.

Use Video Testimonials to Bolster your Overall Senior Living Marketing Strategy.

Check out these tips and real-life examples. Note: you can watch these video testimonials here. Below, we’re providing written excerpts.

1. Email a testimonial video to a family before they come in for a tour.

Make sure the video has quotes, not just compliments. A compliment would sound like this: “The community is friendly.” A quote is a specific statement sharing a unique way you made them feel welcomed.

Here’s a great example from The Kensington of White Plains:

“Ever since she’s moved in she’s improved. She has multiple things wrong with her. She had the stroke. She has diabetes. She has heart disease. And through all their care, everything has been stabilized and she’s probably the healthiest she’s been in quite a few years. She’s lost weight. She does a lot of physical therapy. She participates with the exercise and all the different activities they have there. And she’s having a really great time. I believe her mind has gotten better. Her physical body has definitely gotten better. And her attitude has definitely gotten better as well.”

Bonus: Putting videos in emails can go a long way in helping engage with people. In fact, according to Uscreen, including the word “video” in an email subject line was shown to increase open rates by 19%. Click-throughs jumped an astonishing 65%.

2. Use testimonials for creative follow-up.

It’s best if each video is short and tells specifically why families chose your community. In addition, ask people to focus on sharing specifics and their emotions.

Here’s a great one we gathered for The Kensington:

“You should have your parent go to The Kensington because they will treat your parents with the utmost respect and dignity and they will also become better than they could by themselves. We’ve been able to have a better relationship overall just sitting, chatting, having lunch, having dinner, just going to visit. It’s a place where even my kids can come and feel comfortable. The people there go way above and beyond to really take care of her and keep her healthy. The physical therapists there are spectacular. Nurses just take care of her like she was their mother and it’s very, very sweet. They’ll do anything for her.”

3. Overcome objections (and share far and wide on social media).

What objections are you getting? Create videos for each objection. Again, the videos should be short (1 to 2 minutes long) and have quotes from a few different people. That way you can tailor which videos to email to prospective families.

For example, a common objection is that the prospective resident is a picky eater or requires a special diet and they won’t like the food at the community.

Check out this great testimonial from The Kensington and how it overcomes an objection.

“Oh, the food is amazing. Norm, who’s in charge of the dining room, does a great job. He listens to the residents whenever they have any comments. He’s always walking around making sure that everybody’s okay. There are multiple options for whether you’re a vegetarian or a meat eater or anywhere in between and even some cultural dishes as well. Everything is done very carefully and with care and with good, fresh ingredients.”

Don’t forget to share your videos on social media! Videos are great for Facebook and Instagram. In fact, consider playing around with Facebook Live. Finally, make sure you embed the best videos on key areas of your site. For example, the home page, blog posts, pages of about resident life, and contact pages.

Need help creating and sharing video testimonials? That’s what we’re here for!

We’re not simply a marketing agency. We’re a senior living marketing agency. We’ve worked in the industry for decades, so we understand what resonates with prospects. Let us help you redefine your marketing. Get in touch!

Senior Living Sales: How Does Your Team Follow Up?

Senior Living Sales Strategies: How Does Your Team Follow Up?

I have spoken at countless conferences across the country on the topic of selling in the senior living industry. One of the most common questions I receive after a speech is this: “What are three senior living sales strategies that we can implement in our communities and start seeing an immediate impact?” Without the slightest bit of hesitation, my response begins with “follow up.”

Look at the facts (to the right) regarding follow-up. If you do not feel like you’ve been double-punched to the gut, then you might want to check your pulse.

As an industry, we do a poor job when it comes to following up with our prospects, and I attribute that to two main reasons:

First, as senior living salespeople, we want and desire instant gratification. We believe that the low hanging fruit is the new lead that just came in, when in all actuality, the hottest leads are already in your CRM. If we don’t “see” interest from the prospect after a couple of times of following up, our tendency is to dump them in the “cold lead” bucket.

Second, we are inundated with new leads. The senior living sales industry spends millions of dollars on marketing for new leads. As a result, we don’t have the time to spend quality time on creative follow-up. Our sales process becomes more of a quantitative approach as opposed to a qualitative approach.

Last year, we conducted research on the effectiveness of follow-up in about 60 communities over a six-month timeframe. Using our Post Tour Digital Comment Cards (DCC), we were able to prove that follow-up is critical to the success of your senior living sales process. Below are some key findings that we discovered from our research.

