This article by Michelle Greiner was first posted in a few LinkedIn Groups.  It seemed to really compliment Diane Twohy Masson’s current two part series on The Best and Worst Impressions from a Consumers View of Senior Housing.  The article is re-posted here with permission.  Part two of Diane’s article will be posted this Thursday.

I recently visited seventeen communities in the greater Seattle area and very few offered me memorable experiences. I left feeling deflated, unimportant and unheard. These few simple tips are a sure way to impress your customer whether they are a walk in or a pre-scheduled appointments.

1.   Be Friendly! 

At one community I visited, I asked the receptionist if someone could offer me some information regarding their community for my grandparents. The receptionist’s response was “maybe”. He meant it in all seriousness as he attempted calling multiple people on the sales team. He didn’t make eye contact with me while responding and never once smiled at me. Your receptionist is the face of your community. If they’re not friendly, chances are my perception will be that your community is not very friendly either.

2.  Offer a Beverage

Only once out of my seventeen visits was I offered something to drink while I waited for a member of the sales team. Families are often nervous about venturing out to consider senior housing for a loved one. Make them as comfortable as possible.

3.  Use first names

In two of my visits, I was asked my name multiple times because the sale person could not remember it. At multiple other communities, my name wasn’t asked until the end of the visit. It left me feeling like I was a number amidst many other numbers.

4.  Personalize

Only in three communities was I asked more than one question prior to beginning the tour. The most disappointing part was that my answers didn’t seem to change the sales presentation whatsoever. In one particular community, I stated that food was important to me because my grandmother had not eaten well since my grandfather passed away. The least amount of time during the visit was spent on the dining experience and I was never asked what she enjoys eating. The details matter.

5.  Introduce Staff Members

Every person in your building has a story to tell. If you come across a staff member, introduce them to the family. Guide your staff to have their 30 second commercial prepared so they can make an impact and show families the exemplary level of customer service you provide.

6.  Introduce Residents 

No one tells the story better than those living in your building who eat, sleep and breathe it every day!

7.   Personalize Collateral Material

Be sure that if activities or dining is important to your visitor, that information is sent home with them. As a customer, I don’t want to have to chase down sales people to have them send me information I already told them would be important.

8. Be a Resource

If your family is in need of rehab services and you don’t provide them, recommend which communities you would look at. If they are in need of any sort of resources regarding Veteran’s benefits or any other financial information, be sure to include that as well.

9.  Ask More Questions!

What is their story? I was not asked more than a total of two or three questions on any of my seventeen visits. You are asking people to make a very large investment in purchasing a part of your community. I need to know that my story matters to you.

10.  Close to An Agreed Upon Next Step

What happens next? Typically our customers are not well versed on making a senior housing decision. In fact, many of them compare it a real estate decision unless they are shown that it is so much more than just an apartment complex. At the end of the visit, agree to a day and time of the next step. Whether that next step is an event attendance or simply a follow up call to discuss their thoughts and questions after a visit.

Michelle Greiner specializes in SWOT analysis, onsite sales training, leadership training, sales coaching primarily in the Senior Housing industry, where she has helped her clients to achieve significant revenue growth.  Michelle can be contacted at: [email protected] 

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