The Roches Associates was recently featured in a Seniors Housing Business article on how senior living marketing and sales teams have been forced to rework the way they do everything in light of pandemic lockdowns and restrictions. Below are some highlights of the article.
When outbreaks of COVID-19 rocked the United States starting in early 2020, Americans were hit with a barrage of frightening news reports. Since the virus is much more likely to kill older adults, every day the news was filled with reports of mass deaths in seniors housing communities, particularly skilled nursing facilities.
The disease has driven occupancy to a record-low rate of 80.7 percent for private-pay seniors housing at the end of the year. That’s according to new data from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC), an Annapolis-based nonprofit firm that tracks industry data gathered from 31 primary metropolitan markets. Meanwhile, 39 percent of all deaths from the disease have occurred in skilled nursing facilities, according to a December report by AARP. Nationwide, more than half a million people have died as a result of the virus.
This left seniors housing marketing teams with an extremely troublesome question: How do you sell a product that everyone in the country is afraid of?
Joe Roche, president and CEO of The Roche Associates, has coordinated both socially distanced in-person events and online webinars for the company’s seniors housing clients during the pandemic. He says a nurse presenter is key.
“Just think about the Super Bowl — who flipped the coin? It was a nurse. There’s really been a recognition of the fabulous value nurses provide in disease prevention and control.”
Roche also recommends getting residents involved. Who better to tell prospects what it’s like to live in a seniors housing community than the seniors who actually live there? Willing residents can be used for one-on-one video calls or by incorporating them into webinars.
“We’ve been putting the residents out front. We believe our residents have life-changing experiences when they move in and live with us. It’s one thing for us to communicate that, but it’s entirely different to hear it from folks who are living in the communities during this time,” said Roche.
Focus on Sales
With so many new ways to communicate, it’s easy for the sales team to be distracted by the various events or other marketing efforts. However, warns Roche, those tasks should be left up to the marketing team, not the sales team.
A Roche Associates study of time logs found that salespeople were spending between 23 and 45 percent of their time on actual selling activities. “They should be shooting for a minimum of 60 percent, and up to 75 percent,” says Roche. With a focus on keeping the sales team on sales activities, one Roche client saw move-ins increase 58 percent, he adds
“The greatest tools that every individual salesperson has is their time and in-depth knowledge and belief in their product. The marketing and sales teams have to work harder to differentiate from the competition, to talk about overall value not just price.”
If you are interested in learning more about event marketing for senior living, sales training for senior living or digital marketing for senior living please contact Joseph Roche, President of the Roche Associates, at 800-596-8183.