Can vendors be more effective when interfacing with senior living decision makers?

By Steve Moran

A few months ago while attending the Marcus Evans Post Acute CEO summit in Marina Del Rey I got a chance to sit in front of a video camera and interview Joe Jasmon, the CEO of Shepherd Senior Living. The goal of the conversation was threefold:

  • Getting to know Joe, Shepherd Senior Senior Living and what makes them unique.

  • Talking a little about why he likes these events that require him to spend time with a dozen or so vendors.

  • Talking a little about how vendors can be more effective interfacing with senior living decision makers. Now I know you may be thinking “hmm . . . vendor stuff, not interested” but here is why it could be important to you: If they get smarter they will be more helpful and waste less of your time.

Shepherd Senior Living

Shepherd Senior Living is based in Florida and currently has 6 operating communities. They will add 8 new communities this year and 8 more the following year. They operate campuses that have both assisted living and memory care that, while on the same campus, operate as separate communities.  

The thing that makes Shepard different is that their goal is to personalize the resident experience by identifying 5 key areas of life that they cannot live without and then making those things happen.

I asked him for an example of the kind of thing they do. Here is the story:

They had a resident who was a huge Houston Astros fan and he was physically not able to go to a game. They reached out to the Astros and asked if this was something they might be interested in. They responded with a big yes. One of their catchers and several other team members came out to the community with hats, shirts, bats and ball, to create a serious baseball experience.  

The team found it to be such a terrific experience that they are continuing to come back and interact with the residents.

Burden or Benefit

At Marcus Evans events, as is true with similar events, invited senior living leaders are able to attend the conference at no cost. In addition, the hotel and all food and drink are free. In return, these leaders (delegates in Marcus Evans speak) are expected to meet with around a dozen vendors (solution providers, again in Marcus Evans speak) for about 25 minutes each.

I asked Joe if being obligated to do these meeting was a burden or benefit. He finds it to be a huge benefit because it gives him the chance to interact with a bunch of vendors in a serious way in a couple of days. His strategy is to meet mostly with vendors who directly address his existing needs, plus a couple that he knows nothing about as a way to grow his knowledge base.   

Vendor Rules . . .

Joe spent a fair amount of time talking about what successful vendor relationships look like for him. His perspective is that there are some rules that vendors should follow:

  1. They need to get to know the providers. They should spend less time selling and more time on relationship building.

  2. They need to understand that almost never will they be able to sell an “off the shelf” solution.

  3. When a vendor just keeps firing off a bunch of phone calls and emails, it is a better way to lose the business than to win it.

  4. The best way to sell to him is to be referred by people he knows and trusts.

What are your vendor rules?

For more information on the next Marcus Evans post acute Summit Click Here.

Here is the video