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Fill Your Vacancies: Creating a Sales Process for Your Senior Living Community

Dec 26, 2017 9:00:00 AM

 

Fill Your Vacancies: Creating a Sales Process for Your Senior Living CommunitySales cycles in senior living are notoriously long.

Families often start researching facilities months before they’re actually considering a move, and with the pushback they sometimes get from loved ones and their own financial limitations thrown into the mix, it can often be years between initial contact and a closed sale.

In that time, vacancies come and go. And if you want to keep your doors open and your revenues healthy, you need to fill those spots – and fast.

Though you can’t do much to speed up the decision-making process of your potential residents, a well-tuned sales process can ensure you have a constantly revolving door of new opportunities.

What does that look like? Let’s break it down.

Fill Your Vacancies: Creating a Sales Process for Your Senior Living Community

Reaching the right audience.

First and foremost, you need to make sure your messaging is falling on the right ears. Break your target audience down into segments based on demographics, need and other differentiators. You should have at least three or four, including children of potential residents, spouses/significant others of potential residents and the potential residents themselves.

Jot down notes about each segment – their concerns, their challenges, their likes and dislikes, etc. Then create targeted campaigns for each one. For potential residents, you may want to try Facebook advertising or sponsoring a local church event or health fair. For resident family members, think younger, and invest in SEO, Twitter and email marketing. Then tailor your messaging to the segment’s exact needs and place in the decision-making journey.

Remember that in this industry you’re not just selling your community. You’re selling the entire idea of senior living – the lifestyle it offers, the benefits it can bring residents and their loved ones, and the long-term health and social advantages it affords older adults. Keep in mind that you need to sell the lifestyle first before you can even begin to interest someone in your individual community.

Fill Your Vacancies: Creating a Sales Process for Your Senior Living Community

Gathering leads.

Your biggest goal at this point in the process is to gather leads – people who could potentially become residents (or people who could influence those residents or make decisions on their behalf).

Lead gathering can be done in a few ways. The most common is using forms on your website. You could – and should – include a contact form on your website, allowing visitors to get in touch, ask questions or request informational materials. Be sure to put the email addresses and contact details received via the form into a CRM or contact management system so you can touch base later on.

You can also create lead capturing forms for:

  • Newsletters and email lists. Email is a great way to stay in touch with potential residents in an efficient and non-obtrusive way. Always include a subscribe button on your homepage header or footer, and allow users to sign up for your list with just one click.
  • Informational resources like ebooks, PDFs, toolkits, etc. Simply use the contact form as a “gate,” and when users input their email address and contact info, send them the resource via email or redirect them to a download page to receive their materials.
  • Blog posts. Create targeted blog posts for each of your audience segments, and include a call to action at the end. This can be to fill out a form and email you, click a link and download a resource or even sign up for email alerts about new blogs.
  • Landing pages. You should have landing pages for each audience segment and each targeted ad campaign you run. Include highly customized content on the page that drives the visitor toward action, and add a lead capturing form at the bottom to learn more about them.
  • Facebook ad campaigns. Facebook has new tools that allow you to add a form directly to your ads. Users can then fill out their information quickly and easily via their mobile app.

You can also gather leads in person, when people stop by for tours or when you make appearances at local health fairs or events. Just post a sign-up sheet at your booth or table, and encourage everyone who comes by to add their name and email address to the list.

Fill Your Vacancies: Creating a Sales Process for Your Senior Living Community

Nurturing those leads.

Once you’ve got a lead’s information, it’s time to start selling. Just remember, today’s consumers don’t like to be sold to the old-fashioned way. There’s no cold-calling, banging down doors or hard sells. Today’s buyers want value. If they give you their information, they want something in return.

In the senior living community, providing this value is quite easy. Most potential residents – and those who care for them – are looking for information. They likely want to know more about:

  • Health conditions and concerns common to seniors
  • The benefits/advantages of senior living
  • Local senior events and social gatherings
  • Service and pricing information for your facility
  • The safety/security of senior living

The more value you provide and the more you educate and empower those leads, the more they’ll come to trust you, your expertise and your facility. In marketing, there are few things as powerful as trust. That’s even more true when it concerns the well-being of an aging loved one or family member.

Have the Right Tools in Place

Not all of your sales process has to be done manually or by hand. In fact, thanks to digital marketing tools like Hubspot, you can actually automate a large portion of your lead generation and lead nurturing efforts. Schedule blog posts, create and track contact forms, and even create email funnels to reach past leads and draw them back into the fold.

We recommend using automation tools to all of our senior living community clients, as they save valuable time and effort and can ensure no lead falls through the cracks – even if your team is busy or you’re short-staffed. Want help creating and automating the right sales process for your community? Contact Outlet Creative Group today.

 

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