With today’s seniors finding it difficult to sell their homes at a profit — or at all — many have postponed the decision to move into a retirement or assisted living community. Yet there hasn’t been a corresponding reduction in retirement living options. When supply outpaces demand, prospective residents and their families can be choosier.
Anemic housing market fuels competition
With so much competition, every retirement and assisted living community must have energetic, enthusiastic, highly skilled, and well trained “sales” staff who can communicate carefully crafted messages about their facilities. They must also leave no stone unturned when prospecting, presenting, handling objections, and closing.
Chances are, you’ve spent considerable time implementing policies and procedures for hiring and training staff to do all of this and more. But once you’ve done your job, how can you be sure that your sales team is doing their job? Even with periodic or regular mystery shopping, you may not be aware of a serious sales or marketing problem until months go by and your sales staff miss their numbers. By that time you may have already have lost a significant number of prospects to your competition.
While communities experience high occupancy and sufficient demand, marketing and sales deficiencies are more easily ignored or missed. However, in today’s highly competitive environment, where an anemic housing market forces communities to compete for a shrinking pool of residents, it’s wise to dig deeper into the reasons why one or more of your communities is under-performing.
- Is it just because the economy is sluggish and the housing market is in the doldrums?
- Is it because sales staff need retraining in handling objections and closing skills? Or are there other reasons such as sales staff complacency in prospecting and responding to inquiries?
- Are staff sending the wrong messages while handling inquiries or presenting your community?
- Or are sales people spending too much time with the wrong people and not enough time with qualified prospects?
- Do community managers and sales staff know and understand the competition so they can effectively differentiate themselves to prospects? Does the marketing material communicate those differences?
- Does the community know how it is perceived by important referral sources?
What’s the solution?
This type of in-depth analysis typically requires moving beyond monthly monitoring of sales numbers, supplemental training or “routine” mystery shopping. It may require evaluating the overall marketing and sales effectiveness of your community or perhaps, the organization as a whole.
At Devon Hill we engage and train independent mystery shoppers to assess your sales process and provide feedback about the strengths and opportunities for improvement in handling inquiries, qualifying, presenting, handling objections, closing and follow-up. We believe that it’s important to provide community managers and owners very specific descriptions of the way staff respond to their inquiries, how your community is presented to them, how their objections are handled, and detailed examples of the messages being communicated about the community and its owners by your staff. Only by providing such detail can we clearly show you the impact of your sales process.
In situations that warrant further evaluation, it may be necessary to assess a community’s marketing communications, marketing effectiveness and reputation among referral sources.
After the mystery shoppers have completed their reports, Devon completes a comprehensive analysis of the findings to help owners and managers identify the reasons why prospects would or would not choose your community, and where you are losing opportunities.
Put an end to missed opportunities!
With a thorough analysis and report in hand, you’ll know exactly where to focus your attention and adjust strategies so prospective residents will want to choose your community as their future “home.” That’s how you gain the competitive edge needed to survive today’s unpredictable economy.
Click here to learn more about Devon Hill’s competitive edge mystery shopping and analysis or call us at 858-456-7800.