As a senior living marketing firm, we know how difficult it can be to increase assisted living census, even with the great knowledge and drive most marketing directors have. Budgets are often stretched, and without the dollars to spend on complex assisted living marketing, mastering sleek branding and clever initiatives might seem like an impossible task.
Luckily, there are a range of techniques you can adopt to help drive assisted living census without having to spend a single dime. Senior living marketing firms encourage the use of several basic, core principles to help clients get beyond initial inquiries and ultimately close sales. Here are just a few of SMCG’s favorites to get you started!
- Know your customer. It’s a common mistake to lump all seniors into one basket, making assumptions about their needs and wishes, when in fact each aging senior is completely unique. Taking time to analyze the needs of different groups of seniors based on things like generational influences, while also focusing on the needs of individuals within these groups will help you build trust from the start. Avoid making assumptions when you speak with seniors. For example, if a prospective resident says that life hasn’t been the same since their spouse passed, it’s easy to assume they only desire socialization, when in fact it could be that they miss the delicious meals they shared together, too. Which leads to our next point…
- Practice active listening and ask questions. When speaking to prospective residents and their family caregivers, it can be tempting to spend the majority of the meeting, tour or phone call talking about all the wonderful amenities and services your assisted living community has to offer. However, any senior living marketing firm would tell you that speaking more than you listen is a sure-fire way to lose a sale. Prospective residents are often apprehensive and have a lot of uncertainties. Taking an interest in their story and helping them feel comfortable asking questions is a great way to build rapport, positioning your community as one that truly cares.
- Provide solutions that matter. Once you have established what truly matters to a prospective resident, be sure to tailor the solutions you offer to their needs. After all, there’s no point asking them what they need if you aren’t then going to demonstrate how you can provide it. For example, if a senior has reduced mobility and wants accessible spaces to socialize in, they’re less likely to be interested in the exercise classes you have that do not offer accessible adjustments or promote socialization. Not only will providing solutions that matter help a senior envision how your community offers the best fit for them, but it also demonstrates that you have been listening with interest.
- Speak to your current residents. Your current residents are a great asset to your community. After all, these are the seniors who feel you did everything right! Ask them what drew them to you as a community, and make sure you retain these same standards going forward. Equally, ask them if there is anything else they would have liked to have seen during their tour or meeting. There’s always room for improvement, and hearing what your current residents have to say is an excellent way to elevate the experience for prospective future residents.
- Show genuine kindness and warmth. It might sound cliché, but one of the best (and most cost-effective) ways to boost sales is with a smile. Oftentimes, the decision to move to an assisted living or nursing care community is a difficult one for both seniors and family caregivers. Therefore, showing you truly care about the seniors you serve, and creating a warm, welcoming environment from the start is one of the most important things you can do. In fact, we’ve dedicated a whole blog post to the importance of genuine care and knowing what really matters to seniors here. Ensure all of your staff have had adequate sales training, and think about the little things you can do to make prospective residents and their families feel more at ease. Something as simple as offering visitors a cup of tea or coffee or being sure to thank them for their time and make sure all their questions were answered thoroughly could really make the world of difference.
By following these principles consistently with every inquiry, walk-in, appointment and tour, a sales manager or marketing director will be able to successfully increase their closure ratio and assisted living census. If you are ready to take your senior living marketing and sales to the next level, working with a senior living marketing firm could be an excellent investment to increase your assisted living census. At SMCG, we will leave no stone unturned in crafting the ideal assisted living marketing plan for your organization.