  • Response Rates. Once a prospect completed a tour of the community, the sales counselor sent a follow-up email with a link to the Post Tour DCC – an online comment card that captures the prospect’s experience. We limited the survey to 5-10 questions, as we did not want the respondent to get survey fatigue. Our response rate was 50%!
  • Move-In Rates. We were blown away by the response rates, but what was even more amazing was the number of move-ins. Out of the 50% that completed the Post Tour DCC, 23% of them actually moved into the respective communities.
  • The Driver. We know that these prospects did not move in just because of the Digital Comment Card. So we took a deep look into the CRM to see if a pattern existed. We found that the sales counselors followed up with the DCC respondents 5-10x more than they did with those who did not respond to the DCC.

The research proved what most sales trainers have been preaching for decades: following up is critical. Let’s take that a step further. It’s not enough to just follow up; you must provide creative and personal follow-up. When you take the time to really get to know your prospects, the creative follow-up becomes much easier (and you might actually have fun).

When it comes to effective senior living sales strategies, it begins with how your reps follow up.

The first question you have to ask is if your sales teams are even following up. The second question you have to ask is how creative is their follow-up. The bottom line is that if you are following up more than three times, you are doing more than 95% of your colleagues. You should be proud. But if you really want to move the needle, focus on how you follow up. Not only will you achieve superstar status, but more importantly, it will show that you care.

About the author: Mike Miller is the CEO of Primo Solutions, a full service mystery shopping, training, and consulting company that provides quality follow-up and follow-through measurement tools. Learn more at »


senior living marketing

Senior Living Marketing – 5 Ways To Roll Out Red Carpet Customer Service

So, you got the deposit check! Yes! Congratulations. Your sales process for this prospect has come to a close.

Or has it?

Make no mistake, the real sale begins after you collect the check.

You may have (or be) an amazing salesperson who brings in new residents right and left. If you do, bravo! Now’s the time for you to decide: Is it uphill or downhill from here? As Don Draper in the television show, Mad Men puts it, “The day you sign the client is the day you start losing them.”

It’s now up to you and your entire team to turn this new resident into a raving fan and referral source for your community. There’s a link between sales and service. When you roll out the red carpet for your customers, they run out and tell everyone they know.

Here are five ways you can deliver a red carpet experience, excerpted from the book, 501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers.

  1. Get Red Carpet Ready. How do you get hourly workers to deliver red-carpet service if they’ve never received red-carpet service? You must model it for them and you must set up a structure that supports them in their service efforts. Be very clear about what your service standards are and give people the training and the tools they need to act on them. Refrain from assuming that customer service is common sense. As one participant told me after a recent training program, “These are not skills I learned at home. So, when they tell me I have to improve my hospitality skills, but don’t train me, I don’t know what to do. Thanks to your training, I now know what to do differently.” WOW! You can’t expect people to deliver on expectations they don’t know you have, or standards you haven’t trained them on.

Get Red-Carpet Ready by defining your service standards and providing your team with training.

  1. Make Red-Carpet First and Last Impressions. You want to have them at hello and Give your team training on hospitality skills, and your entire front line team turns into an integral part of your sales force. Ed Eynon, VP of Human Resources for KSL Resorts, suggests the following behaviors:
    • Smile, make eye contact and greet people warmly before they greet you.
    • Open doors for guests and residents.
    • Learn to read people who look lost so you can assist them.
    • Use their name.
    • Always ask, “While I’m here, is there anything else I can do for you?”

Remember the telephone is often where that first impression is made. Make sure everyone who answers the phone knows how to do so in a professional, upbeat manner. Make sure there is someone knowledgeable to answer the phone. It’s frustrating to check on a parent in your community or facility and hear the phone ring and ring.

The last impression is important, too. Send guests home with an invitation to come back. Follow up to ensure a problem was resolved. Or send someone a handwritten thank-you note. Or stay in touch after someone’s parent has passed away.

  1. Make “Movie Moments.” There are moments in the best movies that we always remember: when Sandy and Danny drove off in Greased Lightning when Rocky Balboa ran up the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum, and when Luke learned the identity of his real father in Star Wars. These are moments that take us by surprise. They delight us and cause an emotional reaction so strong that we just have to talk about them.

Empower your team to create “Movie Moments” for your residents and other customers. For instance, one of the many Movie Moments the team at Mather LifeWays creates for their new residents is to have their favorite song playing in their new apartment the first time they walk in. What unique red carpet experiences could you create to WOW your new resident when they move into your community?

