Rick Westermann is a National Account Manager for Partner Services at A Place for Mom. Instead of improvising on the spot, Westermann has outlined in his blog post below how to strategically utilize APFM referral alerts to plan your next tour.
It’s a Wednesday. You just ended a call with an A Place for Mom referral and scheduled the tour for Friday! This is great news, but when you connected with the prospect, she was at work and you didn’t have the opportunity to dive into any sort of discovery. How are you going to plan your tour without any information? We know this can be a common occurrence, so I hope to illustrate how an APFM referral alert can help you in planning for your next tour.
Anatomy of an APFM Referral Alert
To do this, I have created a fictitious referral alert using a combination of real APFM referral alerts. There are four major sections to each referral alert: Lead Summary, Care Needs, Budget and “Notes.” Let’s go through these and attempt to glean as much as we can from each to help you prepare for a successful tour.
1. Lead Summary
The Lead Summary section contains the name of the prospective resident as well as the primary contact or influencer. As you prepare your notes for a tour, write both names at the top. Highlight these and always try to use names during your conversations with prospects. The alert tells us that Susan is 82, and therefore, is the appropriate age to be considering retirement housing. The phone number and email are available in this section of the alert. Use these to confirm the time and date of the tour, send driving directions to the prospect and let them know where parking is available at your community. It’s never a good start to a tour if the prospect gets lost on the way to the community or was not be able to find parking. These situations will elevate the stress in a typically stressful situation. Anticipate these needs and use the information in the alert to set you and your community apart from the competition.
The final helpful piece of the lead summary section is the desired locations. You can see in the example referral alert that Susan has two desired locations, Denver and Portland. This information offers you a host of discovery questions to prepare:
- Why are they looking in two cities in different states?
- Is another family member going to be involved in this decision?
- How does Susan feel about relocating to Portland?
2. Care Needs
The Care Needs section contains exactly what it states. These are the immediate needs of the prospect. Each segment helps you qualify the prospect, and possibly help determine the level of care that will be the best fit. For this referral alert, we see that the Susan is living alone. She uses a cane and isn’t currently utilizing any assistance with ADLs (activities of daily living). The referral alert tells us that Susan takes her medications on her own. Using this information we now have many more discovery questions to ask during the tour to help advance the sale:
- How is Susan’s mobility using her cane?
- Does Susan’s home have stairs?
- Who is maintaining Susan’s home?
- Is Laure worried about her mother’s ability to continue to live alone safely?
- Is Susan managing her medication herself or is Laure preparing them each week?
From the “Current Living Situation” listed above, we know that Susan has a home to sell that may help finance her move to your community. This brings us to our next section, budget.
Budget is obviously a key qualifying section of the referral alert. Can this prospect afford us? This is often a question sales professionals worry about through the entire sales process. While the information on the alert is extremely valuable, remember that residents typically end up paying more than they tell you they can. The family budget range offers an indication of what the family is willing to pay on a monthly basis. The APFM referral also offers additional financially qualifying factors by listing other financial resources the family was willing to disclose. In this case, we know Susan or her husband were Veterans, she has a house to sell (as we noted earlier), she has other assets and her family is willing to contribute. For most communities, the financial resources listed in the alert tell us that Susan can afford to live comfortable in a retirement community.
The first three sections of the alert offer the basic sales and qualifying information. We know names, contact information, current locations, age of the prospect, needs and possibly, care level. This information is instrumental and offers much more value than a lead from even a company’s own website. The most value, in my perspective, comes in the notes section. Use this section to better understand the family situation and dynamic, learn all you can about the prospects needs, wants, likes and desires, and finally to “WOW” the prospect.
Valuable Information in the Notes Section:
- Denis, the brother, will be involved in the decision.
- Laure is the acting caregiver for her mother, bringing her meals three days per week and driving more than an hour each way.
- Some of Susan’s likes, wants and desires include: eating well/being a “foodie,” gardening, playing piano, walking, playing scrabble and attending devotional services. (Use this information to show Susan and Laure how your community can be a great fit during your tour). If gardening is most important to Susan, how can your community support her passion?
- Confirmed proper budget range and confirmed that the house will be sold to fund her stay at a community.
- Tour date availability for Susan.
What additional things are you doing to advance the sale of a prospective resident? Please share them in the comments below.