Two former Bild & Company employees have struck out to launch their own consulting company, focusing exclusively on the senior living sector and touting results that include improved census and inquiry-to-tour-to-move-in ratios.
Elite Business Systems is the brainchild of Michelle Greiner and Shelli Apostolou, both of whom joined senior housing and healthcare consulting firm Bild & Company during its early formation. The two have a combined 32 years of sales experience in senior housing and 10 years of senior housing consulting.
“Elite” stands for the company’s five pillars: Employee engagement, Leadership Institute, Innovative programing, Training strategies, and plan Execution.
For the first pillar, Greiner emphasizes the importance of making sure companies have buy-in from their employees. “Where another company looks at recruiting, our company focuses on the employee engagement component,” she says. “An employee could be satisfied with his or her job, but is only giving 50% effort.”
Elite has developed a customized employee engagement survey with senior housing providers in mind that allows companies to measure employees’ engagement with the organization, with their manager, and strategic alignment—whether they feel the company has a clear strategy and goals.
Next is the leadership component, which is currently conducted via remote sessions for peer executives in the same executive category, whether regional directors or vice presidents, although the firm hopes to eventually hold in-person seminars.
“We focus on things like implementing sales accountability, differentiating senior living communities from competitors, and operational efficiency, which can cover everything from cash flow to budgeting to staffing,” says Greiner.
Elite promotes innovative programming—the third pillar—for communities in areas such as dining, activities, memory care, and tracking care changes. “If you don’t have a great program within a community, it’s difficult to set yourself apart and give sales counselors the competitive edge in knowing how they’re different from a competitor,” says Greiner.
The fourth pillar—training strategies—teaches companies to build sales skills and develop a strong foundation for selling.
“We teach solution sales, which hones in on identifying a problem and providing a solution,” says Greiner, emphasizing a focus on autonomy for sales staff that allows them to make decisions on a family-to-family basis.
Both Greiner and Apostolou have operational and sales experience, and focus on both when providing consulting. “If operations are not smooth sailing, then sales are not going to go well either,” says Greiner.
Lastly, Elite Business Systems focuses on execution.
“Plans are great, but if they’re not executed, you’re not going to develop results,” she says. After helping each client develop an individualized plan, the firm partners with them to implement the strategies.
The new firm currently has five senior living provider clients with 42 total properties in the portfolio, located across the country. Of the 500 senior living properties that Greiner and Apostolu have consulted on in the senior housing industry, the average client’s portfolio census growth is about 10.5% after a 6-12 month consulting period, with average inquiry-to-tour conversion rates improving to 60%.
Tour-to-move in rates, meanwhile, vary depending on the type of senior living community. For CCRCs, it’s in the range of 35% as the sales cycle typically takes longer. For independent living, assisted living, or memory care monthly rentals, says Greiner, the firm is seeing a 45-52% close conversion.
“Our key focus is to work with providers with 30 or less properties,” she told SHN. “We’re niched in helping companies that have started to grow very quickly, to make sure they have the infrastructure in place to grow consistently.”
Written by Alyssa Gerace