First impressions are often described as the most important detail of any interaction. However, it is only one piece of ensuring a successful tour. A successful tour cannot rely solely on the community’s sales counselor or community relations team. It requires the involvement of each and every team member to maximize the prospect’s experience and increase engagement. Aside from providing tour folders and brochures, there are other ways to make sure your community stands out among the competition and remains top-of-mind for the prospect.
- Engage with residents. Throughout the tour interact with residents and greet them by name. This will brighten up your residents’ days and show your prospects your community puts a focus on respecting and getting to know each individual.
- When touring with prospective residents and their adult children, always speak to the prospective resident before the adult child. Speak with the prospective resident directly to understand what they are looking for in a community and cater to their needs. If a prospect enjoys playing bridge with friends, showcase your bridge groups and introduce the prospect to a fellow bridge-loving resident if they are available. Tailoring each tour to what the prospect is interested in will help drive positive emotions and allow for the prospect to envision themselves in your community.
- Prepare your team with a tour guide manual so they can assist in tours if the sales and marketing teams are not available. If there is a question the prospect asks and the team member does not know the answer, have the team member write it down and let the prospect know they will get them an answer by the end of the day. It is better to admit you do not know something than to guess and potentially destroy the trust between the organization and the prospect.
- Oftentimes the cost of a community can cause sticker shock for the prospect and family. By providing an informative worksheet on what is included in your community compared to the services they are currently paying for in their home can help ease their mind. For example, if someone were paying $85 per month for their water bill and $50 for electricity, this dollar amount would be eliminated upon move-in since water and utilities are included.
- Customer service training may be necessary for direct-care team members and the administrative team. While walking through the community, ensure you interact with other team members who are smiling and open for questions. Many times, the sales and marketing teams do not have clinical experience, and sometimes these types of questions will arise. Make sure your team is trained on how to respond to questions or knows who to ask in order to answer questions and communicate with tour prospects appropriately.
- Follow up. Ending a tour is not the end – it is just the beginning! Follow up the next day to see if any additional questions arose. If the prospect is a few months away from moving in, ask for permission to add them to your database to ensure you remain top-of-mind. Continue to provide value each step of the way.
There are various strategies a community can implement to improve the touring process, and many of them can be utilized immediately. Be creative, be proactive, and most importantly, be genuine and meet prospects where they are in the process.