40. Don’t assume residents don’t want to be paid for referrals. Give them the option of a charitable donation in their name, just in case, but make sure you have a formal referral program in place and promote it often. Don’t miss out on the window for the best and most referrals ─ right after a resident moves to your community.
39. Be a student. The more you know, the better service you can provide, and being of service is a big part of relationship selling. Of course, know your community and product, but also seek opportunities to learn more about the senior audience, the issues individuals face as they age and other options they have, such as other communities or in-home help.
38. Create opportunities on your website to convert visitors to leads. Drive inquiries or e-mail registrations with offers such as “How To’s,” FAQs, tips, newsletters, videos, articles, etc.
37. Strive for consistency in marketing materials. Everything you do is a reflection of your community and your brand. The look, feel and message of all your marketing should be similar. Even the look and attitude of your staff and the presentations you give should have a similar feel. It may get stale to you (because you’re looking at it all the time), but to a prospect, changing logos, colors, typefaces and tones is confusing and decreases the brand’s impact overall.
36. Always market as a community. As the marketing staff, remind everyone that you’re always marketing. Something as simple as the freshness of the cookies served to the women’s group you’re hosting at the community may lead to a positive or negative comment to your next best prospect. Your reputation is built through the collective experience of everyone who comes in contact with your community.
35. Offer training for various positions that may come in direct contact with prospective residents. Educate your entire staff on your core benefits through orientation, staff meetings, marketing updates and new service announcements.
34. Coordinate marketing and resident lifestyle activities. When planning events, don’t forget to look at what events are already happening at your community for residents. Perhaps open up an event to the public or schedule a repeat event/speaker for another day that’s open to the public.
33. Don’t over-think it. Sometimes the best solutions are the tried-and-true methods. For example, Lunch and Learns or direct mail.
32. Utilize Google/Yahoo! business directories ─ they’re free. Local business listings are gaining more prominence on the search results page. You can access your community’s profile through Google’s Business Solutions. The ranking is based on proximity, relevance and profile activity.
31. Know where your leads are coming from and allocate budget resources accordingly. Keep the best and then put some budget toward trying new things, still keeping careful track of response metrics, so you know what to repeat and what to change to keep the leads coming in.
30. Create a tour preparedness checklist. Start the day with a 15-minute “show ready” check. Scuffed or chipped paint makes an impression, and not a good one.
29. Be prepared for tours. Establish a tour committee, including marketing, administrative and operations. Tour at least once a month as a committee, so everyone is seeing the community through the same eyes.
28. Walk the walk. Nothing kills a bad product like good marketing. Make sure your operations meet the expectation set in your marketing materials. Do everything you can to excel, and then make sure that you promote all the positive activity at your community.
27. Find out about your residents’ social groups. Birds of a feather flock together.
26. Aggressively capture e-mail addresses. E-mail is becoming more and more prevalent these days as a way to communicate with leads (e-mail blasts, e-newsletters, event reminders, etc.). Ask everyone for their e-mail address and keep asking. Utilize an inexpensive, Web-based e-mail tool, such as Constant Contact, for e-mail marketing.
25. Keep your website fresh. Update photo galleries, testimonials, calendar of events, etc., so people see there is life at the community. This also tells search engines you’re alive and improves search results.
24. Think of a visit to your web site as being the same as a visit to your community. What is the visitor’s experience? Does it accurately represent the feeling and spirit of your community? Prospects, families, potential employees and even the local media are drawing conclusions about your community only from what they see on your site.
23. Capture information on the first call. Train everyone who answers the phone to always ask for the basic contact information and the reason for the call. Don’t risk losing a lead. Use call sheets, have event overflow dates identified and never say, “We’re already full.”
22. Never underestimate the power of a resident’s perspective. When giving a tour, get your residents involved. Invite them to lunch with your lead, or stop on tours to meet them and let them show off their home. Host events where residents answer the questions.
21. Answer the phone. A missed phone call is a missed sales opportunity.