In the most recent webinar hosted by A Place for Mom, Traci Bild, founder and CEO of Bild & Co, presented how to close sales and heighten the efficiency of bringing elders into your communities.
Bild expressed that our society is thinking about elder care, more so than ever before. News articles are coming out multiple times a week featuring new topics and insights. She encourages you to share them with prospective families and your residents. Bild advocates for a well-educated senior living sales force to have knowledge of what media and news outlets are saying regarding senior care.
“It’s not how hard you work, it’s how smart you work.”
-Traci Bild, Bild & Co.
Despite this new attention to senior care, Bild stated that there is a 7 year low in occupancy across the board. She says, if a 100 bedroom community is getting 8-10 leads a week, there are enough opportunities to capitalize on this. Remember, it is vital to work smarter, not harder, she says. This specifically translates to a cycle Bild refers to as the Stages of the Sales Cycle. In this cycle, each portion must be effectively and efficiently implemented in order to secure massive gains.
The Stages of the Sales Cycle by Bild & Co.
- Lead generation requires a team effort of executive directors and sales teams to focus on quality leads. The best leads come as referrals from partnered companies, with a signing rate 4x faster than that of regular leads. Bild says a focus on 8-10 leads a week for 100 apartment building is a great start to give the time and energy to convert them.
- Inquiries are the initial outreach prospective residents or their loved ones make to a community. From this, many are not getting a personalized experience. Inquirers should be able to get a point of contact, a phone number, an email, and answers to any general questions they have. Bild states a goal of 60-75% of inquiries should be followed up with and converted to onsite visit of the community within 48 hours.
- The visit is crucial in introducing the community to prospective residents. How are you planning for this? There must be structure and personalization. Ask open questions relating to each area that is visited, in order to get better understanding of their wants and needs. Tailor the tour to them, not to you. How are your amenities and activities perfect for them?
- After all of this, follow ups can make or break the relationship that has started between the community and the prospective resident. If you are paying for a CRM, use it religiously. Make sure that your leads are updated daily, and reach out promptly and on time. Without following up, you will lose sales.
- Closing throughout the sales process is critical to inquiries choosing your community. Recap everything that you have learned about your prospective resident and confirm their stated needs. Move onto what the next steps will be, and always give them a choice of two options – this will assist conversion by another 15%. Assisted living communities should be closing at a rate of >35%, and Memory care communities should be closing at that of >50%. If these numbers are not being met, reevaluate your team’s closing methods.
Bild states that despite the discomfort that some of these conversations may bring, it is important to draw out dialogue in order to best serve those that visit your community. She says to ask open questions that require elaboration, and then to actively listen to see if you can troubleshoot and solve any existing or possible problems. Respond with empathy and demonstrate that you have taken their needs and concerns into consideration. She says communities who do this effectively, can shorten their sales cycle dramatically.
For further reference, Bild suggested an article by Consumer Reports, which covers some of the benefits of senior living, as well as tips for families in their search. These range from level of care seniors want, to methods communities can enact in order to improve quality of services. The main message of this report is that trust and strong relationships are key.