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What Can Sales People Do If They Cannot Sell?

Senior Living Sales Tips: What Can Sales Reps Do If They Can’t Sell?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Like everyone else around the globe, we’re struggling with this new reality due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Heartbreaking stories of loss and grief and a world economy inching towards recession are just some of the things keeping us up at night.

As a marketing agency focused solely on the senior living industry, we’ve been thinking about all our clients as they face these unprecedented times. It’s hard to see past this pandemic since we’re only in the early stages, but at some point, we know we’ll begin to adjust to this “new normal.” The articles we’ll be providing during this time are designed to offer senior living sales tips and marketing strategies that can help right now. 

Senior Living Sales Tips: Selling in the Age of COVID-19

COVID-19 has understandably restricted many senior living sales activities, such as tours, events, home visits, and move-ins, but there’s still plenty that sales teams can do to remain productive and helpful.

Here are some senior living sales strategies to consider.

Stay connected with prospective residents:

Remember, the goal isn’t to sell, but to connect. Be that reassuring voice people need in this time of uncertainty.

  • Work the phones in a compassionate way. This is the perfect time for senior living sales reps to call every prospective resident and see how they’re doing. (Your call-out connect rate should be very high with everyone being at home!) Really listen to people’s stories, their concerns, their fears, and how they’re navigating day to day. Again, there’s no need to sell. Let them know you’ll be there when they’re ready to move forward.
  • Give back to local businesses. Support local restaurants and have meals delivered to prospects who are isolated and/or purchase restaurant gift cards and send them out.
  • Put the CARE into care packages. Drop off care packages on prospects’ doorsteps with non-perishable foods, like canned soups, pasta, and rice; crossword puzzles/ game books; cleaning supplies (if you have them); and a good book to read.
  • Be a conduit of helpful info. Put together a list of local resources and mail this document to people (or include it in the care packages). To start, call local senior centers, area agencies on aging, Meals on Wheels, churches/synagogues, and so forth to learn how they are serving seniors. Get a list of delivery options for meals and pharmacies. In addition to sharing this info with prospects, post it on your website and social channels as well.
  • Post uplifting photos, stories, and testimonials. Include ones from residents and staff and post to places like Facebook. This will help show how your team is serving residents and staff during the pandemic.
  • Line up speakers who can provide virtual events. You can host these events via Facebook Live or Zoom to keep prospective residents informed and connected to your community.
  • Put together a “Daily Distraction” email. Include an uplifting message and things like links to fun activities to do at home, funny YouTube videos, zoo/aquarium cams, and so forth.
  • Continue to create virtual sales experiences. Check out this article with even more tips for creating positive virtual sales experiences.

More Senior Living Sales Tips: Help fellow staff members and current residents:

Sales teams can also offer a helping hand to overworked staff members. Some ways you can help:

  • Offer to lead activities or visit with residents to increase engagement. Ask your community’s activities director how you can help. They’ll have tasks for you, no doubt! (If you have a talent, interest, or hobby that you can share, go for it!)
  • Help residents remain in contact with their families. Set up Skype/ FaceTime for residents to connect with their families.
  • Roll up your sleeves. Assist with non-clinical tasks, such as delivering meals and cleaning common areas.

Attack that to-do list:

Have you ever said, “If only I had some extra time, I could get some of these things done”? Well, now you do. Start tackling some of those items that get pushed down the to-do list during busier times.

Some ideas:

  • Update online listings. This is the perfect time to update and optimize your Google My Business page and all your directory listings (we can help with this!). The more you can do today to improve search ranking, the better positioned you’ll be when your community is fully open for visits.
  • Crank out content. Write blogs about all the questions that prospects have in the sales process. Blogs will provide a much needed SEO boost for better search ranking when things return to normal.
  • Connect with the marketing team. Review analytics (pre-COVID-19) to better understand what marketing initiatives have been working and to brainstorm new ideas to try in the future. Sales and marketing teams should be working together regularly anyway, but this is a good excuse to re-engage with them.

As always, we’re here to help you market and sell more effectively during the pandemic. If you need other ideas regarding senior living sales tips and marketing strategies, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

[WEBINAR] Senior Living Lead Generation During COVID-19

Even during a pandemic, we marketing and sales professionals must continue to connect and engage with our prospects, both existing and new. Learn what senior living lead generation options are available to continue your work towards those 2020 marketing and sales goals!

