6 Tips to Be “Guest-Ready” at All Times for a Prospect Visit

The doorbell rings unexpectedly. You peek out the window and see a familiar car in the driveway. It’s a surprise guest at your front door. The first thing on your mind: the house is a mess! On the way to answer the door, you frantically pick up things left lying around and throw them in the coat closet.

Just like at home, guests – both scheduled and drop ins – are welcome at our senior living communities every day of the year. In the case of a visit to your community, making a stellar first impression is crucial.

The importance of making a great first impression

One of the biggest challenges we all have is to look objectively at something or someone we know well. Even people whose job depends on being able to observe objectively –to figuratively “take a step back” and see from a fresh perspective – really have challenges. This is usually the case with highly creative people like artists, musicians, writers, and architects, but you may be surprised that salespeople can also benefit from observing objectively.

Why? Because you can’t have a first impression your senior living community without an objective perspective.

First impressions are lasting impressions

Think about some businesses you’ve been to once or twice but no longer frequent. Maybe it was a restaurant where you were kept waiting a long time before being acknowledged. Or a boutique where the staff weren’t helpful. Or a car service center where the waiting room was filthy. Whether those experiences are representative of the way those businesses operate all the time doesn’t matter; your first impression wasn’t a good one, and it became a lasting impression because you remember it and don’t go back to those places.

The way your senior living community looks and feels represents your values, expectations, customer experience. How your staff interacts demonstrates what it’s like to work, experience, live in your community. All that plays a big part in the first impression. Your prospects are asking themselves: “can I see myself living here” / “can I picture my mom living here”, and if the first impression isn’t a good one, the answer is going to be a firm “no.”

6 tips to keep your senior living community guest-ready

Guests and prospects visit your community at any time, and often unannounced. Be prepared to welcome guests, be tour-ready, and be always guest-ready with these tips.

  1. View the community with a fresh set of eyes. Each day as you walk from your car and into your building, look around with a fresh set of eyes. Take note of details like trash, weeds, dead flowers, signs put on doors and walls with scotch tape, odors, stains on the carpet, scuffs on the walls, etc. Ask other staff members to do same – because a fresh set of eyes will see things you don’t, even as you’re trying to be objective. Pay close attention to the first impression your community presents upon entering the building: a welcome sign, fresh flowers, music playing, pleasant smells, and residents engaging in life in the front area should all be parts of the first impression whenever possible.
  2. Make “clean” a priority. Clean bathrooms, surfaces, floors, windows, and even the air all make a powerful impression that clean is a priority at the community.
  3. The concierge is first. The concierge or front desk manager is a powerful opportunity to make a good first impression. Set guidelines for greeting visitors that include standing when able, smiling, and greeting. If the concierge is on the phone, acknowledge the visitor. Greet scheduled guests at the front door and let them know they’re expected. Train, practice, and reinforce the first impression with the concierge.
  4. Keep the model apartment in show-ready condition. Keep the lights on, the music playing, the temperature cool, the air smelling fresh, the décor tidy, and pillows plumped.
  5. Set an “always guest-ready” expectation for the entire team. Visitors are a common and frequent occurrence in a senior living community and can include both scheduled and unexpected prospect tours, and visitors seeing a loved one. Communicate, train, and reinforce to all the staff the expectations when encountering a guest: acknowledge that there is a guest, make introductions when able, smile, make eye-contact, and be prepared to answer questions or defer to someone who can. Sales directors should know the team, know the residents, and acknowledge all by name.
  6. Be a gracious host. The discovery area – the space where you sit with prospects and their loved ones – should be a welcoming and comfortable area that is kept clean and fresh. Supply it with beverages and snacks and offer both to all guests.

Assess your guest-readiness

Keep tabs on your community’s guest-readiness by making these 3 activities part of your sales procedures: 1) Request feedback from residents and staff via periodic surveys. 2) Keep close tabs on your online reputation by regularly reading reviews on Google, Facebook, and elsewhere. 3) Solicit a 3rd party to mystery shop the community to evaluate first impressions and the customer experience.


Ready to take your senior living sales success to a new level by elevating your executive directors to community sales leaders? Grow Your Occupancy provides the sales coaching, accountability coaching, and sales-skill coaching essential to fill that important role. Learn more about Grow Your Occupancy’s sales coaching and training here. Or book your free 30-minute consultation today.

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