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With an unprecedented number of baby boomers entering retirement by 2030, why does reaching them seem more challenging than ever? If you’re in assisted living sales and have been pondering this question—this guide is for you.
We’ll dive into the complexities of assisted living sales and provide practical sales and marketing strategies to enhance your assisted living’s online appeal and occupancy rates.
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Boost assisted living sales by mastering audience understanding
In assisted living sales, success hinges on understanding your audience, which is probably stressed and overwhelmed. It’s about grasping the diverse needs and preferences of potential residents and their families.
For example, consider Mr. Thompson, a 70-year-old seeking an active lifestyle. A sales approach highlighting community activities, such as gardening clubs or fitness classes, would likely resonate with him and his caregiver.
Contrastingly, Mrs. Rodriguez is searching for a secure place for her mother with dementia. Here, detailing the facility’s memory care programs and safety features becomes paramount.
6 practical steps to gain insight into potential residents’ needs and preferences
- Conduct regular surveys: Implement surveys for both current residents and prospective residents. This will provide direct feedback on what aspects are most important to them, be it security, activities, or medical care.
- Host focus groups: Invite a diverse group of potential residents and family members for discussions. Their perspectives can reveal unmet needs and preferences that you may not have considered.
- Personalized tours: During tours, observe and ask questions. If a prospect lingers near the garden, talk about your gardening club. Tailor the tour to their interests as you learn about them.
- Training sessions for staff: Conduct regular training for sales and support staff. Teach them how to actively listen, ask the right questions, and pick up on non-verbal cues. Understanding isn’t just about what’s said—it’s also about what’s unsaid.
- Analyze demographic data: Review the demographic data of your region. Understand the age groups, health trends, and lifestyle preferences. This data can guide your marketing and service offerings.
- Utilize CRM tools: Implement Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. It helps track interactions, preferences, and feedback from potential residents, making it easier to tailor your approach.
Your assisted living community’s online presence (website, social media, and more) is your 24-hour referral engine.
Imagine a family, searching for “assisted living homes near me” at midnight. Your digital marketing efforts, such as your website’s helpful blogs, Google Ads, and YouTube videos, ensure your facility pops up when the right people are searching for help.
While word-of-mouth referrals are still incredibly useful, the internet expands your reach 10-fold.
Potential residents and their families, regardless of time or place, can discover and connect with your community, thanks to your “digital footprint,” which you hopefully will expand to reach more people.
Increase your assisted living community’s online presence with these 5 effective digital marketing strategies
- Search engine optimization (SEO): SEO is essential for making your senior living website visible to those searching for assisted living options. Utilizing keywords, optimizing your website’s content, and ensuring a mobile-friendly design can improve your search engine rankings, drawing more traffic to your site.
- Content marketing (writing blogs): Create valuable content that addresses the concerns and questions of your target audience, such as “How To Talk to Mom About Moving Into Assisted Living.” Blog posts, articles, and guides about assisted living can establish your facility as a trustworthy source of information.
- Social media presence: Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram offer a way to showcase your community, share resident stories, and engage with families. Paid social media advertisements, like Instagram Ads and Facebook Ads, can also target specific demographics.
- Email marketing: Collect email addresses through your website and send regular newsletters. These can include updates about your facility, success stories, and information that can aid in the decision-making process. You never know when somebody will forward these emails to a person in need of assisted living.
- Online reviews and reputation management: Encourage satisfied families to leave positive reviews. Monitor your online reputation and address any negative feedback promptly and professionally. Never, ever respond negatively to a negative review online, as this will scare more people away—always respond politely.
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Combine your digital marketing efforts with offline reach
Start local: Sponsor or host community engagement events for improved assisted living marketing reach
Community engagement is often the secret weapon for boosting assisted living sales. When an assisted living facility actively participates in local events or supports local causes, it’s not just goodwill—it’s a strategic move that builds trust and reputation.
- Charity events: Sponsor local charity runs, walks, or galas. This not only aids a good cause but also gets the community familiar with the facility’s name and values.
- Health and wellness workshops: Host workshops on topics like healthy aging, nutrition, or exercise specifically designed for seniors.
- Local festivals and fairs: Participate in or sponsor booths at local festivals, offering informational materials and engaging activities.
- Educational seminars: Organize seminars on topics such as retirement planning, elder care legal issues, or memory care.
- Art and cultural events: Sponsor local art shows, concerts, or theater productions, possibly featuring the talents of residents.
- Community service projects: Engage residents and staff in community service projects like park clean-ups or food drives.
- Holiday celebrations: Host community-wide holiday events, inviting local residents to join in celebrations.
- Intergenerational programs: Partner with local schools or youth organizations for intergenerational activities, fostering connections between residents and younger community members.
- Open houses and tours: Regularly offer open houses or guided tours, allowing the community to see the facilities and meet residents.
- Support groups: Host support groups for caregivers or individuals dealing with specific health issues.
