By Kent Mulkey
In my 20 years of senior living experience, we lived through some tough times, like the recession of 2008. Occupancy tanked, the pressure and stress were sometimes overwhelming. But nothing then was like what you are facing today. This is, without a doubt, the most difficult and challenging time facing you senior living sales professionals.
Of course, none of the inquiry and occupancy challenges are your fault or your doing. I learn from many of you that you are showing up to work every day, engaged and ready to authentically relate to seniors and their families. You care about move-ins and occupancy targets.
And the going is tough. Some of you feel wholly responsible for the challenges that our industry faces with occupancy, especially as it may be declining in your community. Sure, you are the front person when it comes to engaging prospects and moving them toward a decision to move, hopefully to your community.
Here is a word to the wise – please do not stop showing up 100% for your prospects. They need what only you can give them, a warm and reassuring voice and words of comfort and encouragement. With move-ins perhaps picking up slightly, now is the time to double down in being authentic with prospects and their families.
The temptation may be to try to rush people to move now that your doors are open to new residents. Remember to slow down, meet people where they are, and gently guide them. Do not be afraid to let people know that moving to a senior community like yours might just be the best and most important decision they can make in their life. You already know that people who move to a senior community live happier, healthier, and longer lives than those who stay at home.
Keep at It
Do not grow weary. You are not alone in the challenges that are before you. And please do not take on the move-in and occupancy burden yourself. This is an opportune time to involve others on your team and seek the support of regional and home office people.
There are ample reports coming out (which are aimed to be helpful) that show the reality of the current situation. It may serve you well to ignore them. Stay on your path to do what you do best; caring about senior adults and helping them achieve the help they want and need.
Keep pressing forward. And be sure to take plenty of time away from it all to recharge. It does not all fall on you. Keep being a hero to your prospects. Your work is sacred.