In 2015, A Place for Mom (APFM) conducted its fifth annual “Secret Shop”. Over 3,000 partner communities from 82 organizations participated, making it the largest Secret Shop ever conducted by APFM.
The purpose of the Secret Shop is to provide the participating partners unique data insights that will help them improve their sales effectiveness and increase their move-in conversion rates. When viewed globally year after year, the data have consistently revealed the two keys to conversion success: Speed and Persistence win when responding to leads.
Speed Wins: What Successful Companies Do After Receiving a Referral
The first key to success after a community receives a referral alert from APFM might seem obvious, but it’s sometimes overlooked. The most successful communities contact the family immediately because they have learned that speed wins the move-in.
Our data confirms that the speed in which a community initially responds is crucial when first contacting a lead.
- The communities that respond to our leads within the first 30 minutes have an 18.2% higher share of APFM referred move-ins than those communities that respond within 24 hours.
- The communities that follow-up within the first 2 hours have a 17% higher share of APFM referred move-ins than the communities that respond within 24 hours.
When a family is searching for senior living, it’s usually because they are concerned about their loved one and would like to find a community that is polite, professional and responsive. A quick response is one of the greatest indicators that your community will be attentive to their loved one.
Qualities of Communities That Respond Quickly
We looked at communities with the fastest response rate and found that they had these three things in common.
1. Add multiple people to the referral alerts
When multiple people at the community receive the referral alerts, it ensures that the family will receive a response on the weekends, evenings, or when the Community Sales Director is unavailable.
2. Establish a process for responding to referrals
The most successful communities have processes in place that establishes ownership for follow-up so that their teams understand who is responsible for who is managing APFM’s referral alerts.
3. Set goals and benchmarks for response times
Setting goals and benchmarks as a team helps build an environment for success, and ensures that everyone is working together to reach a common goal.
Don’t Overlook the Importance of Persistence
Another important key to increasing sales effectiveness and move-in conversion is persistence in trying to reach the family. Those communities that make multiple attempts at contacting the family have a higher share of APFM referred move-ins than those communities that reach out only once.
The chart to the right represents the first 3 days after a referral is sent by APFM. We see that communities that only make 1-2 attempts at calling have lower conversion rates than those who attempt to reach the family 3-4 times.
Don’t be concerned if the family doesn’t answer or call you back right away. This can be an overwhelming process for families, and the most successful communities make it a point to let them know that they are there for them.
If they don’t answer, be sure to leave a warm and inviting voicemail. Remember, this is their first point of contact with your community, so you want to make a great first impression.
Here’s a sample:
Hi Sally, John from A Place for Mom shared with me that your Mom is currently in the hospital recovering from surgery. I can imagine you’re going through a lot right now, so I want to make this process as easy as possible for you. I work with many families like yours to help ease the transition into senior living and minimize recovery time. We have some great options that I would love to tell you about. If you don’t have time to visit our community right now, I would be happy to arrange a time when we can meet somewhere else in-person. I can be reached at [insert phone number] but know that I will be following up with you again so we can determine the next steps. I look forward to speaking with you soon!
Keep in mind that other communities will also be reaching out during this time. The speed, warmth, and genuine sincerity of your response to the family are keys to your success and will help you stand out from the competition.
Speed and persistence equate to attentiveness and responsiveness, which are two important traits that families value as they search for the right senior living solution for their loved ones.