What will make your senior living community stand out from the rest? After all, some communities that have a steady stream of new residents every month while others struggle to find new residents.
To find the answer to these questions, you have to look at your community through the eyes of your prospective residents and their families. What kind of message do you communicate to them during tours and in your marketing materials? Are you able to form a connection with your prospective residents and put them at ease?
To help you improve and refine this process, here are seven ways to connect with your senior living prospects:
Be aware of the language you are using
There are certain words you should shy away from using in the senior living industry. Never use words with a negative connotation such as facility, institution, patient, old folks home, or rest home. You would be astonished at how many times people in the industry still use “facility” when speaking with the public.
These words matter and will directly affect the perception of how you and your senior living community are perceived. You should avoid these not only in your marketing materials but in the language you use within and outside of your community.
Use care when dealing with adult children
Always use care when you are working with adult children. They are in the middle of making an extremely difficult decision and need a lot of patience and compassion.
Answer their questions honestly, be their sounding board, and a valuable resource to them during this challenging process. Most adult children will initially find the bulk of their information online. So most of your digital marketing efforts should appeal to the adult child.
Share what it is like to live in your community
Both the adult child and your prospective resident are concerned about the quality of care and the quality of life you offer, the day-to-day lives of the residents, and the overall cost.
Care.com found that 42 percent of adult children believe that the most important thing for their parent is their independence, followed by their health and overall comfort.
Prospective residents will want to know what they will be doing all day. And you need to have something more to offer them than daily Bingo games as this is not for everyone.
Don’t ignore your prospective residents
One of the biggest mistakes a senior living community can make is ignoring the parent and spending the entire visit trying to sell the adult child. Your actual customer is the future resident, and you should make them feel welcome.
When a prospective resident is visiting your community for the first time, be acutely aware of how you act. They are nervous and anxious about fitting in, so it’s crucial that you make them feel comfortable.
When you are touring a prospect, make sure you introduce them to other residents and staff members. This will make them feel more comfortable and show them that they are joining a welcoming community.
If you have enough lead time, provide staff with the name of the guest you are touring so they can call them by name. The personalization adds a wonderful personal touch to what can be an anxious and cold process.
Consider every visitor a qualified lead
Consider every person a qualified lead no matter where they are from or what model of car they drive. And after the appointment, don’t just assume that the family needs time to think it over. Immediately follow up after every appointment with a handwritten “thank you” card. See recent article entitled “In Senior Living Sales, Follow Up is Where Winning Begins” on seniorlivingsalesandmarketing.com
Share the life stories of your residents
To share stories, you must first get to know your residents and acknowledging that each one is a person with a unique life history. Just because a resident has aged, doesn’t mean they are nonexistent or deserve to be talked to like a child.
Get to know the residents, listen to them, and find out about their accomplishments. Sharing your residents’ stories is a powerful way to connect with new families that are interested in your community.
Put yourself in the prospect’s situation
There is a well-known quote that says, “Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes.” Empathy is imperative when dealing with your prospective residents and their families. Put yourself in their situation and have compassion for the challenges they are facing.
Moving out of their home into a senior living community is one of the most challenging decisions many people will have to make. After working their entire life for security, independence, and memories, it can be scary to give all of that up.
Take the time to talk to your employees and think about the emotions your prospective residents will be feeling during this time. Do everything you can to ease their concerns and to move through the process as slowly or as quickly as they need to.