As it turns out, spending more time on each senior living sales lead, as opposed to calling and giving tours to as many prospects as possible, could be the most successful way to convert leads into move-ins.
That’s according to an analysis of data from Jan. 1, 2015 to Dec. 31, 2015 conducted by the ProMatura Group, a global marketing and research firm specializing in seniors housing. Sherpa, a senior living customer relationship management (CRM) and sales conversion system, provided the data and hired ProMatura to analyze it.
The most important factor when it comes to improved sales results is spending more time on an individual prospect through phone and in-person conversations, planning next steps, and personalizing creative follow-up, the analysis found.
“The study really fundamentally says ‘you must know your customer if you want to sell to them,’” ProMatura Group founder and CEO Margaret Wylde told Senior Housing News.
For the study, ProMatura Group analyzed 302,159 interactions between 502 senior living salespeople—all of whom use Sherpa—and 23,480 leads at 41 independent living communities, 71 assisted living communities, and 75 memory care communities.
For prospects that ultimately closed and moved in, the salespeople on average invested almost 18 hours for independent living and approximately 10 hours for assisted living and memory care to learn about them, address their hesitation, and follow up with creative approaches that were personally relevant, Wylde said in a prepared statement.
“Industry sales counselors generally focus on the product instead of the prospect,” Wylde said. “Then when confronted by resistance, which is predictable, most simply give up too soon.”
Additionally, when senior living salespeople talk to senior living prospects who call in to the community, the conversion rate—15%—is 7.5 times greater than that of outbound calls to leads, Wylde said.
“In our industry, sales counselors have traditionally been evaluated on how many leads they’re calling and touring,” Jayne Sallerson, Sherpa’s chief operating officer, said in a prepared statement. “The assumption has been that simply increasing that number, regardless of the time invested or outcome achieved, will result in more move-ins.”
The study actually confirms that adding excessive tours or outbound calls within a fixed time frame is counterproductive, because it decreases the time that could have been spent generating successful conversions, Sallerson added.
The analysis’ findings are applicable to senior living sales people who don’t use Sherpa, as well, Wylde told SHN.
“I think the findings can be applied to any other product,” Wylde said. “If you get to know the user, you’re going to sell more product—period.”
Written by Mary Kate Nelson