Your moment of opportunity is here. As a senior living community owner, you’ve survived hard times in the last few years, especially when it comes to occupancy.
While meeting occupancy rates is still a challenge, the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care’s recent financial report shows that the industry is continuing to climb its way back to recovery. In fact, occupancy rates rose to 85.1% in the fourth quarter of 2023, which marks the 10th consecutive quarter growth since the pandemic.
So what does an uptick in the senior care market mean for you? More sales.
If you adopt smart senior care sales strategies, you won’t just improve your occupancy rates. You’ll also stand out in a crowded market, build strong relationships with senior residents and their families, and help your business remain profitable in future challenging economic conditions.
The Importance of Customer Service in Senior Living Sales
Most businesses in our industry get this wrong in their sales strategies: the role of customer service in senior living. Customer service isn’t just a post-sales function —it’s an integral part of the entire sales process, from the first phone call to move-in day.
Consistent senior living customer support ensures we offer exceptional resident experiences at every interaction and build relationships based on loyalty and trust.
To improve your senior living customer support function, your team must:
- Always be accessible: In an industry that operates on positive word-of-mouth, responsiveness is crucial. How — and how quickly — you respond to inquiries or concerned family members makes or breaks your reputation. Set a system in place to quickly resolve any resident issues to prevent small problems from growing into larger ones.
- Show sensitivity at every touchpoint: Finding the right senior living community is an emotional process for residents and their families. You can make the entire process more comfortable by adding a personal touch. Treat your incoming leads as the individuals they are. Get to know regular callers, show empathy to their needs, and treat their decision with respect.
- Be transparent: This is especially important when it comes to financing. Budget restrictions cause loads of stress for potential residents and their families. Offer transparent pricing information, discuss payment options, and provide guidance on financial planning, including the use of long-term care insurance or government assistance programs.
- Use personal touches to upsell: By conducting assessments on prospective resident’s current health conditions, lifestyle preferences, and the level of care required, you can provide personalized recommendations. For instance, you can recommend an enhanced wellness and fitness program to Mr. Smith because you know he values an active lifestyle or share the premium dining package with Ms. Johnson because she seemed impressed with the dining experience during the tour.
- Be willing to change: Don’t simply assess potential residents’ preferences. To retain your current residents, provide opportunities to share valuable feedback about your community and what it’s getting right or wrong. You can gather that feedback through surveys, resident and family meetings, and one-on-one discussions. Remember, maintaining a high retention rate demonstrates your ability to deliver on your promises.
The role of customer service in senior living cannot be overstated. By embracing accessibility, sensitivity, transparency, personalization, and adaptability, senior living communities can attract new residents, retain existing ones, solidifying their reputation, and enhance the overall quality of life for their residents.
Understand Senior Living Needs
Every salesperson’s responsibility is to accommodate their customer’s needs. Unlike many other industries, however, addressing senior living needs comes with the unique challenge of building long-term relationships with deeply personal care considerations.
To properly attend to senior care needs, you and your team must take a compassionate and tailored approach. This includes addressing concerns related to care, safety, and comfort. Make sure you’re well-versed in these aspects of senior living needs:
- Health care: Age-related health conditions, mobility issues, and cognitive changes are common at senior living communities. Take the time to understand how it affects your residents’ daily life and the level of care they need.
- Lifestyle: Seniors must be treated as individuals, not as a demographic. They have diverse interests and preferences. Get to know which evening activity Mr. Dawson likes and whether stamp collecting really is his favorite hobby.
- Safety: Make it a point to highlight safety measures in place, such as emergency response systems, security staff, and safety protocols.
- Social: Seniors are especially vulnerable to loneliness. Tell prospective residents about community activities, social programs, and other opportunities to form connections at your community. Introduce new residents to other residents with similar interests and backgrounds.
- Ethical: Families put deep trust into the people responsible for caring for their loved ones. Reassure them that they’re in the right place by giving them more information on how you protect resident rights related to privacy, dignity, choice, and decision-making in their care.
Understanding the factors that impact seniors’ lives helps you support prospective residents and their families as they navigate the important decision of transitioning to a senior living community.
Grow Your Social Proof by Sharing Senior Living Stories
Borrow this tactic from your marketing colleagues: use social proof to build credibility, trust, and interest. Why are senior living stories told as case studies, testimonials, and reviews work so persuasive? Because they address objections, build trust, and ultimately make the decision-making process easier.
You can offer social proof at meet and greets. Arrange for prospective residents to meet current residents over afternoon tea or a game of Bridge. Or offer social proof in sales presentations. Share real-life successful senior living stories as part of your sales presentation to show prospective residents that others made the same decision and enjoyed positive outcomes.
Making a simple follow-up call is also a great opportunity to offer social proof. After a resident moves in, encourage them and their family to provide online reviews or testimonials that you can prominently display on your social media feed or website. By strategically incorporating senior living stories into your sales journey, you can instill confidence, address concerns, and influence the decision-making process of prospective residents and their loved ones.
Related: For more ways to lean on successful marketing tactics, check out our blog on how to align sales and marketing strategies.
Leverage Technology in Senior Care Sales
Now that you’re ready to implement these effective techniques, you need the right senior care sales technology to optimize your efforts.
Aline creates a living data journey that revolves around the resident experience. With Aline, you can streamline operations, add a personal touch, automate those mundane tasks, and gain better visibility into your sales processes.
Technology has already revolutionized so many industries with optimized resources and an improved customer experience. In senior care sales, technology isn’t just a bonus — it’s necessary for ensuring your prospects experience a smooth inquiry process and ultimately turn into residents. To learn more about how to leverage technology to close more sales, visit our sales and marketing solutions page.
Blogs, stories and studies from the forefront of senior living operations
6 Revenue Challenges Senior Living Operators Can’t Afford to Ignore
4 Ways Lead Scoring Can Improve Conversions for Senior Living Sales
13 Best Tips and Ideas for Your Senior Living Community Marketing
How to Write a Senior Living Marketing Plan (Free Template Download)
How to Make Your Senior Living Community Marketing More Effective