When you run a senior living community, one of the most critical factors in your success is being able to maintain a flow of potential residents. This is highly impacted through an effective meeting and follow-up process. Sales and marketing representatives at senior living communities should never assume that a meeting is the end of the possible relationship; after all, many leads don’t become clients for several years. Many families like to research in advance of actually needing the services of a senior living community, and if you operate and market such a community, there are five things you need to do to ensure continuity of communication with that potential resident, or their family. According to Roy Barker of Moore Diversified Services and seniorlivingsalesandmarketing.com, these five things can make the difference in having a healthy pipeline to keep your community at maximum occupancy.
Enter All Contact Information in Your CRM Database
Whether you keep track of your potential clients using pen and paper (insert see other blog on automation here), or you have a sophisticated customer relationship management CRM system or database, you need to enter contact information right away. Side note: if you are still using pen and paper to track your potential clients, Roy recommends upgrading to something a little more robust to manage your prospects and outreach more smoothly. Make sure you write down some notes about your potential client and their family. For example, what brought them in, how did they hear about your community, their hobbies, their likes and dislikes, their needs and wants, and a timeline for when they expect to be needing the services of a senior living community such as yours.
Set a Reminder for Yourself to Continue to Follow Up
When it comes to developing and maintaining a pipeline of potential residents, a senior living community sales and marketing representative should set reminders for themselves to ensure follow up after every meeting. To maintain a routine, set your follow-up meetings as discussed in the initial meeting. You’ll also want to set reminders for yourself to send a thank you card within 24 hours of the initial meeting, send a recap email within a few days, and set a reminder to phone the prospective client in the future. Maintaining a consistent contact with your potential resident and/or their family is what will help keep your senior living community fresh in their mind. According to Roy Barker of Moore Diversified Services and seniorlivingsalesandmarketing.com, this helps to establish the relationship that is necessary to create a culture of trust with your potential residents.
Send a Thank You Card
The next thing you need to do is send your new contact a thank you card. This could be the potential resident, a family member, or both depending upon the situation and what was discussed. Notes can be an email, e-card, or physical card sent through the postal service. Either way, within 24 hours of your meeting, make a point to send a thank you card as follow up. You can also include some additional marketing material — nothing too pushy — just a bit more information about your community or perhaps information about an upcoming open house or event that might be of interest to your new prospect. Be sure to include your contact information and encourage your prospect or family member to direct any questions or concerns directly to you. Roy recommends sending both the e-card, because of its instant gratification for the prospect or their families, and also a physical card as well. A note in the U.S. mail will be a pleasant surprise and who doesn’t like to get unexpected mail? The physical card will also put something in their hand that hopefully contains your communities branding and your contact information.
Send a Recap Note
Within a few days after the initial meeting, and after you have sent the thank you card and completed any necessary research, send a recap note to your new prospect and/or family member. This could be by email or U.S. mail depending upon the prospects preference. Include in the note information about your meeting; topics covered, package options, community amenities, and any other pertinent information discussed in your time together. Be sure to recap any specific questions your prospects had during the meeting and include more information on those topics requested.
Pick Up the Phone
Don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and reach out to prospects and their families. Thoughtful follow-up is where winning begins (https://www.seniorlivingsalesandmarketing.com/senior-living-sales-follow-winning-begins/). Instead of a call to “check in” with your prospect, make the call more meaningful. Use the intelligence you gathered in your initial meeting to add a personal touch to your follow-up messages. Lead in with a hobby. If they are gardeners, ask “did the recent rain help your vegetable garden” or “has this heat been too much for your plants”. You can always get around to asking how they are progressing with their search for a senior living community, but again, make it about the prospect, not you or your community. Work on building a meaningful relationship. Ask them if they need more information to help them decide, invite them back for a follow-up meeting, lunch, or another tour if they wish. Update them about your community, and the events that are taking place. The more you stay in touch with your potential residents, the more residents you will have in the long run.
When it comes to meeting prospective residents, make sure you keep the focus of the meeting on their needs. Continue to ask questions so your contacts will know you really care about their needs, and provide solutions to those needs through conversation and discussion. Always leave a business card and full contact information with each potential resident you meet and don’t be shy about going through your follow-up cycle. Ask the prospect and their family what is the preferred method of contact. Don’t be afraid to mix up you’re follow up modes of communication. It’s not about trying to make the sale; it’s about trying to provide a solution to someone who has a need. Develop and maintain that relationship the right way, and you will have no trouble keeping your senior living community at maximum occupancy.