This article was originally published at Mature Market Sales Source. It has some great suggestions on how to respond to on-line Internet inquiries.

I have been writing about the significant rise in Internet Inquiries in the senior living industry. Inspired by some great dialogue in the various forums, I’ve been talking about how to increase the quality of Internet Inquiries, convert more to Move-ins and maximize your return on investment (ROI) by managing two factors: your sources for Internet leads and how you act on those leads. In this post, I want to talk about your follow-up actions Based on data as it is currently presented, Internet Inquiries are indeed converting to Move-ins at lower rates than those coming from Professional Referrals. However, before we write Internet Inquiries off, let’s first evaluate how Internet Inquiries are obtained, and at how we work with these Inquiries. You and your actions probably have the highest impact on outcomes, so here are some key suggestions for ensuring your actions increase the ROI of your Internet Inquiries:

1. Quick Follow-up:

The fact is, Internet users want immediacy and quick response, so it’s imperative that we treat any Inquiry with urgency. Among those Communities who report Internet Inquiries converting to Move-ins at a rate of 20 per cent or higher, it all comes down to response time. They call Inquirers back immediately.

2. Consistent Process:

It is important to ensure that there is an effective and consistent process for handling Internet Inquires.

Some things to consider are:

a. Understand expectations for response time. “The early bird gets the worm” here, and there’s a good chance if someone has requested info from you, they’ve requested info from your competitor. This is especially true if the Lead has come from a Paid Lead Vendor. So don’t delay – get on it now! I recommend responding within two hours.

b. Assign a responsible person and chain of command. Because so many people conduct their research at night or on weekends, it is important to have response coverage in the off-hours, and when sales and marketing staff are out. Immediacy counts, so you need to determine who is responsible for checking and responding to online inquiries 7 days a week.

c. I encourage you to customize responses. Make a connection with your Inquirer, and you will compel them to want to talk to you or come in. So, take some time to review the information provided in the inquiry. This will help you craft your discovery questions and demonstrate that you care about and can meet their needs, wants and desired outcomes. Script your call before you call. Know exactly where you’d like to direct this inquiry. And, by all means, customize your emails and letters. Don’t just send the standard “Thanks for your inquiry, we’re here to help.” Again, look at their needs and wants, and ask a few questions. Briefly demonstrate they have contacted “the right place,” share with them how the process works, and ask for a phone or in-person appointment.

d. Set protocols for follow-up. Set expectations for number of times and times of day to call each Inquiry. Chris Rodde, Founder & CEO of, says his rule for success is to make five attempts to contact by phone, with at least one mid-week, one evening and one weekend call. Many times the Inquirer will provide you with a status update on email if they haven’t returned your calls, so Chris will follow up with a closing email. Using these rules, Chris says he connects with approximately 90 per cent of his Internet Inquiries!

e. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Some Inquirers are cautious about the details they will provide in an Internet contact form because they are fearful of identity theft or being spammed. Don’t just assume that this is not a good Inquiry just because the information appears cryptic or incomplete. On the other hand, don’t waste hours of time chasing Inquiries that aren’t serious. We recommend attempting at least two phone calls and one email contact before moving on.

3. Track, Report and Review your marketing and sales activities:

I can’t stress enough the importance of maintaining an accurate Lead Management System. A CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) is most ideal as they allow for detailed reporting, a wide variety of analysis and ultimately, a more accurate accounting of your ROI/Cost per Move-in. In order to effectively and justly evaluate the ROI of Internet inquiries, I recommend detailed reporting of the Internet source for each inquiry, i.e. your website, Internet marketing campaign, specific links and names of paid lead vendors; Don’t simply list the source of the inquiry as “Internet” or you won’t understand which sources bring you’re the highest return on your investment. The bottom line is it is critical to connect with Inquiries and convert them to appointments! If you don’t engage your inquiries and get them in front of you, you can’t close! It’s that simple.

Our Lead Source and Marketing Stat Survey shows that for those who do connect and secure that appointment, Internet Inquiries close on par with other Inquiry sources. The key is having effective processes and protocols and strong execution to realize the true value of Internet Inquiries.