January is Coming. Is Your Community Ready?

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January is only a few days away. For senior housing, that means the biggest lead rush of the year -- senior living providers have reported inquiry spikes as high as 58% in the weeks following Christmas. According to Chris Rodde of Seniorhomes.com, the reason for the rush is that “when families get together, adult children may have a greater realization at those holidays that mom or dad need some help.”

The leads are coming. The question is: Are you ready?

Here are five tips for making the most of the January lead rush.

1. Prepare your staff

Make sure your staff knows to expect increased tours and sales activity and that your schedule accommodates it. This might mean increasing your staff for the month of January, or at least having additional people on call.

2. Think fast, and consider a call center

You know that following up quickly is important, but do you know how important? Study after study has shown that the faster you follow up with a lead, the more likely you are to convert that lead into a sale.

One frequently cited study by Leads360 (now Velocify) found that speed-to-call is the single largest driver of lead conversion. If you phone a new prospect within one minute, your lead conversion rate improves by 391% over calling later. What might surprise you is how quickly it drops off. If you wait just one more minute, it drops to 160%, and by 24 hours you’re down to 17%.

A one-minute response time isn’t always feasible, but don’t let leads languish for 24 hours. If your sales team can’t respond to leads within a reasonable time, consider a call center solution. Both this study from Senior Living SMART and our benchmarking data show that communities with call centers book more appointments than those without.

3. Focus your efforts with lead scoring

Not all prospective residents are equally close to a move-in. Lead scoring can help you triage your leads so your sales team can focus on those most likely to convert. You can you use your marketing automation software and your CRM to identify factors that indicate which leads are the hottest and classify those leads accordingly.

Here are a few factors to consider:

  • What care level is required? The more care required, the shorter the sales cycle. If your community offers varying levels of care, make sure your sales team follows up on the skilled nursing and memory care leads first.
  • Who’s making the inquiry? According to Caring.com, leads from adult children convert faster than those from the seniors themselves.
  • Do they fit the profile of a “good lead”? Does their age, income, geography, etc., fit your target profile?
  • What pages of your website did they visit? Does their activity on your website match the activity of other prospects who subsequently became residents?

Watch this 5-minute video from GlynnDevins’ Mark Johnston to learn more about lead scoring for senior living.

4. Provide educational content on your website

You might be able to reduce the number of purely informational inquiries -- and thus free your sales team to focus on hotter leads -- by providing educational content and information about your community on your website. Give your prospects the tools they need to make an informed decision, and they will be more likely to choose you when the time comes.

5. Conduct a post-rush assessment

Finally, when the rush is over and you’ve had some time to breathe, assess how it all went. This includes everything from examining your leads in order to refine your lead scoring attributes to canvassing your staff and salespeople about what worked and what didn’t. If you take the time to optimize your sales process now, you’ll be better prepared for the lead rush when it happens again next year.

For more ideas on how to improve your sales process, check out 7 Ways to Capitalize on Online Leads.

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