Senior Living Sales: Are Your Prospect Tours a Horror Show?

Senior Living Sales: Are Your Prospect Tours a Horror Show?

It’s that time of the year when classic horror movies surface like Friday the 13th, Halloween, and A Nightmare on Elm Street (who doesn’t love Freddy Krueger, right?).

While they might have different plots, there is a consistent theme running through each one. Victims in horror movies do really dumb things over and over again. All you can do is sit and yell at the teenagers who are on the run from a murderous psychopath and head towards the attic, basement, or a garage crammed full of chainsaws.

They drop the car keys, hide beneath the bed, or investigate a creepy noise coming from the closet down the hall. No matter which movie you watch, these poor kids keep making it easier to get slaughtered.

I had my own horror movie when, after being in the senior living industry for over 20 years, I finally convinced my mother to tour the independent living community that recently opened in her town. What happened next was a nightmare.

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  • We couldn’t find the entrance and couldn’t find a place to park. We had to go around to the other side of the building. The nearest entrance took us back by the kitchen and we had a hard time finding the lobby area.
  • The sales director was not available and so we were brought to the community’s country kitchen. My mom was concerned about people seeing her, so it made her uncomfortable to be out in the open. (It’s a small town and people gossip.)
  • While we were waiting for 10 minutes, we were offered coffee. No tea, water, or juice – just coffee. It was brought to us in a Styrofoam cup.
  • When the sales director arrived, she directed all her comments and questions to me, not my mom, even though she knew my mom was an independent living prospect.
  • She didn’t get to know my mother and what was important to her.
  • She showed us every available apartment. My mom was exhausted and overwhelmed.

When my mom and I left the community, she turned to me in the parking lot and said, “This isn’t for me.”

Don’t be like the victim in a horror movie. In other words, don’t make the same mistakes over and over again in your approach to senior living sales, especially when it comes to conducting tours. Take a step back and evaluate how each tour went. Get feedback. Remember, a tour is a very emotional process for prospective residents and their families. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what type of experience you would want for a loved one.


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