Is your assisted living marketing and sales approach stale? Do you need to recharge your marketing to increase referrals and closes?
As a senior housing operator, do you find yourself frustrated because your census is not moving fast enough? Are you tired of hearing “the economy is still bad”—yet your competitors have a higher occupancy? Do you hear “we are doing everything we can” from your sales staff, but question if that is true?
Figuring out if you have an ineffective marketing and sales strategy is easy! Take a look at the following questions. If you answer YES to any of these questions, you need to rethink your approach.
- Do you often hear “this does not work for this market”?
- Are most of your referrals from hospitals (discharge planners)?
- Are your closing ratios below 60%?
Embracing a Proactive Sales Strategy
The days of having prospects come waltzing through the doors are long gone! And relying on primary relationships from only a few hospitals, churches and senior centers will not put you ahead of your competition. Customer Relationship Management is key to successful marketing and sales in the long-term care arena and particularly in assisted living where you are marketing something people do not want and have to pay out of their pockets to get!
Getting to a full occupancy and being profitable in today’s business environment requires a totally different marketing approach. Luckily for those of you looking to make a change, many senior housing organizations have yet to embrace a powerful, proactive, “hunting-style” marketing and sales program. By continuing to pursue the same old, ineffective methods, they get the same old results—that is to say, not much!
Here are six suggestions to get you thinking:
- What would attract your target audience?
Not what would attract YOU. Pay attention to what would draw prospects to the community. What do the referral sources need from you to make their job easier? And when in doubt, just ask them!
- Be different!
Most providers offer the same services, just call it something different. Be daring and break the normal “senior housing” model. What can you offer to create a different customer experience? Packaging your offerings can help.
- Take a hard look at your marketing material.
Does it look and read like all the other senior housing communities? Most likely, it does. Separate yourself from the rest. Appeal to your market.
- Go “hunt” the business.
When the traffic is not flowing to your door, you have to go get it! Plain and simple, get out of the community and go find the business. True sales people thrive on hunting business and closing the deal. A sales person is hired to find and make sales, not to collect dust in the sales office. What is your outreach plan?
- Check your web presence.
Whether you like it or not, consumers shop online. If you are receiving only a few inquiries from your web page, then something is wrong. How does your local web presence compare to the competition? How can you drive more traffic to your page?
- How do you cultivate a sales culture of “hunters”?
Sales are key—without your sales force there are no residents to care for. But the unfortunate reality is, with so much to do, sales and marketing often get brushed to the side. A culture of sales is not one training seminar every now and then; it is day in, day out training with a sharp focus on sales motivation! There is a science to getting your sales team to perform at the highest levels. What are you doing to help them get there?
Marketing and sales is part art and science. There is an analytical part that can lead you to the right prospects and then there is the art of the sale. Building relationships, having a unique value proposition and creating experiences will help you stand apart in a crowded and confused market.