In senior living, utilizing third-party referral sources often results in less desirable leads—as well as a litany of frustrations.
That’s according to a recent report from Chicago-based special investment banking firm Ziegler.
For the report, Ziegler surveyed more than 150 senior housing financial professionals and CFOs, 98% of whom worked for nonprofit organizations. It’s much more common for senior housing providers to make use of local, independent consultants than to use Caring.com, A Place for Mom or My LifeSite, the results show.
Only 33% of respondents said they regularly or occasionally use A Place for Mom, and just 20% said they regularly or occasionally utilize Caring.com. On the other hand, about 50% of respondents indicated that they use local, independent consultants regularly or occasionally.
When senior housing providers do utilize third-party referral sources, it’s not always easy or helpful.
Respondents’ top complaint about these organizations was the poor quality of their leads, though their inadequate understanding of certain communities, their tendency to send leads to all of the providers in a region and their tendency to send leads that are already in a community’s internal database were also common frustrations.
Overall, lead generation vendors result in fewer and less desirable leads than internal efforts, the survey found.
Still, local consultants and A Place for Mom are more likely to produce high-quality leads than other referral services, according to respondents.
Senior living leaders have been vocal in the past about their dislike for third-party referrals, citing the high cost of paying these services. In turn, referral services, such as A Place for Mom, have responded that senior living providers may feel threatened in realizing that their own marketing is not robust enough.
Meanwhile, providers such as Five Star Senior Living (Nasdaq: FVE) are attempting to scale back on the frequency with which they use these third-party services, instead working to generate more leads in-house.
Written by Mary Kate Nelson