By Steve Moran
Believe it or not, there are memory care communities, assisted living communities, and even nursing homes that are 100% occupied or close to it. This is not possible in every circumstance, and many communities are floundering. Even one or two more move-ins would make a big difference.
First a practical observation. We have been hearing from both salespeople and executive directors that they are getting a lot of pressure from senior leaders to get more move-ins in December. We think this is the wrong approach.
Any move-ins you get in December are going to happen because the resident or family members have a real need to get the move done sooner rather than later. They are not going to blow up Christmas to save $500 or $1,000, particularly given that they will save that amount simply by not moving in until January.
Even worse, if you try pressuring prospects, it will make it look like you are desperate. And either you will drive them away or you will start the relationship on the wrong foot.
These 9 ideas will give you the very best shot at having a great January, February, and a fantastic 2021. Early Access to the Vaccine — Talk about how moving in will get them early access to the vaccine. We don’t know the details of how it will work yet, but it is clear that senior living is going to be #1 or #2 on the priority list. By the end of January, senior living will likely be the safest place to live on the planet.
- Offer Free or Low-Cost COVID Testing — COVID tests are in short supply. But if you have rapid testing capacity, you will win a lot of friends by making it available.
- Use Social Media to Create Conversations — There is this overwhelming desire to use social media to sell, and for sure some of that needs to happen. But social media at its best is about building relationships. And the best way to do that is to ask questions. Here are some ideas:
- What are you looking forward to doing again when we get back to normal?
- What advice would you give a young family about not getting stressed about Christmas?
- What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
- What is your biggest Christmas disaster story?
- Mail Your Prospects Crazy Stuff — Joy is so critical. How about an item like these little plastic hands along with a note that says something like, ‘We know everyone needs an extra hand during the holidays’?
- Offer a Free Meal to Everyone Who Walks Through Your Door — Feed them in your dining room if you can. But how about a bunch of bagged meals for every public safety person and every delivery person who walks through your door?
One of my pet peeves is how visitors are evaluated (with scant evidence) on the likelihood of being a prospect and immediately become 2nd class people if they are not prospects. Do you have any idea how many people a postal worker, Amazon or UPS delivery person, or ambulance driver interacts with every day? Don’t you want each of them telling people how amazing your community is compared to all the others?
- Work on your online reviews and your Google local listing — Three or four years ago everyone was talking about reviews. Today not so much and that is a big big problem. I too often see communities with reviews that are weeks or months old and terrible, without any response. Here is an example that took me less than a minute to find:
- Do some FUN Webinars — The temptation is to use webinars just to sell, and again, nothing wrong with that. But how about a Christmas music concert from your community to residents and prospects? Or even just a simple happy hour?
- Promote a Social Cause — How about Toys for Tots? Or make it more personal, something special for your front-line staff who have worked so hard. You might think, “Nah, prospects won’t do that”, but people are looking for ways they trust to be generous.
- Christmas Past Stories — Ask residents to tell their favorite Christmas stories, record them, and then share them. Do it live on Facebook, if you are brave enough.
What else are you doing? We would love to hear about it.