The picture is perfect, and the days of the well-organized tour are over-at least for now.
In the era of Covid-19, the senior residential sales team is adopting a strategy that emphasizes transparency. The idea is that although before the outbreak of the epidemic, shiny new amenities or first-class plans may have sold residents or loved ones, now the Senior residential customers have become more interested in safety.
Moreover, during the pandemic, many community facilities and public places have been temporarily closed or repositioned to strengthen the distance to society, forcing suppliers to rely on other selling points anyway.
For example, when Heritage Communities in Omaha, Nebraska, implemented a virtual tour three months ago, the company tried to make the promotion to potential customers look like a “perfect marketing guarantee.” Lacy Jungman, Heritage’s vice president of sales and marketing and interim director of communications, said, but this soon gave way to a more transparent and less pruning method.
During the pandemic, Heritage (which owns and operates 14 communities in three states) was not the only provider that adopted more transparent sales during the pandemic. Senior Lifestyle Corp, located in Chicago, USA, operates in about 200 communities across the country. It has also readjusted its sales and marketing efforts for Covid-19. In the past few months, as the pandemic intensified, both suppliers learned more about what to do and what not to do.
Nothing to Be Ashamed About
In March, the Covid-19 pandemic prompted many senior life service providers in the United States to restrict or stop new stays and tours. In just three months, the occupancy rate and occupancy rate of the entire industry have declined. However, there is evidence that, based on data compiled by Sherpa, a St. Louis-based company that provides methodologies for providing sales support platforms, as suppliers adopt new sales strategies, they have begun to move in the opposite direction in some cases. , CRM technology, and sales analysis for the senior living industry.
Although the number of Sherpa customers has decreased by an average of approximately 41%, compared to 2019, they have increased by approximately 71% in May compared to the previous month. Compared with the 2019 average, in March, Sherpa’s new customers decreased by 34%. In April, they fell by 50%. But Sherpa said that in May, new senior life leaders increased by about 9% compared with April.
Alex Fisher, co-founder and president of Sherpa said providers don’t have to worry about things they can’t control but should focus on what they can control. One thing that providers can control is how they build trust with potential residents and their loved ones.
The tradition is to provide new leaders with an opportunity to see how the community operates during a pandemic. The provider once praised the promising dining room and the public space full of activities, and now shows them pictures of caregivers wearing masks and dresses.
Jungman said: “Families can pass through the dining room with chairs and the activity room used as a storage room.” “They want to see the masked colleague, wearing gloves, and follow the preached rules.”
To get a higher-quality virtual tour (especially for pre-recorded virtual tours), Witte recommends that salespeople stretch their elbows in, put their phones in front of them, and then slowly move between rooms. In this way, the viewer can see the community without feeling dizzy. Besides, providers should better understand the surrounding environment when conducting live tours. For example, they should make sure to check residents who have not signed a consent form for filming or check for other things that might confuse or scare potential residents.
Starting to Make Connections
Fisher said that an excellent virtual tour is also interactive. Although senior living providers can still send or link to pre-recorded community walkthroughs as a supplement to virtual tours, they must interact with residents or family members to truly establish contact.
Fisher said: “There is an additional opportunity here, you can aim the camera at the prospective customer, maybe the prospective customer can take us to visit their home.” “For us, this is not a good opportunity to tour, but Not to start showing them, but to establish contact.”
Older life providers should also strive to explore the motivation of potential customers to explore high-end housing. By understanding the movements of residents, service providers can better explain the value provided by the lives of the elderly. This is particularly useful when dealing with residents or family members who want to postpone entering seniors’ lives until Covid-19’s threat is reduced or eliminated.
“I understand that I have to wait, but please help me understand how you are now, do we think it will get better?” Jungman said she gave an example of how she talked to prospective residents or loved ones. “So, I think this is indeed asking more questions and understanding their situation in depth.”
Witte said: “If you have a great virtual tour, and you just started the route with the person who sent you the link, it is not a complete tour.” “It is up to you to complete the tour. After re-establishing contact with the potential customer, they have already talked about what they saw and then figured out what else they need to see.”
Although virtual travel is particularly important in this new era of our distant society, providers should also remember to follow up with their potential customers in a meaningful way.
There is evidence that a more transparent approach to virtual travel and other new sales strategies can make the prospect easier. For example, Heritage reported that 80% of the move in last week came from buildings with previous or current Covid-19 positive cases.
Jungman said: “This proves the strict agreement, close communication, and ensures that we remain transparent, honest, open, build this trust and rapport, and truly reflect the reputation of the community itself.” “I think Covid does not necessarily have to End us.”
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