Derek Dunham

Last week, communities swapped ideas about marketing during COVID-19. For part of the forum, our VP of Sales, Jackie Stone, shared tips and insights on selling, which are shown near the end of this post.

Check out the takeaways from last week’s roundtable below. You are also welcome to attend our next sales and marketing roundtable, coming this week.

Jackie Stone shares some tips for nurturing leads:

  • Continue to reach out.
    • Statistic: In 2018, people who moved into Life Plan Communities had an average of 6.4 face-to-face meetings, 2.4 tours and 16.5 callouts from communities. Altogether, there were around 35 touches for a Life Plan Community move-in. If we put marketing efforts on hold for COVID-19, we are going to make a mistake. We need to reach out in unique ways and put our community top of mind for when they make a decision.
  • Have COVID-19 conversations. Ask questions like:
    • What’s the first thing you want to do when this is behind us?
      • Sales counselors have been asking, “How do you spend your day?” so they can follow up in a way that’s meaningful to the prospect. If they are documentary or comedy watchers, send them links for something in that genre that’s on Netflix.
    • What do you miss?
      • If a prospect says, “I miss a certain meal from a restaurant, the sales counselor can say, “I love Fiorella, too. Maybe we can meet for lunch there once this is over.” In the meantime, you can send them a meal from there: a dish they mentioned that they liked.
    • Is there anything I can do (or get) for you?
      • One community connected with someone who needed to have things picked up from a pharmacy and someone who had just come back from rehab and needed groceries. It’s all about the relationship at this time and getting to know people.
  • Be prepared for questions you may hear from people:
    • How many cases of coronavirus and/or deaths have you had in the community?
      • This information is a matter of public record, so we can’t say, “We can’t give you this information.” It’s best to give the data if you have it and be honest and forthright, then follow up with what you are doing to keep your residents safe and engaged.
    • What are you doing to take care of residents?
      • Share with people: Infection control is what we do, day in and day out. We don’t have to create these procedures — they are already in place. Rest assured that we’re doing everything we can do to keep our residents safe.
  • Be prepared for objections you may hear:
    • We want to cancel our reservation and get a refund of our deposit.
      • If a person wants to back out of an apartment, you might say, “I’m glad you are safe. Let’s just concentrate on that for now. I’m going to follow up with you in a couple of weeks, and we can continue the conversation at that time. Be prepared, address the elephant that’s in the room, calm people’s fears and say, “Let’s wait on that and talk about it again in a couple of weeks.”
    • We’ve decided to stay in our house.
      • If someone says, “We want to stay where we are,” you can say, “Oh? Why is that?” and then “Tell me why you decided on moving to our community in the first place.” If they say, “We wanted to plan our future and not rely on our kids,” ask them, “What has changed about that?” If they say it’s because of COVID-19, explain why you are still the best solution — that hasn’t changed.
    • I don’t want to live around all old people who are more vulnerable to this and other illnesses.
      • One participant said, “We remind people that we are all vulnerable; we can’t see all of our aches and pains and illnesses.” Being in a community is always better because there are so many things that we can provide for you here.

Join the next sales & marketing roundtable on May 14!

We thank everyone for participating, and we invite you to join the next session, Thursday, May 14, at noon ET.

This week, Cory Lorenz, media director at Varsity, will join our general discussion for part of the session to share his perspective on digital marketing.

You don’t have to be a client to join the session — all are welcome. For call-in information, email DDunham@VarsityBranding.com.