  1. Cut! Take-Two. Strive for flawless service, but give your people the tools they need to recover when human mistakes happen. Recover with style by TREATing upset customers to red-carpet service.
  • Tune In and Listen
  • Respond with Empathy and Regret
  • Explore Solutions and Fix the Issue
  • Add a little Extra
  • Thank the Customer

Report frequent occurrences to a manager. If you keep hearing the same complaints repeatedly, it means that something needs to be fixed.

  1. Give Standing Ovations to Your Staff: Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group, says, “Train people well enough that they can leave, but treat them well enough they don’t want to.” Your staff needs a little star treatment too! Dawn Winder, community director for the Allegro at Tarpon Springs, recently put her leadership team through my “21 Days of Thank You” exercise. Every day, for 21 consecutive workdays, they intentionally showed appreciation to staff members. “We’re having a great time,” she said, “and the team building is an added bonus!”

There’s never been a better time than now to focus on improving the customer experience. Your residents and other customers have more choices and louder voices than ever before. Make sure they are choosing you and bringing friends by rolling out the red carpet for them in the new year!

Donna Cutting, CSP is the author of two books on customer service, including the recently released 501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers: Easy to Implement Ideas to Inspire Loyalty, Get New Customers and Leave a Lasting Impression. She and her team work with senior living organizations to turn their team into an integral part of their sales force through the delivery of red-carpet customer service. Learn more here »

Sell to the Ballerina, Not the Wheelchair

Sell to the Ballerina, Not the Wheelchair

In Senior Living Sales

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend David Smith’s One On One Sales Training and he showed us this picture to illustrate his prospect-centered approach. It brought me back many years when I was a sales counselor and a new resident named Bea scooted herself down to my office in her wheelchair to tell me that she was bored. We chatted for a few minutes and I asked why she was not enjoying any of the day’s activities. She just sighed and said “the problem is that everyone here is so old”. “But Bea”, I replied, “you are 99 years old and almost every resident here is younger than you!” Her response stayed with me; “when I look in the mirror, I see a young and vibrant woman”.

I now realize that I was seeing the woman in the wheelchair but Bea was seeing “ballerina self“.

So, are we selling to the woman in the wheelchair or the ballerina?

There are two different sales philosophies in the senior living industry today – transactional and relational.




Target Demographic Need based & urgent prospects The “Not Ready” prospects
Available Market 10% of the qualified market 90% of the qualified market
How To Measure Effectiveness More Activities – More Leads, More Calls & Tours, Less Time from Inquiry: Move-in (shorten the sales cycle), Do More & Be Quicker Spend More Time in The Selling Zone – Face-to-face/ voice to voice/ planning/ creative, personalized & proactive follow up.
What Are We Selling Features, Benefits of Real Estate, Lifestyle & Experience Change
How We Are Selling Get all the qualifying information including wants, needs, finances, time frame and then match information to community solutions and sell “better & difference story”. Focus on readiness to change, stage of change – denial, thinking, planning or action. Build a relationship, help guide prospect to the best decision for them and learn life stories.

The transactional approach sells to the woman in the wheelchair and the relational approach sells to the ballerina.

6 Simple Steps to Senior Living Sales Management Excellence

Senior Living Sales Management: 6 Steps to Excellence

At Senior Living SMART, we talk to operators every day who ask the same questions about senior living sales and how to grow their occupancy. How do we get more conversions from senior living website? Which senior living CRM is right for our team? What data should we be looking at to improve results? What new technology should we invest in?

Here are some ideas from our guest author, Enquire Solutions.

1. Don’t lose sight of your true customers: Prospective residents

  • Many senior living marketers focus their sales efforts on the adult children, but ignoring the prospective residents can cost you sales. Don’t take our word for it. A recent ALFA Update highlighted two studies that investigated who makes care decisions. They found that while adult children are involved in their parents’ transitions 73% of the time, the seniors themselves have a say about 70% of the time.
  • Even when adult children make the decision, seniors are still the primary audience. Margaret Wylde of market research company ProMatura Group said: “You’re going to kill the deal if you don’t pay attention to the prospect. ‘If Mom isn’t happy, nobody is happy.’ Many times, executive directors are not taking care of the true customer.”

2. Get more out of your CRM software to increase your occupancy

  • According to senior housing marketing consultant Traci Bild, most senior living communities aren’t using customer relationship management (CRM) software as effectively as they could be, leaving potential sales on the table. In her experience, as many as three-quarters of senior living leads don’t move forward—they are just entered into the system and then forgotten.
  • CRM software’s lead management features can improve your sales process and help you deliver better customer service. When used properly, they can improve response time, automate workflows, deliver customized reports, and monitor your team’s sales performance.

