By Tom Mann, Principal, Executive Vice President

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Without proper training, many retirement counselors don’t know how to turn a lead into an appointment.

A recent report from the National Investment Center for Senior Housing & Care (NIC) on retirement community occupancy levels stated that the average senior housing properties occupancy rate for the second quarter of 2016 was 89.7%, which was down 0.3% from the previous quarter.

Is your retirement community stuck at 90% occupancy? Are you striving for zero lost revenue? If so, chances are you should seriously consider evaluating the effectiveness of your Life Plan Community’s sales program. The number one sales challenge facing the senior housing industry is not enough leads for the sales team. Number two? The sales team not having the training to effectively turn those inquiries into tours.

According to a Ziegler study, 70% of retirement communities budget $10,000 or more towards a sale. That’s a LOT of money, which means you better make sure you and your team are making the most out of EVERY lead.

Love & Company’s experience is that most sales teams can benefit greatly from the sales training required to effectively maximize their marketing budgets. Do any of these remind you of your community?

  • Are you quick to send out brochures without doing true discovery? And when you do send out a brochure it includes everything but the kitchen sink!
  • Do you talk more than you listen? Do you feature dump, talking about all the features without relating the benefits?
  • Do you panic when asked about pricing, usually relenting and giving the prices over the phone or sending out floor plans and pricing with the brochure—knowing that the prospect can’t possibly understand the pricing without the context of an appointment and tour?
  • Do you try to sell the apartment rather than an appointment over the phone, resulting in phone calls that last a half hour or more (rather than the seven minutes it should be taking)?
  • Do you fail to communicate an expectation for next steps or fail to agree on next steps?
  • Does your lack of understanding about how to utilize the process of discovery ensure that you cannot move the sales process forward (and create successful follow-up out bound calls and opportunities)?
  • Is the box and close sales technique (i.e., “Which works better for you? Monday or Thursday?”) a mystery to you? Do you ask questions like, “Are you are still considering retirement living?” (which almost always guarantee a “No” answer)?
  • Does your lack of training and confidence lead to “phone-itis” (fear of the phone), thus resulting in not enough outbound calls?
  • Do you think of your CRM (i.e., REPS, Sherpa, You’ve Got Leads, SalesForce, AOD, etc.) as a foe, rather than a friend? Is your dislike or misuse of your CRM resulting in a lack of true reporting information for you?
  • Do you need to learn what the Rule of 78 is, and the immense impact you can have on your community’s success?

If your answer was “yes” to any of these questions, I recommend you consider the benefits of more training. Remember, one additional sale per month results in millions to your community’s bottom line!

Editor’s Note: This blog originally was posted in our Mature Market Experts blog which we are now migrating to this current site.

For more information on sales training, and how you can get the training your team needs, contact Tim Bracken at 301-663-1239.

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