By Susan Saldibar

There’s not much we can’t accomplish online these days. Amazingly, that now includes shopping for senior living. Young and old, we like the control it gives us. We also like having choices that are personalized to fit our preferences. And we’re willing to share a lot about ourselves in exchange for them.

The growing success of companies like AgingChoices (a Foresight partner) reflects these dynamics. Their platform enables operators to reach a new level of engagement with prospective residents who want a personalized approach, but also want control over how and when they interact with sales counselors.

I spoke recently with AgingChoices co-founders, Terri Sullivan and Brenda Limone, along with their VP of Product, Brandon Compagna.

Terri and Brenda created AgingChoices after conducting their own surveys and learning that people were indeed willing to share their personal lifestyle choices in exchange for more targeted recommendations. But too many senior living websites have continued to force-feed visitors with generic downloads and “call us” or “schedule a tour now” buttons and little else. The assumption being that visitors are somehow willing to go straight from downloading a white paper to receiving a phone call. They aren’t.

Encourage Engagement with Self-Guided Personalization

“The way prospective residents engage with a provider’s website has changed,” Terri says. “They’re less likely than ever before to engage with salespeople. What we’re doing is giving operators a tool to enable website visitors to engage with your brand without having to talk with a salesperson.”

AgingChoices achieves this in the form of a survey tool embedded in your website that pops up and encourages interaction through a series of highly tailored questions, all of which are 100% customizable. The survey responses are sent directly to the sales counselor and on to the CRM. So visitors gain control through a highly personalized, self-serve experience. And the sales team gets a goldmine of data about visitors in the process.

“They can take that data, call the prospect, and already have multiple data points to speak to in that first conversation,” Terri says. “So, you might say, ‘I see you mentioned a concern over moving out. Let’s talk about that’ and so on.” And you can aggregate data from multiple surveys and use the insights for your marketing and sales programs.

It’s hard not to see the engagement potential here. “You can have a great prospect out there who may not be interested in your download,” Brandon says. “But they are curious what might happen if they input their preferences.”

You’re Selling a Lifestyle, So Prospect That Way

What I like about AgingChoices is that it allows operators to tap into the kinds of touchpoints that fuel lifestyle decisions, very much in the minds of today’s prospective residents.

This is especially effective for operators of independent living and 55+ communities, according to Brenda. “You are selling a lifestyle, so you need to prospect that way. People looking for independent living are totally tech-savvy. They don’t want salespeople calling them. But they will share information when they get something in return; in this case a better match to what suits them.”

It’s About Converting a Website Visitor to an Engaged Prospect

Terri and Brenda are quick to clarify that AgingChoices is a relationship-building tool, not a lead generation tool. “When a website visitor completes the custom survey, they are entering into a relationship with you,” Brenda says. They’ve given you personal data and now expect something back. That’s the conversion we help with – from site visitor to interested prospect.” Terri agrees. “This is an emotional, personal industry,” she says. “You’re not buying a widget, you’re buying a lifestyle.” And, a more engaged prospect has a higher likelihood of taking a tour and moving in.

And there’s more coming from the AgingChoices team. Soon to be released is Navigator, which Brandon describes as a “virtual guide for visitors” to your website, navigating them to the top 4-5 places they want to go on your site. Navigator will also store surveys, CTAs, and other information. The goal is to provide as many tools as possible in one place so that visitors don’t have to go to a lot of different places for them, Brandon tells me. Makes a lot of sense. We’ll keep you posted!

The best way to see how the AgingChoices surveys work is to take one yourself. You can access it here.

Click here to read comments and join the conversation about this article.