Want to Boost Your Occupancy Rates? Start Qualifying Your Senior Living Leads

Ever pick up seashells on the beach? There are thousands to choose from, but you don’t pick all of them—instead, you look at each shell and decide if it’s worth keeping. No matter how much you like shells, there’s no way you could grab every one you see. Instead, you decide which are your favorites and keep an eye out for the shells you actually want.

The same principle applies when it comes to qualifying leads for your senior living community. 

Despite hitting an all-time-low occupancy of 78.7% during the pandemic,1 the demand for senior living is rising. Now, occupancy stands at 81%, and all signs point to continued growth. But while the opportunity is great, there is a right and wrong way to grab the seashells.

The wrong way would be to go after every lead the same way—big shells, small shells, old shells, pink shells—because you know that not all of these seashells are created equal. Instead, you need to qualify prospective new residents (shells) to determine which leads are worth pursuing.

Only 25% of seniors are ready to proceed2 to the sales process when they first contact your senior living community. Your job is to find out which have the highest potential to convert. Here’s how.

Step 1. Identify the Decision Maker

Typically, when we talk about the two major types of “decision makers” in the new resident journey, we’re discussing either the seniors who’ll be your community’s new move-ins themselves or their adult children. These are generally the types of individuals who are most invested in the decision, and while they’re interests are aligned in picking the very best option for the senior, their motivating factors may not always be the same.

For example, a prospective resident may be concerned about access to their existing social networks and activities, church groups and shopping, or the dining options available on your community’s campus. But their adult children may be more focused on your health and wellness programs, fall prevention measures, or financing. Both decision-makers want the best possible fit for the senior resident, but the factors they think are most critical to finding the right community might differ based on their most pressing concerns.

Whatever the case may be, you need to know who’s involved in the decision and who has the final say for the senior. No two situations are the same, but knowing who the stakeholders are eases your new resident qualification process.

Step 2. Identify the Resident Persona

You should have identified a few different resident personas for your target market. By gaining a deeper understanding of your current residents you’ll be able to craft more effective marketing that connects with the senior searchers who are the best fit for your community. Personalization creates a connection with your audience and demonstrates that you’re concerned with what motivates them. You wouldn’t market to a Vietnam veteran the same way you would to a hippie grandma, right?

Your resident personas should also inform your lead qualification. Maybe your community converts lots of hippie grandmas but isn’t as popular for veterans. Understanding who your ideal residents are helps you determine whether a lead is worth seriously pursuing.

Step 3. Ask Qualifying Questions

So how do you find out who’s the decision-maker or what the senior’s resident persona is? You ask questions. This part of the lead qualification process is arguably the most important because this is when you discover everything you need to know about your potential future new resident.

Tech company IBM created an excellent framework for qualifying leads.3 They call it BANT (budget, authority, need, timeline) and this process covers the types of qualifying questions you need to ask every lead.

The budget part is pretty self-explanatory, and authority deals with who will be making the decisions. Asking about the senior’s needs will help you understand what they’re looking for in a senior living community—and whether or not yours can meet those needs. And finally, timeline is especially important in senior living, because the average senior takes 120 days to convert.4

Here are a few examples of questions you should ask:

  • Budget: What can you afford to spend monthly?
  • Authority: Will anyone help you make this decision?
  • Need: What features are you looking for in a senior living center?
  • Timeline: How long have you been looking for a community?

Senior living is ever-changing, but the importance of lead qualification never does. So let us help you find new resident opportunities who will convert. Contact us at 888.307.7304 to schedule a strategy session.



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