Senior Living Lead Generation During COVID

Here’s what you’ll learn: 

  • Engaging with prospects in the absence of tours and events
  • Alternative lead gen strategies
  • What prospects need from you during this pandemic
  • Maintaining and increasing your brand awareness
  • Best CTAs that are not tour or event focused
Crisis Communication Tips for Senior Living Communities

Crisis Communication Tips for Senior Living Communities

EDITOR’S NOTE REGARDING CRISIS COMMUNICATION: Like everyone else around the globe, we’re struggling with this new reality due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Heartbreaking stories of loss and grief and a world economy inching towards recession are just some of the things keeping us up at night.

As a senior living marketing agency, we’ve been thinking about all our clients as they face these unprecedented times. It’s hard to see past this pandemic since we’re only in the early stages, but at some point, we know we’ll begin to adjust to this “new normal.” The articles we’ll be providing during this time are designed to help senior living sales and marketing teams when they’re ready to move forward.

Crisis Communication: Appropriate Messages during COVID-19

The messages your senior living community puts out during a crisis matters. You’ll need to halt salesy messaging like “Schedule a Tour” or “Join Us for Lunch” and focus on complete transparency. Yes, transparency should always be the foundational element of your sales and marketing messaging, but let’s face it: in normal times, messaging doesn’t always sound like that, does it?

But we’re not living in normal times. So things NEED to shift to 100% transparency.

The crisis communication messages you should be sharing:

Community-wide/General

Your leadership’s clear and direct response to COVID-19. You should have a call-out in the header area of your website with a clear link to your community’s full response. This response should include basics, like how your community is addressing the outbreak, visiting hours, important phone numbers, and how you’ll be delivering updates. Check out this blog post for more tips.

The various ways your community is supporting residents, staff, and their families. Social media is an excellent way to share real-time images of your community’s social distancing efforts, cleanliness efforts, and modified activities in the Age of COVID-19. People crave reassurance during this time. Visual images can go a long way in helping. (This goes without saying, but under no circumstances should you “stage” any photos. Be real. Be authentic.)

Unvarnished truths. No sugarcoating is allowed. Don’t try to convince people that they’re better off in a community when all credible news reports are constantly reminding us about social distancing. Instead, talk about how your community is helping everyone stay safe and adjust to new realities. At the same time, you can and should absolutely share solid truths. For example, if your community is indeed fully stocked with food, cleaning supplies, and medical supplies, that’s a reassuring message that people will want to hear.

Safe, actionable things that family members can do to support their loved ones. This is likely going to be one of the biggest things you need to focus on—the feeling of helplessness that so many family members are going to have when it comes to being able to connect with their loved ones. Some ideas:

Marketing and Sales: Changes to Messaging

 Update the messaging in paid advertising. Paid campaigns will need to have different calls-to-action for the time being. Again, halt the “schedule a tour” messages and focus on “virtual experience” items. See this previous blog post for ideas regarding that.

Pause lead nurturing OR update it to reflect the current situation. If you let your automated lead nurturing simply continue “as is” during this pandemic, your community will come across as out of touch and incredibly insensitive. So pause all campaigns OR update every email with a simple disclaimer at the top about COVID-19 (in italics, in a different font—something to make it clear there are humans behind these emails). Double check subject lines and revise any that are too cute/clever.

Review any scheduled social media posts. If you schedule out your social media posts, take a moment to review everything that’s scheduled and pause, delete, and revise, as needed. Remove any posts that are too self-promotional. Make sure you’re sharing a good mix of COVID-19 related messages (see first section above).Be mindful about third-party posts that you share. ONLY share from credible organizations like the CDC or your local department of public health.

Consider shifting some digital marketing dollars to more traditional direct mail efforts. Direct mail might have a better chance to stand out since more people are at home right now. Reminder that we have a turnkey solution for your direct mail efforts: SMARTbrand (including a basic free plan).

Update email signatures. Your marketing and sales teams should update email signatures with a link regarding your community’s response to COVID-19 and provide a way to “virtually” meet, like a link to an online scheduler.

