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Who Needs a Waitlist Anyway?

We’ve received a lot of questions lately from clients wondering if waitlists are a thing of the past. With so much indecision on the part of prospects – understandably – many communities are finding even those on their waitlists to be unresponsive. Calling up and down the list often produces nothing.

Well, I’m here to say that waitlists are not a thing of the past. You merely have to re-examine how you position them. Be realistic. In today’s tough economy, plenty of leads are going to ignore your calls because they think this is a bad time to make such a big decision. But there are still many who wish to remain in contact. For those who do hesitate, find new ways to remind them of the benefits of being a member.

We’ve also worked with some of our communities who are proactively attacking their waitlist problem. Instead of just giving up on members who don’t show much interest, these communities are getting aggressive. They’re either canceling waitlist members who do not respond to open residences or closing the program altogether if they have residences readily available for move-ins. This forces waitlist members to make a choice between moving in or leaving the program. But keep in mind, this could result in a refund of their waitlist deposit.

Another way to engage your waitlist members is to communicate why they’re a part of your program in the first place. Sending letters or event invitations to waitlist members not only reminds them of the value of keeping their name on the list, it’s another chance to revisit why your community is a good option in these tough times. We have one example of a client who got great response from an incentive letter and had several members decide to move in.

This is best-case scenario. But it’s not inconceivable to turn a once-interested lead into someone ready to make the decision about moving to your community. Financial security and guaranteed health care are always good selling points in any market – but they’re especially valuable today. So don’t ignore your waitlists. Get proactive — and you could see a nice reward!

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