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7 Methods to Change Sales & Marketing Strategies to Engage Today’s Prospects

Senior Living Marketing Tactics That Will Engage Today’s Prospects

In my constant quest to keep up with all things senior living marketing, I recently read an article published by Senior Housing News called “The Secrets To Growing Senior Living Sales & Occupancy.

In a nutshell, here are the so-called secrets:

  • Do deep discovery.
  • Ask the right questions to get the right information.
  • Understand the difference between senior living marketing and sales.
  • View marketing as an investment, not a cost center.
  • Get the executive director involved in the sales process and train employees to understand the sales process.

Really? These are “secrets”? This same article could have been written 10 years ago!

Here’s the REAL secret: the way prospects engage with senior living communities has dramatically changed.

As such, our senior living marketing and sales tactics need to evolve, too.

We can’t keep recycling old “insights,” like the ones outlined above from that article, because our prospects expect more today than they did 10 years ago – or even three years ago.

So, what can your teams do to better engage with today’s prospects?

Keep reading…

1. Remember that your senior living website is your #1 sales tool.

According to the Senior Living Research Study, online research is the preferred method for gathering information about senior living options. It even ranked 35% higher than the second ranking method: recommendations/ word of mouth.

Other industry studies report that 87% of your prospects will visit your website before initiating any contact, like calling or walking into the community. And 37% of prospects will eliminate communities based solely on the quality of the website.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: It’s time to change the website experience from focusing on community features and benefits (in other words, the “let me tell you about me” model). Instead, re-position your site so that it becomes a valuable resource that seniors, caregivers, and professionals will visit often as they research options. Need ideas for improving your site? Choose our affordable senior living website audit, which will deliver clear action items.

2. Live chat can turn websites into lead generators.

Organic leads are great, but unless you quickly engage them, they will bounce over to a competitor’s site or a paid referral site. (The latter means providers will be buying back move-ins who had initially visited their website!)

Live chat, on the other hand, can quickly engage website visitor by demonstrating empathy and helping visitors access the info they’re looking for. An effective live chat host can generate qualified leads that can be transferred directly from the chat host to a community representative or turned into a scheduled tour. Chat can also provide evening and weekend coverage at a very low cost.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: There are many chat options available, but we typically recommend SiteStaff, because the chat hosts are US-based with specialized training in healthcare settings, like senior living.

3. Videos can help convert prospects into sales.

Here’s a stat for you: 80% of website visitors will stop and watch a video. Talk about engagement! There are many ways to use video, too, from background b-roll to video testimonials from happy residents to virtual tours.

And here’s the even better news: not all video has to be professionally shot. Smartphone videos can work well, especially on social media channels, like Facebook.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Pick up your phones and start shooting! Yes, you need to keep privacy laws in mind, but start shooting video. Short and sweet (think 30 seconds to a minute) can work well. Online editing software can allow you to add in calls-to-action, but you don’t even need to go to that far when sharing on social: just post with a brief intro.

And don’t underestimate using video for more formal things, like tours or room planners. One product we particularly like: DesignFloorPlan.com.

4. Transparent pricing matters.

“By far the most important senior living concern is cost” states the Senior Living Research Study.

However, most communities make it impossible to find pricing info on the website, leaving prospects to bounce over to a paid referral site who will not only provide your pricing information, but also your competitors’ info.

We understand that you want to sell your value first before providing prices, because you’re concerned prospects will experience sticker shock, particularly if they don’t have the full context. But the lack of pricing transparency is not helpful to prospects or professionals looking for information.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Consider making your pricing available through a short opt-in form with basic contact information. This scratches two itches: visitors get the info they want, and the sales team has the ability to follow up to establish value and offer resources to help fund senior living.

5. A better “template strategy” can reduce senior living marketing and sales costs.

One of the biggest marketing spends in senior living today is print. Think event flyers, invitations, incentives, direct mail, and postcards, just to name a few items. The problem is that the cost of graphic design, printing, and mailing continues to climb. Not to mention that the shelf life for these items is days or a few weeks TOPS.

The good news? A smarter “template strategy” can reduce these costs. Imagine having all the print items you regularly use at your fingertips as templates that are already outfitted with your logo and brand colors. All you have to do is customize them with the relevant details for that particular marketing campaign. Goodbye, design costs! Goodbye unnecessary printing!

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Check out our SMARTbrand and SMARTbrand+ options. We have a free version and an affordable subscription service that allows you to easily create the materials you need. Or if you like the idea of creating a full-blown template strategy, check out our SMARTstores.

6. Senior living events still work!

“The majority of people who know someone in senior housing have been influenced by this experience (73.0%), most often in a positive way (57.0%)” finds Imagination in their research study. Bottom line: senior living events still work!

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Make sure you include the following in your senior living marketing plan:

  • Friend & family referral programs
  • New resident welcome events for friends
  • Address change cards for new residents to send to friends and neighbors
  • Coupons for meals, salon services, weekend stays, and community events

Need help? Check out our senior living event management solutions.

Senior living marketing has changed. Work with an agency that’s evolved, too.

We’re not just any agency. We’re a senior living marketing agency. Our staff has industry experience, which sets us apart from other agencies (even the ones who also “specialize” in senior living marketing). Get in touch today and request your complimentary 30-minute brainstorming session.

5 Steps to Successfully Managing Your Online Reputation

5 Steps to Successfully Managing Your Online Reputation

According to Google, 70% of Americans online say they use reviews before converting to customers. A Harvard Business School Study found something they call The Yelp Effect. According to their study published in 2011, “A one-star increase in Yelp rating leads to a 5-9 percent increase in revenue.”

The senior living industry lags behind most other industries in creating and managing a strong online and social media presence. Online review sites will force an increase in awareness and action in ensuring that their communities are positively represented.

Here are some quick tips to pro-actively manage your online reputation:

  1. Review & Enhance – check out all of your online profiles for accuracy and utilize all available opportunities to provide content. Photos continue to be the most viewed components and virtual tours are also very effective.
  2. You can’t manage what you can’t see–get online and read reviews of your community. Check out Senior Advisor at https://www.SeniorAdvisor.com and Caring.com at https://www.caring.com, also Google Maps as well as Google, Yahoo! and Bing Places pages. (Whether you know it or not, your senior living community has a listing on all these sites.)
  3. Engage & Respond–regardless of the positive or negative content of the review. The more comments and responses that are posted about a community the greater the increase in revenue. Keep your tone positive and conversational, never defensive. A bad review is not the end of the day, as long as there are some positive reviews that put it in perspective and provide balance.
  4. Respond quickly–If there is a pattern of negative comments, respond quickly to address the issue. One negative review can be neutralized by counter balancing positive reviews, but there will be major damage control needed for unresolved complaints
  5. Be pro-active–encourage reviews throughout the resident’s stay. After a prospect chooses your community, send a link to review sites and ask them to comment about why they chose your community. After a successful resident and family event, a great state survey or nomination to a local “Best Of” award, reach out an provide links to online review opportunities. Post the best reviews on your website, acknowledge the review site and provide a link back to improve SEO.

The bottom line is that your families and prospects are already talking about you so now is the time to listen, respond, and join the conversation.


Free Download

The case for online reviews goes stronger by the day. Customers are increasingly searching online and referring to reviews before making a purchasing decision.

Members can download the ‘Why Online Reviews Matter’ tipsheet, or non-members may download the resource by filling out form in the link below:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!