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How Senior Living Can Build Better Referral Pipelines

Full story from Senior Housing News →

Excerpt:

Senior living providers tend to have complicated relationships with third-party referral agents. Some providers may see the choice as avoiding them altogether and running the risk of losing leads, or employing their services and incurring sometimes hefty referral fees. But the smartest approach may be a middle ground, in which third-party agents are one part of a more varied referral pipeline.

Other industry leaders have voiced similar sentiments, and they have been heard by companies such as Senior Living Smart, which is framing a new pay-per-tour offering as an alternative to third-party referrals.

As a solutions network aimed at curating resources to help operators improve occupancy, revenue and service delivery, Senior Living Smart has provided its approximately 400 members access to a free 24/7 live chat service on their websites as a means of generating more exclusive leads.

“People are looking to reduce reliance on third-party lead aggregators,” Senior Living Smart CEO Debbie Howard tells Senior Housing News. “Our members are interested in the model because it’s no risk. It doesn’t cost them anything unless we produce results.”

Full story from Senior Housing News →

senior living marketing

Senior Living Leads: The Real ROI of Internet Leads

Internet leads represent 50% of all new lead generation in the senior living industry. There are many flavors, including organic lead generation from your own website, subscription (monthly flat fee) models, pay-per-lead, and pay-per-move-in options. If you need to increase lead generation, which model should you choose and how do you measure the ROI?

Here are the results from a six-month evaluation of every internet lead model, the financial results, the occupancy impact, and lessons learned about internet lead management.

Senior Living Leads: Evaluation Structure

We formed two groups of communities representing every possible combination of IL, AL, ALZ & CCRCs. One group received senior living leads from every internet lead model and managed the leads on their own. Another group received leads from the identical sources. A call center managed their leads for 30 days. Our goals were to measure the cost per lead, the cost per qualified lead, the cost per tour, and ultimately the cost per move-in. We also wanted to measure the impact of allocating dedicated resources to responding to internet leads on conversions, revenue, and occupancy. The two groups had almost identical occupancy (an average of 83.75%).

Senior Living Leads: Lessons Learned

If we skip to the end of the story, the call center results were significantly better than the community results – even though the call center staff had no experience in senior living. What they did have was a mindset to . . .

  • Respond immediately to every lead
  • Believe that every lead was viable (no pre-conceived beliefs that internet leads were low quality)
  • Ask every question on the Discovery form
  • Follow a 30-day lead nurturing process to look for opportunities if the prospect was not ready to tour on the first interaction

Here are some lessons learned from the call center results:

  • Day-one immediate response is critical for internet leads.
  • Having dedicated resources available 7 days a week led to improved opportunity.
  • 56% of “connects” (voice-to-voice contact for Discovery) happened on Day 1 (Day 2 dropped to 10%).
  • 53% of tours scheduled occurred on Day 1 (8.6% Day 2).
  • Quick response allowed the call center to connect with more urgent leads (28% looking within 30 days).
  • Following a consistent process for follow up with call outs & email nurturing for 30 days creates opportunity.
  • Although 75% of tours were scheduled in the first 7 days, 131 tours were booked Days 8- 30.

Senior Living Leads: Show Me The Money!

The communities who had the call center support grew their occupancy by 52 units in the six-month pilot. The communities that managed their own leads lost 28 Units of ADU.  This translated into over $3.5 million dollars in estimated revenue for the call center cohort based on an 18-month length of stay – even after paying the call center expenses.

Which Internet Lead Model Produced the Best Results?

The best results are always generated from organic senior living leads. Prospects who visit your website are not only interested in senior living, they are also interested in your community. The lowest cost to lead, tour and move-in and the highest conversions are from organic leads.  This is why investing in SEO and live chat on your website is a great investment.

Pay-per-move-in models performed significantly better than either subscription or pay-per-lead.  A Place For Mom produced the very best conversion rates across the board.  The cost per move-in ranged from a low of about $3700 to a high of over $11,000 so it is important to choose wisely!

Need help getting the most out of your community’s senior living leads? Let’s Chat!

5 Quick Ways to Turn Around Low Lead Generation

1.) Increase Sales Calls To Professionals

  • Identify Your Top 10 Referral Accounts & 10 New Target Accounts
  • Pre-Call Planning is key to have effective, scheduled, and purposeful interactions rather than low quality drop by’s.
  • End every sales call with a scheduled next step to continue to build the relationship.

2.) Resident & Family Referral Reward Program

  • If you already have one in place, take it to the next level with improved incentives and improved promotion (make it a topic at every resident counsel meeting, celebrate successes, call families with good news, and reinforce that the best compliment is a referral!).
  • If you don’t have a program in place, create one today!  Word of mouth recommendations from families and friends remain the primary motivation for selecting a community – and it is the least expensive lead generation!

3.) Embrace the Internet

  • Organic leads will increase as you tweak your website to be a resource to families.  Review your website to understand the user experience and ensure that your site is easy to navigate and invites users to take action.
  • If you are not using lead generations/ referral agencies to generate leads (subscription, pay-per-lead or pay-per-move-in), you are missing out!  The best results come from companies that employ advisors to work directly with the families.
  • Use review sites to increase leads.  Prospects are drawn to communities with robust reviews (it is ok if not all are five star!), Reviews are out there about your community today, so it is important to monitor and respond to them – and post the best ones on your website!

4.) Increase Events

  • Monthly events for your lead base & Professional referral sources.
  • Create a buzz – send out “Save the Date” to create anticipation and be creative with your themes to keep people interested and intrigued.
  • You will increase your attendance if you follow up with personal phone calls and /or visits after sending the invitation.  Be proactive in getting RSVPs.
  • Execute well and follow up quickly to turn good will into good referrals!

5.) Direct Mail Campaigns & Advertising

  • If the well has run dry and you have mined your database completely, it may be time to generate new leads through purchasing qualified mailing lists that match you community demographics.
  • Well messaged advertising with a strong call to action is worth a try when looking to expand the radius of your market reach.

If you need more help, just reach out to Senior Living SMART!