With COVID-19, things are changing hourly, and recommendations will change.

What we recommend now could change tomorrow or a week from now. If you need help with your crisis communication plan and messaging, call us. We’ve worked in senior living communities for decades and know what it’s like during times of chaos. Let’s chat soon.

Tips for Creating Virtual Sales Experiences in Senior Living

Senior Living Sales Strategies During COVID: Create Virtual Experiences

EDITOR’S NOTE: Like everyone else around the globe, we’re struggling with this new reality due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Heartbreaking stories of loss and grief and a world economy inching towards recession are just some of the things keeping us up at night. As a senior living marketing agency, we’ve been thinking about all our clients as they face these unprecedented times. It’s hard to see past this pandemic since we’re only in the early stages, but at some point, we know we’ll begin to adjust to this “new normal.” The articles we’ll be providing during this time are designed to give senior living sales strategies and marketing tips that can help. 

Senior Living Sales Strategies: Think Virtual & Interactive  Experiences

The current “no touch” reality due to COVID-19 will require creative approaches for senior living sales teams. Several states have suspended move-ins and on-site visits. As a result, occupancy rates can only go down until these restrictions are lifted.

No doubt, the last thing on most people’s minds is marketing or sales, but it’s important to keep initiatives going—in a thoughtful and compassionate way, of course. For the foreseeable future, tours, events, and perhaps even home visits will not be options, so here are some ideas for creating effective (and, bottom line, SAFE) sales experience for prospective residents.

Your New Front Door

People might not be able to physically enter your community, but that doesn’t mean you can’t provide them a glimpse inside.  Remember, your website has always served as your virtual front door. And, for the time being anyway, it is THE entry point into all that your community offers. Everything that people would usually come into the community to experience must be available on your website.

Here’s a quick list of must-haves to create an interactive experience:

  • Live Chat. Real human chat “hosts” should personally welcome website visitors, answer questions, provide information, and generate leads. Your human “hosts” can work from the safety of their own homes.
  • Video Conferencing. Meeting “face-to-face” in this new reality is possible, thanks to virtual conferencing options. Skype is free and widely accessible. Paid options like Zoom are budget-friendly.
  • Downloadable brochures (gate this with a form so you can gather contact information and follow up). Here is an example.
  • Video Tours. If you don’t have professional video tours, invest in a technology such as HeartLegacy and have the sales team create videos to highlight the community. Here is a sample.
  • Interactive Surveys such as Roobrik allow prospects to find their best senior housing and care option.
  • Floor Plans and Interactive Room Planners. Here is an example.
  • Testimonials to show the experience of living in the community. Check out these examples.
  • Links to Facebook to highlight all the positive stories within each community.
  • A Robust Resources Section. Think blogs, guides, videos, links to COVID-19 articles, and guidelines to show that you are well prepared, caring, and reassuring.

Taking these steps won’t be in vain, either. Since most searches for senior living begin online, creating a strong virtual experience for people is something that will help your community for the long term.

As always, we’re here to help with your marketing and senior living sales strategies during COVID.

If you need assistance making any of the above happen during this chaotic time, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Battling COVID-19 Webinar

Senior Living Marketing Webinar: Battling COVID-19

We’ve gathered industry experts for this FREE senior living marketing webinar to give you the tools to effectively manage the COVID-19 pandemic in your senior living community. From resident and staff health, effective procedures for cleaning and disinfecting to managing crisis communication.

Here’s what you’ll learn: 

  • Strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in senior living communities
  • Prevention, treatment of COVID-19
  • COVID-19 HR Policy
  • CDC Recommendations
  • Safety FAQs
  • When should you use standard precautions
  • Three types of transmission
  • Practicing good EVS procedures
  • Supporting staff, residents and families
  • Crisis Communication
  • Virtual sales tools
Special Edition: COVID-19 Communication Tips

Senior Living Marketing Crisis Communication Tips for COVID-19

The World Health Organization has officially used the term “pandemic” in relation to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Senior living communities are especially vulnerable to this disease, so what your community does next matters. These crisis communication tips will help.

Effective and pro-active communication with residents, families, referral sources, and prospects should be a high priority.  If you have a crisis communication policy, dust it off and start executing. If you don’t have something in place, follow these crisis communication tips ASAP.

