It’s so easy to talk yourself out of following up with a prospect. Listening to the excuses in your head for why you think a prospect is not going to move any further along the sales cycle is a sure way to sabotage your own success. Thoughts like “they’re probably going to stay in their home and use home health care,” “we’re probably too expensive for them,” or “they didn’t seem that interested during the tour” are common among sales professionals in the senior living industry, but they are counterproductive to moving a prospect along in the sales cycle.
It’s fairly common in senior living sales to segment the cycle into the following big-picture stages:
Lead -> Prospect -> Tour -> Sale
Each stage has its own actions and activities completed by the sales professional that moves the individual to the next stage. For example, a lead becomes a prospect only when the sales professional reaches out and makes actual contact with the person and learns details about them and why they inquired about your community. The results of the actions and activities in each stage dictates the lead’s hot/warm/cold score in your sales system or CRM.
About Hot/Warm/Cold Scoring
Hot: Prospect shows an urgency about moving to senior living, usually within a certain period of time like within 3 months; appears to be financially qualified; does not require a level of care higher than your community can provide.
Warm: Prospect appears to be financially qualified, but may not be ready to move until more than 3 months, or may be facing a health issue they can recover from but requires additional care you don’t provide.
Cold (a.k.a. Future Lead): Prospect displays a lack of urgency for moving to senior living but it is still a consideration for them at some point in the future; wants to be kept in touch but not ready to make a decision now; or difficult to reach.
(Note: If a lead is not financially qualified, permanently requires a level of care higher than your community offers, is no longer living in the area, or is deceased, then they should be closed out of the database.)
A lead is going to remain hot or warm as long as the prospect is being moved toward the sale by the sales professional. However, if you’re not performing the necessary activities in your sales system, they’re going to cool off and most likely look elsewhere. Before you downgrade or write off a lead that isn’t progressing but is still a prime candidate for senior living, consider taking one of these steps:
Reassess if you’re talking to the right person. On your next follow up call, ask the prospect or the loved one you’ve been in contact with, “who else is involved in making this decision about you moving to senior living?”
Ask about their current health. Care needs increase over time with older adults. The prospect might not have been a prime candidate for senior living when you last spoke, but if it’s been a while, try checking in with them to see how they are doing.
Appeal to their interests and hobbies. If they expressed an interest in a particular card game, or antique cars, and you have an upcoming card game club or vintage car show at your community, reach out to them with an invitation to visit; include an offer to stay for lunch and plan to seat them with a resident you feel may be a potential acquaintance. It gets them back into the building, and builds familiarity with the community, staff, and residents.
Don’t let excuses and assumptions keep you from moving a prospect along the sales cycle. It takes effort to do the necessary actions and activities in your sales system and prevent a hot lead from cooling off, but staying in contact and following up with your prospects will keep your community in the running when the time is right to make a decision to move to senior living.