By Susan Saldibar

The bad news is that occupancy is down. But you knew that.

The good news is that, thanks to the folks from WelcomeHome (a Foresight partner), we know why.

And the other good news is … 

Brandi Sharp, VP of sales and marketing for Allegro Senior Living, has managed to improve their conversion rates and raise occupancy.

And she’ll tell you how. 

Brandi, along with WelcomeHome’s Chris Mohrman and Maggie Seybold, recently sat down to chat with Steve Moran and share data from their Q1 Benchmark 2023 report (based on over 1,500 WelcomeHome CRM users).

As usual, Steve had a lot of questions, which resulted in a meaty session — a ton of insights, info on why their data is more accurate than most sources, and more. So, you have to check out the full interview, which you can do here.

Here’s the tip of the iceberg of what was covered.

  • Average occupancy sucks, at 72%. Why so low? Much of it is due to high turnover. That goes for CEOs, EDs, and sales teams. The top 25% of communities reporting 92% or higher occupancy are those with low turnover and experienced, well-managed sales teams, and run by operators who are in it for the long haul.
  • As aggregator leads increased, tours-to-move-ins decreased. How is that for a correlation? The data shows aggregator conversions at about 3% to 4% — most likely due to, as Maggie suggests, the sales team not knowing which leads to work. That’s where a good CRM can help, by narrowing the field to make sure they put their energy on prospects who are more likely to close. Brandi configured their CRM (WelcomeHome) to enforce that certain fields must be filled before it’s considered a viable lead. Smart move.
  • Referrals from residents/families have higher conversion and longer length of stay. And, yes, the sales cycle is longer, but, as Brandi points out, if your marketing is consistent, you should be building a solid pipeline. Brandi mentioned that at one of their communities, 65% of move-ins are from friends and family, and vacancies “just fill themselves.”
  • Google reviews and stars matter. Brandi has set rules and goals for Google reviews in their CRM. This is huge. It helps to ensure that they respond immediately to both positive and negative reviews. I can’t tell you how many times I spot negative reviews just sitting there. Makes me think all the awful stuff is true.
  • Put pricing on your website. Brandi is a big believer in putting starting rates and what’s included on their website. She learned the hard way — not sharing pricing and conducting a great tour, only to find out the prospect didn’t have the money to move in! Sound familiar?
  • The more you know about sales behavior the better, because the more you can change. And a good CRM will make it really clear which behaviors are successful. What the WelcomeHome data finds is that the successful salesperson is working the leads that are most likely to close and doing more outreach, more calls, and less paperwork.

Brandi has raised up her sales team and conquered the occupancy slump.

First, she’s given sales back a big chunk of time by using her CRM to digitize paperwork and do better prequalification before leads even get to the team.

And Brandi’s gotten smarter about aggregators. They were seeing a 7% reduction in tour-to-move-in, along with a 25% increase in aggregator leads. So they tightened up their aggregator leads by doing things like not asking for any leads beyond a specific zip code or below a certain income.

WelcomeHome has a treasure trove of data. And they’re ready to share it.

Data can tell you so much more today than it could even five years ago. WelcomeHome’s data is taken direct from their databases. No human interaction to corrupt it (NIC’s data is all self-reported, for instance). So this is data worth taking a look at.

And now you can. Download their benchmark report. Take a look at the numbers. Share them with your team. It might be the smartest move you’ve made this year.