In 2016, A Place for Mom (APFM) conducted its sixth annual “Secret Shop”. Over 2,700 partner communities from 84 organizations participated.
The purpose of the Secret Shop is to provide the participating partners unique data insights that will help improve sales effectiveness and increase move-in conversion rates. Just as it has in the years before, the data reveals the keys to conversion success: Speed, Persistence, and Collaboration with the Advisor.
Speed and Persistence Win: What Successful Companies Do After Receiving a Referral
Timeliness of responding to a lead
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.
Our data confirms that the speed in which a community initially responds is crucial when first contacting a lead.
- The communities that responded to our leads within the first 30 minutes have a historical win rate that is 19.1% higher than those of communities that respond within 24 hours.
- The communities that follow-up within the first 2 hours have a historical win rate that is 16.1% higher than those of 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
Communities with the fastest response rate have several things in common.
1. They 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. They have an established 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. They 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.
4. They have integrated their CRM
When partners sign up for Partner Web Services – a free service – through APFM, they typically see a 10-15% increase in win rates partially because the lead is automatically entered into their CRM which makes sure multiple people can see it.
Persistence in attempting to contact the lead
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 families have a higher share of APFM referred move-ins than those communities that reach out only once.
The chart to the left 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 historical conversion rates than those who attempted to reach the family 3, 4 or even 5 times. Only a small portion of communities attempt to call families more than 3 times.
Don’t be concerned if the family doesn’t answer or call you back right away. This can be an overwhelming process, and the most successful communities make it a point to let families know that they are there for them. Be sure to leave a warm and inviting voicemail that makes a great first impression!
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.
Collaborating with the Referring Advisor
The other key to success we have found through the secret shop, is contacting the referring Advisor. Those communities who tried more than once to contact the APFM Advisor have historical win rates that are 26.4% higher than those who never attempted to contact the Advisor over the 3 day period.
Partners who form close relationships with their local Advisors are more successful because they are able to work together in helping families come to a decision on senior living. APFM Advisors continuously follow up with a family throughout the entire decision process, and again afterward. They also get valuable feedback after a tour that the family may not feel comfortable sharing with the community.