It’s easy to be complacent about attracting new senior living leads when your CRM database is full, but that’s the time to work hardest to keep your sales funnel full.
We all want more leads, but for most, this means more leads who will move NOW. Keep in mind, there are multiple ways to grow your lead base. Growing leads is a function of both marketing and sales efforts.
If you find your CRM database getting thin and there aren’t enough leads to sustain the level of sales activity to result in your occupancy goals, read on!
5 things you can do now to GROW leads
#1: Maximize your digital strategy.
Digital channels are the primary source of senior living leads. The goal of your digital strategy is to drive people to your website, where you can educate them on your community and convert them from a visitor to a lead. We accomplish this by getting in front of them organically and through paid campaigns.
We want website visitors to stay a while, to visit multiple pages, and interact with the website, either by watching a video, downloading a piece of marketing material, or taking an action like scheduling a tour or connecting with the sales team. (We used to want visitors on and off our websites quickly. These were the days when our websites were little more than informational pages with a contact phone number. Times have changed!)
#2: Capture your website visitors.
A lead capture system is key to converting a website visitor to a lead. Your website should be rich in lead engagement tools such as web forms. As mentioned in the previous item, we want them to take an action like downloading a piece of marketing material, scheduling a tour or connecting with the sales team. To do so, they should have to fill out their name and contact information. Those details are captured and added to your CRM, where they become a lead.
#3: Drive traffic by hosting events.
Prospective residents and their families want to know what it’s like to live in your community. The prospects who aren’t ready to move need to experience more of your community. Invite them in to meet the staff and residents, enjoy lunch or dinner, engage in an art project, join in on a sports, music, movie, or happy hour event, or take an exercise class.
Differentiate yourself by offering robust ways for prospects to engage. Events don’t need to be big, expensive parties. In fact, results show that smaller group events have greater impact. The benefits are lower cost, less preparation, and greater opportunities to engage with the prospects.
#4: Increase referrals from residents, families, staff, professionals, and community presence.
Consistency is key to keep referral traffic strong. The number of leads may be less than other sources but the conversion rate is much higher, so it’s worth the effort made in these areas.
Audit your friends/family/resident referral program. How is it communicated? By what channels? How often? You can’t mention it once, print a flyer and expect everyone to know you want (and need) referrals. Send a reminder about it in the monthly billing. Acknowledge a referral with a thank you message in your monthly newsletter. Post it to social media. Mention the program and recognize those who refer at monthly resident council meetings, during mealtimes, and on community bulletin boards.
#5: Keep the pipeline WARM – Finally, nurture the leads in your database.
A common error is only working “hot” leads, those who will move NOW, and ignoring the rest. As a result, the database is heavy in cold leads. Cold leads tend to be ignored because we don’t know what to do to keep prospects who aren’t ready yet engaged in the process.
Once the handful of “hots” move in, we look for more new leads and comb through them looking for more hot ones. This is a vicious cycle that will never grow occupancy, because only a third of those who move into a community do so within the first month of initial search. Maximize your sales by keeping more of your leads warm. Keeping the sales pipeline from being heavy in cold leads is an important component of growing leads.
Remember the days when lines would form for holiday shopping deals? Those first in line often got there the night before, camping out to be first in the door to get the best deal. Visualize the sales pipeline in a similar way. Everyone in line is a customer, not just those first five or ten. You want a long line – customers who are still standing there after the first bunch buy what they want. Those farther back are cooler, they won’t be coming into your store right away and may not buy something when they do, but you want them in line.
Ways to keep pipeline warm include:
- Confirming a next step that makes sense to them based on where they are in their decision process.
- Being strong and consistent in your follow through
- Engage them through events and home visits.
- Utilize marketing automation to keep them interested and your community top of mind
- Post social media stories about what your residents are doing and what life is like living in your community.
Keeping your CRM database full of viable leads takes work, but it is achievable with the strategies we shared above. It’s truly a case of working smarter, not harder, and being methodical and disciplined.
Looking for more ways to keep your senior living community full and thriving year-round? Grow Your Occupancy is here to help with sales coaching and training for your team, hiring and onboarding support, optimizing your sales funnel, and more. Reach out to us today at [email protected] and let’s take your senior living sales to the next level.