3. Prioritize your leads to better target your sales activities

4. Centralize your sales efforts to increase conversions

  • Senior living communities traditionally have high turnover, in positions ranging from caregivers to salespeople. Centralizing your sales efforts can help you avoid the extra costs—and frustration—associated with constantly needing to hire and train sales staff. In addition, it can help you avoid the consequences of leads that are dropped in the turnover process.
  • Learn more about how centralizing your sales efforts using call center services can help you increase profitability while also controlling costs.

5. Make sure that everyone who answers the phone and is trained.

  • In 2012, senior housing expert Diane Masson conducted a small experiment. She called 12 retirement communities on a Saturday morning and asked them this question: “I am looking for a place for my mom – she lives in your town – how many places are there to choose from and how do you rate?”
  • The results were dismal: she gave one community an A+, two communities B’s, five C’s, one a D, and three F’s. Out of the 12, two went straight to voicemail (automatic F’s) and only four of the people she reached asked for her phone number. Many simply couldn’t answer the question.
  • Calling on a Saturday morning isn’t unusual—about 75% of the people who call senior living communities asking for information are adult children of prospective residents, who usually work during business hours. Don’t settle for anything less than an A+. When potential customers call, make sure the person who answers the phone can provide the information your customers need.

6. Don’t ignore the Internet

  • These days, the Internet can be a senior living community’s best friend or its worst enemy. In any case, it can’t be ignored. What happens online can affect your business in two major ways.
  • Leads – consumers today are well informed. A Google and CEB study found that buyers don’t contact suppliers until they are more than halfway through the purchasing process. They shop online before calling, and increasingly they make inquiries online as well. Traci Bild suggests that online leads are still widely ignored by the senior living industry, which means that simply treating online leads the same as phone leads can give your community a leg up.
  • Reputation -when prospective customers look you up online, what will they find? Online reputation management is a challenging, but essential, aspect of senior living management. For tips on how to do it right, explore this best practices kit provided by and

What is working for you in boosting your occupancy?

Feel free to leave your comments below!

And if you need a boost, let’s talk about how we can help.

Are You Shutting Down 90% of Your Prospects?

Are You Shutting Down 90% of Your Prospects?

Stop “Selling” to Start Closing

Do your higher-functioning prospects insist that they’re “not ready yet?” Have most of your leads “gone cold” through traditional sales techniques?

If your sales approach attracts more residents with higher acuity while missing out on the low acuity, higher-functioning residents, generating more leads may not be your answer to higher occupancies.

The traditional sales approach we are all taught is that in order to grow occupancy you make more calls, get more tours and ask for a deposit. Here’s what we tend to do in a typical transactional approach to senior housing sales:

  • Ask about the prospect’s needs. “Will that be independent or assisted living? Does mom need help with medications?”
  • Match all the benefits and features of your community to each of the prospects needs they stated. “We have a bus that can take you to the pharmacy. And we do med management.”
  • Reiterate logically how this will be a perfect solution. Why wouldn’t they want to move in?
  • Wait for a response. If they say “No, I’m not ready,” move on to the next prospect.

Sound Familiar? Of course this method works for the most urgent of prospects (high-acuity residents with the greatest needs), but what you might not realize is that this traditional sales approach doesn’t work for 90% of your inquires. These are the elusive, “I’m not ready yet” prospects who are typically categorized as “cold” leads in your CRMs and ignored by most sales counselors. The plan of action is to keep emailing them monthly, and when they are ready, they will move in. Or maybe they won’t.

What most sales counselors do not realize is that these prospects can be ready to take action if they are approached in a different way. “Not-ready-yet” prospects won’t typically respond to your event invitations, rent concessions or any other type of conventional enticement. The more you keep throwing benefits at them (or what they likely perceive as “selling”) the more they will withdraw. Yet these resistant residents are the ones we want in our communities. They are more likely to be active in activities, programs, require less drain on your staff, and will have longer length of stays.

Prospects typically view senior housing as a monumental life change and feel strongly that they don’t need to move to our communities. This may be akin to contemplating a divorce or job change, and those who make these decisions will go through various stages of decision-making and readiness. Even though one knows logically which is the right decision action can’t be made taken until the parties are emotionally ready. The more someone feels pushed to make a decision, the more they will naturally defend why they shouldn’t change.

