The senior living industry has encountered its fair share of major shake-ups in recent years. In the face of issues ranging from a global pandemic and ever-shifting regulations to rising costs and workforce shortages, building patient census has likely never felt more difficult. As an assisted living marketing consulting agency, we’ve had a front row position in watching these changes unfold and helping senior living organizations to adapt.
From the consumer’s perspective, searching for a trustworthy senior living facility may feel equally as fraught with uncertainty. Those making inquiries are often overwhelmed, burnt-out adult children seeking care for an aging parent. Typically, they have little knowledge of senior care options, and are desperately in need of guidance, support and genuine kindness.
What Does This Mean for Assisted Living Sales Teams?
As a senior care provider, it’s vital that your sales team are adequately equipped to help families address the questions they need answering clearly, concisely, and better than your competitors. Here are 4 effective ways your assisted living sales team can help boost resident census by building trust in your expertise from the start.
- Follow up on all leads.
The first way to help your community stand out is to simply make meaningful contact. Ensure your responses to all inquiries are warm, professional, and tailored to each individual. Answer prospective residents’ questions fully and clearly, avoiding unnecessary jargon, and propose a solid next step. First impressions always count, and it’s important to bear in mind that at this stage, prospective residents and family caregivers are likely exploring a range of options. Avoid falling at the first hurdle by ensuring your assisted living sales team present your community as an attentive expert in the field of aging and senior care.
- Help prospective residents identify unmet needs.
It’s not uncommon for potential residents and their loved ones to feel out of their depth in the search for a great assisted living community. For many it’s their first time looking, and the whole process can be emotionally, financially and practically daunting. In order to address each potential resident and family member’s specific needs, you must first find out what those needs are. Ensure your assisted living sales team are well-equipped to help prospective clients figure out what truly matters to them. Establishing a set of questions to ask visitors who are unsure about their wants and needs can be a great place to start. You may wish to ask what made them begin their search for assisted living, for example (this might be an acute event, or an accumulation of more subtle challenges). It can also be valuable to understand how these challenges are impacting the family caregiver, and how urgently they feel their loved one needs to move to assisted living.
- Tailor tours to these specific needs.
Once your sales team have a robust strategy in place to help prospective residents pinpoint their needs, the next step is to address these needs – clearly demonstrating how your assisted living facility can help. For example, if a key concern from a family caregiver is their loved one’s struggle with incontinence and how this is affecting their confidence, you might focus on the dignified personal care you provide. Alternatively, if a senior is able to shower, use the bathroom and get dressed independently, but simply wishes to live in a community with more opportunities to expand their social circle, personal care may not be as high on their list of priorities. In this case, it could be more beneficial to focus on your close-knit community and diverse range of social activities. Not only does actively personalizing tours to the individual better help them understand how you will serve their needs, but it also demonstrates that you have listened thoroughly and with genuine interest.
- Encourage prospects to take the next step.
If you’re looking to increase patient census, the ultimate aim is to convert inquiries into residents. This is only going to happen if your sales team can get people on site for a visit. Ensure your assisted living sales team are clear on the next step to offer at each stage, and make sure that every prospect is encouraged to progress to the next important action. For example, when following up on email inquiries, offer to arrange a telephone call or in-person visit. In light of the pandemic, it may also be beneficial to offer a digital alternative like a personalized video or live tour via video chat. When conducting tours, be sure that every family leaves with crystal clear knowledge on what to do next should they decide your community is the right fit for them.
The Key to Assisted Living Sales
The key to selling is much simpler than you may have been led to believe. Catchy slogans and complex marketing strategies have their uses, but underneath it all, seniors and their family members often simply need reassurance. If your assisted living sales team is able to effectively tap into the unique needs of each prospective resident and tailor their tour experience accordingly, you will be well on the way to increasing patient census and ROI.
Level up Your Assisted Living Sales Training Today
Working with a marketing consulting agency can be a great investment to increase your assisted living organization’s patient census. After all, even the most sophisticated marketing efforts will be ineffective without a team who are clear on how to convert leads into residents. For more information on how SMCG can help you develop and deliver tailored assisted living sales training programs, get in touch today.