Crisis Communication Tips: Be Open, Honest, & Transparent

Everyone wants reassurance that you have a plan in place to minimize risk and exposure to your residents and staff. Plan to communicate at least daily through a dedicated hotline number with a regularly updated recording. Or make a live central contact available to answer questions. Provide specifics on your protocols. In addition, reference the CDC recommendations for reducing risk and exposure to residents and staff.

Here are some links to include in your communication:

Crisis Communication Tips: Address the Most Pressing Concerns

Some of the most pressing questions include the following. Make sure you have answers:

  • Is my loved one safe right now? How will you ensure their safety throughout this crisis?
  • Will you close the community to visitors? If so, how will you provide resident status updates?
  • Are you stopping admissions, cancelling events and trips, serving residents on paper or delivering meals to apartments?
  • Do you have enough staff and supplies?
  • Are you increasing inventory of medical, food, and service supplies?
  • Have you increased your cleaning/ disinfecting protocols?
  • Are you retraining staff and hosting Town Hall meetings with residents?
  • What will you do if the virus is detected in the community?

People want to know what steps you’re taking to minimize risk. In addition, they expect regular communication about it.

Crisis Communication Tips: Use Every Communication Channel

You don’t know how or where people will go to access info. So, use all communication channels to deliver a consistent message.

Website. Put a banner on your website with a link to your prepared statement.

Email. Send emails, as needed, to all residents, family members, and responsible parties. First, outline your resident safety protocols. Second, reassure fearful and anxious family members. Finally, provide the various ways people can get regular updates.

Phone. Have a dedicated hotline to provide regular communication. This can be a central person available at the corporate level, recordings at the community level, or a call center. The more proactively you push out information, the fewer burdens there will be in managing incoming calls.

Live Chat. Provide your live chat partner with your crisis communication plan and FAQs so they can engage appropriately with website visitors.

Automated messaging technologies. Communication platforms, such as Voicefriend, automate notifications to residents, families, and staff via recorded phone messages, text, and email.

SMS. Do a bulk text notification to all residents, family members, and responsible parties. Include links to your updated notification channels, such as your hotline and website.

Prepare a media statement. If reporters contact your community, your department heads need to have a prepared statement that they can provide. Here is an example from Brookdale.

Example to follow: Brookdale has done a great job communicating their plan. They even created a COVID-19 Toolkit. Check it out here.

As always, if you need help creating or setting up any of these items, we can help you effectively sell and market your community during the pandemic

The Magic of Higher Funnel Thinking Webinar

The Magic of Higher Funnel Thinking Webinar

Here’s what you’ll learn: 

  • Valuable insight into marketing resource and effort allocation
  • Actionable tips for engaging older adults and their families sooner with minimal effort
  • Information about how decision science can influence marketing content
  • Proven path to getting families “unstuck” in their senior living decision process
Another At-Bat: How to Rescue A Missed Opportunity Webinar

Another At-Bat: How to Rescue A Missed Opportunity Webinar

Here’s what you’ll learn: 

  • Inbound call handling best practices
  • Understand why calls fail
  • Expose blind spots in the customer journey
  • See how to calculate what its costing your organization to not effectively capture calls.
To Publish or Not to Publish? That is the Question About Community Pricing Webinar

To Publish or Not to Publish? That is the Question About Community Pricing Webinar

Here’s what you’ll learn: 

  • How to build a family/prospect experience strategy that scales.
  • How to interject powerful touch points that wows the family/prospect.
  • How to measure the efficacy of your customer experience strategy.
  • How to build your customer experience plan to deliver.
Utilizing Voice Technology in Senior Living Communities Webinar

Utilizing Voice Technology in Senior Living Communities Webinar

Here’s what you’ll learn: 

  • How to increase resident attendance at activities by up to 40%
  • Solutions to easily keep the visual and hearing impaired seniors engaged in the community
  • Easily Increase staff productivity
  • Increase health and safety using Amazon Alexa enabled devices and voice technology
  • Increase resident and family engagement
  • Easy ways to inform stakeholders during emergencies
  • How leading communities are increasing prospect attendance at events and tours