By Joanne Kaldy
When done right, senior living community tours drive move-ins. Is your community giving perfect tours, with a long waiting list of folks clamoring to call your community home?
In a recent Caring.com webinar, “From Maybe to Move-In: Best Practices to Optimize Senior Living Tours”, Senior Living Foresight’s Steve Moran covered his 7-ingredient formula for tours that convert interested prospects to happy residents. Culling from his insights over the years, having done more than 2,000 tours, he shared how to close 60-90% of the tours you conduct.
“A great tour is one where, at the end, the prospect decides to move into your community because it is the best thing for their life today. If they have to go home and think about it, it’s not a great tour,” Steve said. “In spite of COVID-19, you can still have the best year of moving residents into your communities that you’ve ever had.”
The Seven Ingredients
What does Steve advise for optimizing your community’s tours?
- Begin with the end in mind. “First impressions are overrated,” he said. He observed that people pick a senior living community because it’s the right fit, not because the building is beautiful. They don’t just come to kick the tires; they have a problem to solve. He suggested, “Begin working on the relationship” from the start.
- Share histories–yours and the prospect’s. “Get to know the person better. Help them to see you as an expert,” Steve said. Sit down, have a conversation, and get to know each other. Start with storytelling; ask for their stories and tell yours. “The more areas of commonality we have with people, the more they like and trust us,” he said.
- Ask: What brought you here today? Get to the crux of the issue. This is a framing question. It lets you know what is happening with the prospect and/or their family and what problem they are looking to solve.
- Align your goals with theirs. They aren’t sure that you have the same goals for them. Ask what questions they have for you. Once you start asking questions, you can share how you are aligned and will work together with them. Steve said, “Don’t make this a game. You want this to be clarifying. Think about the questions you can ask them back to clarify goals.”
- Overcome the “prior commitment effect”. “This is the big challenge you will face. They don’t want to be sold,” Steve said. A move to senior living can feel scary, uncertain, and like a loss. As a result, there is a comfort level in staying where they are. Steve said, “Aligning goals helps them see that you want them to get exactly what they need.” He stressed, “Don’t miss this opportunity to build a trusting relationship.”
- Tell your company history to align goals. Ask: Do you know anything about our company? This is an opportunity to share information that helps them see that you have common goals and that you care about their happiness and wellbeing.
- Ask if they know how much it costs to live here. “Here is the question where you really make the transition,” said Steve, adding, “You have to address it pretty early on. The earlier you get to the money, the better it is.” You can talk about how long people typically live in senior living; it’s not forever. You can say, “It’s a lot of money, but look at what it gets for mom.” Steve observed, “At this point, you can start talking about which unit is appropriate for them. Then you’re at that decision point.”
Finally, Steve urged, “Have a story for everything you talk about. Facts are fine, but facts without stories don’t touch the heart or say that we care about your loved ones.” He added, “They want to know you will take care of mom better than they can. You can say that you will all day long, but a story about someone like their mom is much more powerful.”
Getting the Tour Commitment
It’s through these types of conversations and storytelling that you’ll see higher close rates for the prospects who take the time to tour your community. During the webinar, Caring.com’s Director of Industry Marketing, Denise Graab also shared another way that their partners are boosting move-ins through tours.
Specifically, she discussed Caring’s tour-setting service for senior living partners and new performance data Caring has available. For communities that opt in to this service, Caring’s Family Advisors schedule tours while the family member or senior is still on the line.
“Referrals sent with a tour pre-scheduled are over four times more likely to move in,” Denise shared. “When that tour is subsequently confirmed as taken (via our follow up confirmation with the consumers and communities), we’re finding those referrals are nearly 12 times more likely to move-in.”
Due to the pandemic, the majority of Caring’s partners are also now utilizing virtual tours, and Caring is seeing similar move-in performance for those referrals as well. If your community is partnered with Caring.com, contact [email protected] to learn more about this feature; and if you’re not partnered with them, get in touch with [email protected] or (855) 897-2433.
Steve’s tour webinar is available in Caring.com’s Digital Marketing Academy archive: