Knowing how to increase referrals and patient census as a senior healthcare organization can feel like a minefield. As a CEO, owner operator, sales manager, or physician, you have the knowledge and drive to manage operational demands smoothly while constantly improving your senior living marketing strategies.

So, why doesn’t this always lead to increased patient census?

Because focusing on logistics and technicalities alone is not as effective as you might have been led to believe. The good news is that the real key to increased patient census is much simpler. Though adapting to the latest developments in senior living marketing is vital, the most important aspect of any strategy can be summed up by one simple philosophy:

“People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Of course, showing evidence of your expert knowledge is important, but without first demonstrating kindness, empathy and genuine concern, you’re much less likely to get the opportunity to showcase that knowledge in the first place. Regardless of the setting in which you’re delivering care, seniors are trusting you with their most valuable asset – their health and being aware of their needs allows you to provide a solution or care plan that best supports them. This is where knowing ‘the need behind the need’ comes into play. 

What is the ‘Need Behind the Need’?

When a senior connects with an assisted living community, nursing care facility or doctor’s office, their overarching needs may appear obvious. Perhaps they have a specific acute injury or chronic condition, or maybe they’re struggling with mobility in their own home and require a residency with greater safety provisions. 

When you dig below the surface, though, there’s often a lot more to consider, and each senior has individual ideas and hopes about what they wish to gain. They may be craving a greater quality of life with the chance to pick up new hobbies, or maybe they would like to improve their self-esteem while reducing the burden of care on their loved ones. 

How do you Find out the ‘Need Behind the Need?’

The simplest yet most effective thing you can do is speak to your current residents. After all, these are the seniors who felt you met their needs. Find out what it was that drew them to you. Were they comforted by the thought of being surrounded by medically trained staff 24/7, or did they like the idea of having more opportunities to socialize? 

Think about what your medical practice or senior living community offers beyond the obvious. Your current valued residents or patients are your ambassadors, so it’s worth taking time to find out what truly matters to them. As the people who already chose you above your competitors, their thoughts and opinions will always be immensely valuable.

How Can This Increase Referrals and Patient Census?

When you’ve painted a clear picture of the ‘need behind the need’™ of your current and potential future residents, you have access to a powerful tool to drive sales. Clever senior living marketing campaigns will get you so far, but when it comes down to the crunch, what truly matters is how much you really care about current and prospective residents.

So, once you know what matters most to the residents who chose you, focus diligently on these areas. If they love the range of classes you have to offer, expand them further. If seniors feel reassured by the support you provide for adult children and other family caregivers, work on nurturing this community by hosting support groups or coffee mornings. 

When you deliver on the things that matter to your residents, not only will their senior living experience be improved, but they will also tell their friends, family members and even strangers about the great work you do. Focusing on perfecting what you already do well forms a great foundation for a solid reputation and increased referrals.

Why Are Referrals Important?

No matter what type of care your organization specializes in, referrals matter. More referrals lead to more sales, and more sales lead to increased patient census. Increased patient census means more funding, which then opens the door to valuable community expansions like hiring a larger team of highly skilled staff, or investing in specialist facilities to suit your residents’ needs. These improvements will then lead to even more referrals and sales, and the cycle can continue indefinitely!

How Can Hospitality Based Sales Training Help?

Having a great sales training program for your whole team to get on board with is a great way to ensure your levels of customer service are excellent across the board. Though it’s important to know the ‘need behind the need’™ it’s equally important that your team have the right skills to showcase this genuine care from the start – whether it be during tours, over the phone or through online communication. 

6 Quick Sales Team Training Ideas:

  • Educate your team on what truly matters to potential residents using well-researched consumer personas and input from current residents.
  • Focus on great customer service so future residents feel welcomed and supported from the start.
  • Teach your team how to actively listen and identify the ‘need behind the need’™ for each individual prospective resident.
  • Work on tailoring tours to address these unique needs, wishes and anxieties.
  • Empower your team members in their personal roles.
  • Keep your sales training strategy updated.

For more great sales team training ideas, take a look at this blog post

How Can SMCG’s Senior Living Marketing Consultants Help?

Get in touch today to find out how our senior living marketing and sales experts can help you discover and utilize the ‘need behind the need’™ of your residents or patients. As a senior living marketing agency with years of experience, we pride ourselves on going beyond the ‘cookie cutter’ approach, focusing instead on what truly matters to the seniors you serve – both present and future!