Figuring out how to make your prospects feel needed will go a long way toward getting them to move in and more importantly toward making them happy after they move in.

This is not such a dumb question as you might first think.

We tend to think the opposite of being loved or cared for is being hated, but in truth, indifference is much more insidious and painful.  It is the thing that made me so mad on my week #9 tour.  The woman promised to talk to me, she promised me a tour, but in truth she just didn’t care about me.  She wanted me gone. The worst thing in the world is to make someone feel as if they have no value.  The best thing in the world is when someone is made to feel tremendously valuable. The senior living marketing question I have been wrestling with over the last couple of weeks is this:  Do we in our senior living communities really make the prospect feel wanted for anything other than their bank account?

Universities Have It Figured Out

I recently read an article about what great pains colleges take, when recruiting the best and brightest students, to make those students feel wanted.  Those colleges. of course, start their pitch with why their school is a great place:  The academics, athletics, the school setting, extracurricular activities, a great location, beautiful buildings: each university has their own particular list of features.  But those features only set the stage for the big pitch which is . . .

“We really need you here”

And no . . . it is never “we really need you here because we need your money”.  It looks like this:

  • We need you here because you will make our basketball team great
  • We need you here because you will make our already strong academic program even stronger
  • We need you here because you could help us land a noble prize
  • We need you here because you could put us on the map by finding a cure for cancer
  • We need you because we know you will invent the next great tech gizmo
  • Did you say your grandfather was a Rockefeller?

The colleges know that every single person, every single student, has a God-given, innate need to be needed.  When someone feels needed they will almost always feel great affection for the person or the organization that needs them.  Ultimately most of us want to please the person who needs us.

Being Needed In Senior Living

The question is really this: In your sales process do you make the prospect and their families feel needed? The best way to make this happen is for your prospect to be introduced to other residents who will clearly receive real benefit from the prospect becoming a part of the community.  Making this happen means having a deep knowledge about the passions of your existing residents and taking the time to understand what makes the prospective resident special, then making the right connections. It also requires allowing the prospect to get to know multiple staff members who can express how that prospect will make your community a better, happier place to live.  It may also mean giving prospect families the opportunity to interact with the resident families. Finally, this cannot be a fake thing.  It needs to be true and it needs to be founded on the idea that every single individual, no matter how frail, crotchety or difficult still has the capacity to give back. That they have something that they, better than anyone else, can contribute to your community. Don’t get me wrong, some prospects are way more difficult than others.  You may have to dig really deep to find that special thing with someone who is mean spirited and critical . . . and yet I am convinced that it is there. As you are working with prospects, how do you make them feel needed?  How do you foster those kinds of connections? Steve Moran

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