A Cultural Shift Happening in Senior Living for the Better!

Apr 18, 2024 | Sales/Sales Training

By Nate O’Keefe, CEO, Roobrik

The term “tire kickers” has always rubbed me the wrong way. It conjures up a specific image with a clearly negative connotation. It used to come up in Roobrik demos all the time when we talked about website visitors who weren’t calling or touring yet. It was understandable, sure – senior living sales is a long and tough game – but a culture that accepts negative language around a prospect is a culture that will lose sales by inadvertently turning off or missing qualified prospects.

But these days I almost never hear it, and I’m thrilled. It’s been steadily replaced by language around educating, informing, empowering and helping everybody and treating every inquiry like a future resident, even when they’re not.

In short, relationship-based selling, which was traditionally the norm before the rise of digital marketing, is once again becoming the norm. But how do you build a culture across your company that does it right, continually optimizes and is sustained beyond individual high performers? A few thoughts:

May webinar graphic

Watch the webinar recording to learn more about some proven strategies to unlock the potential of selling to seniors in today’s digital landscape.

In our April 25, 2024 webinar, The Vectre Partner Hoyle Koontz, Roobrik CEO Nate O’Keefe, Love & Company Strategic Sales Advisor Joan Kelly-Kincade, and Love & Company President/CEO Rob Love shared their insights on proven strategies to unlock the potential of selling to seniors in today’s digital landscape in our webinar, “Emotional Intelligence Drives Success in a Digital-First Marketing World.”

First, for simplicity’s sake, let’s break down senior living move ins into just two categories:

Transactional move ins are driven by a time-sensitive need and don’t require as much active selling. These tend to be the norm in assisted living sales.

Relationship-based move ins happen because of a provider’s ability to sell. These are the norm in Life Plan Community sales.

By this point, sales and marketing leadership recognizes that you need both, and your best length-of-stay metrics come from the latter group. But earning those consistent relationship-based move ins requires a genuine cultural shift that gets to the core of how a provider approaches connections with prospects.

As we all know, the journey of a senior living buyer is far from linear, influenced by health (physical and mental), family, money and more than a little emotion – the same rich tapestry that makes up each one of us. Knowing the unique circumstances of that tapestry, including the colors, patterns, textures, size and shape, is now the standard required to stay competitive. “If you can’t show that you want to know me, I don’t want to come live in your home.”

A simple case in point: In 2023, of 75,000 consumers who completed Roobrik’s “Is it the right time for senior living?” survey, 54% were older adults researching for themselves and 30% were adult children researching on behalf of a parent.

When asked their motivations for considering a move, “concerns about safety” was the top motivation for adult children, but it was the least motivating factor for older adults! Older adults’ top answers were about curiosity, future care needs and downsizing considerations. Adult children, however, were concerned about their parents’ safety, loneliness, isolation and future care needs.

Without those insights, a marketing team might miss an opportunity to engage and educate web visitors. Similarly, a sales team might launch into a conversation emphasizing a selling point that doesn’t resonate.

So how do you build a culture around that? How do you empower a sales team to invest the time and energy into knowing everyone, while still meeting aggressive business goals, managing costs and handling the dozens of operational ideals that make it all seem effortless?

Here are some common characteristics we’ve gleaned from nearly 10 years of working with senior living providers at Roobrik:

  • Values-driven leadership at the top. The bosses say what matters, and they never stop saying it.
  • Full hearted partnership between sales and marketing leadership, with a single revenue team mentality.
  • Commitment to ongoing training around customer discovery and audience personas (and “tire kickers” is a prohibited persona!).
  • Compensation, incentives and recognition that reward longer-cycle move ins (which pay off with longer stays).
  • Tech that makes sellers’ time more efficient and reinforces values throughout the daily workflow.
  • Tech that helps prospects self-educate, then nurtures where they want or need it most.
  • Planning sales callouts based on discovery in a customized approach.

And while not all providers achieve all of these all the time, I see these cultures more and more because they’re the providers that are winning today.

I’d be remiss not to mention the Roobrik system makes it easier to accelerate and sustain a relationship-based sales and marketing culture. Our solutions Engage your site visitors, Empower your buyers through educational discovery surveys and Enable your sellers with invaluable prospect insights.

Know your senior living shopper better by joining the Know Your Audience Challenge, a competitive interactive webinar series where we explore together a new data theme about the senior living shopper.

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