Step back and think about the emotional aspect of change. Are you trying to “convince” your prospects, or are you guiding them through an emotional decision? The best plan of action for you is to help your prospects convince themselves with meaningful questions and sometimes tough conversations.

Rather than classify your prospects as “hot, warm or cold,” start categorizing your leads on where they are in a stage of change or “readiness.” Counselors can help motivate readiness by addressing—and hopefully overcoming — their prospects’ internal emotional barriers at each stage of the decision-making process.

Personalized Approach:

Depending on what stage of readiness your prospect is in, your strategy will need to be different. The questions you ask and the sales advances you aim for should be unique and personalized. Utilizing the same scripted questions for every prospect will not work, and this approach will actually give you the opposite result, no move-in.

Take some time to plan your next strategy for your top 10 prospects who fall under the category of “I’m Not Ready Yet.” By simply changing your approach and personalizing your follow-up based on what stage of readiness they are in, rather than trying to fit everyone in one box, will increase your sales conversions and give your community higher functioning, lower-acuity residents.

Download your free sMART GRID Guide

Help you assess your prospects’ stage of change and plan for better sales advances!

Network Resource Download

opt-in download access for white papers, ebooks, case studies, and more.

You can learn more about personalized, Prospect-Centered Selling℠ from the sales experts at One On One ( or see how the newest senior housing CRM sales conversion software called Sherpa can guide you through a better sales process.

7 Keys to Successful External Business Development

Senior Living Sales Tips: 7 Networking Strategies That Work

An important component of every successful sales plan involves generating referrals from professional sources. Of course, balancing internal and external sales responsibilities can be challenging for even the most talented senior living sales reps.

Here are some best practices and other senior living sales tips to get the greatest results from your efforts.

1. Have Designated Days Established for Senior Living Sales Networking

Tuesday – Thursday are usually the best days to meet with referral sources. To ensure that you create more referral opportunities with healthcare sources, find out what day they hold their care planning/discharge planning meetings and schedule a visit right after.

2. When Possible, Start Your Day with Sales Calls

Once you set foot in the community, it is very difficult to get out! Going directly from home to networking events, scheduled sales calls, and cold calls will reduce the opportunity for other sales activities to distract you from prospecting. 

3. Know the Difference Between a Sales Call and a Cold Call

A senior living sales call is a scheduled appointment with purpose. It is face to face and it serves to move your relationship with the referral source forward. To be effective, 50% of your sales calls should be scheduled in advance to ensure that you have a face-to-face appointment with a decision maker who influences referrals.

A cold call is an unscheduled face-to-face meeting with a decision maker who influences referrals. It involves having a conversation that moves the relationship forward.

Dropping off brochures, flyers, invitations, cookies, etc., does not qualify as a sales call or a cold call. You must have a face-to-face meeting/conversation with a decision maker or an influencer who can help you get to the decision maker.

4. Senior Living Sales – Understand Hunting and Farming

There are two ways to increase your business. You either have to get more business from your existing referral sources by going deeper in your accounts. Or you should find new pockets of untapped business. Finding new sources is hunting. Getting more business from established accounts is farming. Your week should be a combination of both hunting and farming.

The best way to hunt for more business is to ask every contact at every sales call who they know that you should be talking to. Statistically, every referral source you interact with has a network of 250 contacts. Ask them, “If you were me, who would you be talking to, or who would you want to meet?”

The best way to farm for more business is to ask your existing contacts who else you should introduce yourself to in their organization.

5. Don’t Spill All of Your Candy in the Lobby!!!!

Once you get the appointment, stick with your plan and time frame. It is very tempting to “dump” all of your information in the first visit and then have nothing to tell them in the next visit. On average, people only remember 7% of verbal communication.

6. Common Courtesy Goes a Long Way

  1. Call to confirm the appointment.
  2. Be on time.
  3. Come with a purpose that is meaningful to them.
  4. Stick with the agreed upon timeframe—they are busy!

7. It’s not about You!

The main goal for senior living sales calls is to learn about them—their role, their goals, their challenges, their business, who they would like to meet, how you can help them, what success looks like, how you can refer to them, and what resources would be valuable.  Take an interest in them and they will take an interest in you.

As you nurture the relationship, you’ll learn about their interests outside of work, which will provide an opportunity to do something memorable that sets you apart. If a referral source brings their dog to work, bring biscuits or treats for your next meeting. If they love to eat out, bring a clipping of a new restaurant about to open. People like to do business with people they connect with. Be creative!

How does your community’s sales team farm for new business? Please share!