- Local business partnerships: Collaborate with local businesses for mutual promotion and events.
- Sports team sponsorships: Sponsor local youth or adult sports teams.
The personal touch in testimonials can turn website visitors into potential residents, highlighting the impact of word-of-mouth.
For example, Linda’s search for the right assisted living for her mother felt fruitless until she found a local nursing home’s website.
Authentic testimonials and joyful resident videos from the community rekindled hope—she knew her mother would thrive in this community.
- Request reviews from families: After a positive interaction or event, encourage families to share their experiences online or in written form.
- Interview satisfied residents: Capture video or written testimonials from residents who are eager to share their positive experiences.
- Utilize online platforms: Encourage reviews on platforms like Google, Facebook, and senior living directories.
- Incorporate in marketing materials: Use powerful testimonials in brochures, on the website, and in social media posts.
- Display in facilities: Showcase testimonials in common areas or during tours to reassure visiting families.
- Follow-up after events: After hosting open houses or community events, reach out to attendees for feedback and testimonials.
- Leverage social proof: Share positive word-of-mouth stories in newsletters or as part of your digital marketing strategy.
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How to personalize the assisted living sales process
Imagine a scenario where Jane, a sales director at an assisted living community, meets with the Smith family, who are exploring options for their elderly father.
Instead of diving into a rehearsed spiel, Jane takes the time to ask about their father’s hobbies, his daily routine, and his medical needs.
By the end of the conversation, Jane has not only understood their specific needs but has also formed a genuine connection with the family.
This level of personalization leaves the Smith family feeling valued and confident that this community could be the right fit for their father.
- Listen actively: Begin every conversation by listening. Understand the unique needs and preferences of each potential resident.
- Customize your approach: Tailor your sales pitch based on the information gathered. Highlight aspects of your community that align with their specific interests and needs.
- Use names often: Address potential residents and their families by name during conversations to create a more personal connection.
- Follow-up with personalized communication: After initial meetings, send follow-up messages that reference specific details discussed, showing that you were attentive and care about their individual situation.
- Create individualized tours: Design tours of your facility that focus on areas and activities that would interest the potential resident specifically.
- Highlight personal success stories: Share stories of current residents with similar backgrounds or interests, demonstrating how they found happiness and fulfillment in your community.
- Involve current residents: If possible, introduce potential residents to current ones with similar interests, allowing for a more personal perspective on life in the community.
When it comes to assisted living sales, knowing what to do and what not to do can make a significant difference.
It’s about striking the right balance between being informative and empathetic.
In this section, we’ll dive into the do’s and don’ts of assisted living sales, offering practical advice to ensure your sales team not only understands the product but also connects with potential residents and their families on a deeper level.
- Using scripted approaches: While scripts can provide a basic structure, they often make interactions feel robotic and impersonal. It’s essential to train your team to use sales scripts as a guide rather than a strict blueprint.
- Focus on features: A common pitfall is focusing solely on listing community features. Instead, the conversation should connect these features to the individual’s needs and preferences.
- Premature commitment push: Pressuring potential residents or their families for a commitment too soon can backfire. It’s important to build a rapport first.
Instead of relying on the old assisted living sales tricks that might be outdated or ineffective, it’s time to refresh your approach.
- Personalize conversations: Move beyond scripts to engage in genuine dialogues. Each potential resident has a unique story—your team should be trained to listen and respond to that.
- Connect features to needs: Teach your team to relate community features to the individual needs and lifestyles of potential residents.
- Build relationships: Encourage the cultivation of trust before pushing for commitments. Training in empathetic communication can be particularly beneficial here.
- Follow-up promptly: Send timely follow-up messages or calls automatically (lead nurturing) after initial interactions—your leads will likely be too overwhelmed to call you back, so call them back to make it easier on them.
- Share positive testimonials: Use video testimonials when possible for a more impactful presentation.
- Educate lead about options: Inform potential residents and their families about various living options and care levels.
- Build a relationship and trust: Focus on building a trusting relationship, not just closing a sale.
- Use technology effectively (CRMs): Use CRM and automation tools to manage all leads efficiently, so you don’t forget about any of them.
- Over-reliance on scripts: Caution against letting scripts dominate the conversation. Authenticity matters.
- Information overload: Warn against overwhelming families with too many details. Focus on what’s most relevant to them.
- Neglecting follow-up: Consistent and thoughtful follow-up is crucial. Make sure your team understands the importance of staying in touch.
- Don’t be pushy or aggressive: Avoid high-pressure sales tactics that will turn away potential residents or make them uncomfortable, or possibly worse—tarnish your company’s reputation.
- Don’t dismiss concerns: Take every concern seriously and provide thoughtful responses. Don’t minimize the family’s concerns.
- Don’t ignore feedback: Use feedback to improve your sales approach and community offerings.
- Don’t skip training and development: Invest in regular training sessions to keep your team updated and skilled.
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