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Tours are not just a simple walkthrough. They are an opportunity to showcase your community and close a sale, which is why you must be prepared. How do you prepare for a tour of your assisted living, skilled nursing or rehabilitation center?

Setting the stage for a good tour starts before the prospective resident and/or their family arrives. Take a ‘white glove tour’ around your healthcare facilities and make sure that everything is in its place. Creating a checklist—that includes items such as ensuring trash is picked up, lights are turned on, open inventory is ready to show, window shades are up, beds are made and the bathroom toilets are flushed—is a simple way to create an organized, standardized process.

Preparation is everything

It can be incredibly helpful to speak with the guest prior to their tour. When someone calls to schedule a tour, use the call as an opportunity to get as much information as possible about the potential resident and their current situation. This discovery call should include questions that will help save time, plan for the tour, and most importantly, best help the family member and potential resident.

By determining the needs of your visitor, you can tailor their visit. If you know that the potential resident has just been discharged from the hospital after a knee surgery, make sure that, if possible, the executive director of nursing or the director of rehab can be introduced. Anytime you can have a person of authority greet your guest, it adds extra credibility and sense of security. When a staff member shows pride in their job, that pride makes an impression on your guest.

As for the “tour” aspect of the visit, it’s best to keep this to no more than an hour, taking the first 20 minutes to sit down and get to know each other. Listen to understand their needs, and start building a relationship with the person you’re speaking to so you can help them resolve their concerns—whether that’s needing some type of care after being discharged from a hospital or just not being able to live at home independently anymore. It is at this time when you should outline the community’s services and pricing.

Combatting challenges

Even with a checklist and well-laid out plan, it can be difficult to manage all the moving pieces in a healthcare center as something can always come up unexpectedly. For example, no community wants to have obstacles like odor problems when they’re walking a guest through, but occasionally, it may happen.

In this instance, I recommend that you acknowledge and address the problem directly with your guest. If you ignore the odor on the tour, the prospect and their family might assume that’s how your community addresses every problem. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have your elevator speech ready about fairly common issues that may arise, and how your community responds when it happens.

While many assisted living and independent living communities have model residences, it’s difficult to have inventory off the market in long-term care nursing and rehab. Therefore, I recommend a “mobile” or “traveling” model.

In this mobile model, you would have a few items ready that will warm up a room but can be easily moved from room to room, based on availability. For example, your mobile model kit could include some throw blankets, a few framed pictures to put at the bedside, and some fresh flowers or a pretty faux floral arrangement to brighten up the room. These small elements can make a huge difference in your guest’s first impression while also being relatively easy to execute.

Communication is key

During morning or afternoon stand ups, the team should discuss residents and make it clear where the open beds are and which ones have someone already living in the other half. In addition, it is key to having well-established relationships with your residents and provide them with a heads up about a possible tour. It is also important to be open with the visiting guest and their family, so they are aware if there will be a roommate.

Another key element to a smooth tour is making sure you are communicating well with your internal team. One simple thing you can do to achieve this is to get to know all of the staff on a first name basis—especially those you work with daily. This way, while you’re taking a visitor on a tour, you will be able to introduce the visitor to other staff members, which not only demonstrates that the staff is friendly, but also makes that staff member feel that they’re part of the community.

Next steps

At the end of the tour, it is important to sit back down and give a recap. This is your chance to get their first impressions and plan for the next steps. Because it’s hard to run through a bunch of questions in that meeting, it can be helpful to provide a frequently asked questions handout to cover a wide range of topics, such as “Are there visiting hours?,” “How do I reach a nurse or caregiver if I have a question?,” or “How do you bill long-term care insurance?.”

Following up with the prospective resident and family members as appropriate, is crucial—especially in long-term care, memory care or assisted living. If your community uses a CRM, you should make sure you have the correct contact information so you know who to call, how to reach them, the best time to reach them, and so you can document what has already been done in the process.

Often, the follow up process can be the most challenging, but if you’ve done your best to understand the potential resident’s needs and demonstrate how your welcoming environment can help meet those needs, it can make all the difference.

If you would like to learn more about how to conduct the perfect healthcare tour to generate sales, please contact Tim Bracken at 410-207-0013 or Rick Hunsicker at 214-906-3801.

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