We believe marketing directors work hard to close on every inquiry. They know their communities well and are responsible for moving in many of the residents who live in the community. However, when there is so much supply and not a lot of marketing dollars invested in branding and initiatives to grow census, what can a marketing director do?
When I coach marketing directors and managers, there are basic principles I encourage them to adhere to in order to move an inquiry through the sales process and close on the sale. For a successful close, follow this basic key to growing census:
Know Your Customer
Successful sales managers and marketing directors understand the basic key to growing census. No matter how long they’ve worked in the industry serving seniors, the needs and preferences of retirees are different based on a myriad of factors. Lumping all seniors into one “retiree basket” and making assumptions limits a sales manager’s ability to build trust and earn the sale. Instead, sales managers should invest in learning more about their customers. For example, knowing how generational influences may impact what a retiree values or finds important is key to understanding your customer.
Whether a phone inquiry or a one on one meeting, successful sales managers and marketing directors listen. Although everyone loves to share about the wonderful features and all that the community has to offer, a sale is lost if directors speak more than they listen. Take time and allow your prospective residents to feel comfortable in sharing their story, what made them call you or walk through your door. The more you listen, the more you’ll learn.
Marketing directors with a proven track record know that not all questions are created equal. Hence, there is much to be said about proper discovery. If a marketing director has really listened to what a retiree is saying, then a platform has been provided allowing for the right questions to be asked at the right time. For example, if a retiree states that life just has not been the same since his or her spouse passed, an assumption could be made to discuss socialization. However, if an open-ended question is asked to clarify what the retiree means, the marketing director could learn that the retiree misses cooking with his or her spouse and the delicious meals they used to share. So, it isn’t just about socialization, but an experience centered around food and people important in the life of that retiree.
Provide Solutions That Matter
A successful sales manager or marketing director learns from the discovery process and will make connections. That is, after listening and asking questions, a sales manager will instead discuss what is important based on what matters to the retiree, not just features. What benefit is there to discussing the pool or billiard room if what really matters to the retiree is the travel opportunities the community offers? When a sales manager provides a solution that meets the needs of the retiree, he or she has demonstrated that they’ve listened, sought to learn and understands what will bring value to enhance the quality of life the retiree deserves and is looking for.
If these principles are followed consistently with every inquiry, every walk-in, every appointment, every time – a sales manager or marketing director will increase his or her closure ratio and census!