By Wendy D'Alessandro
Like any business owner or manager, executive directors are constantly managing the myriad of inputs that both add cost and contribute revenue to their P&L. It’s a balancing act for sure, particularly when trying to quantify opportunity cost.
Savvy executive directors and sales directors know that online referral partnerships have a valid and valued place in their sales and marketing budget. The national footprint, expert call center operations, and unparalleled SEO and SEM expertise of these referral partners tap a market potential otherwise inaccessible to most communities.
“It’s extremely difficult, if not virtually impossible, for individual communities to replicate this reach and expertise,” says Denise Graab, director of industry marketing at Caring.com, a Senior Housing Forum partner. And it’s why, she says, most professional, licensed communities partner with an online referral service like Caring.com.
They’ve talked at length about why senior living communities turn to internet referral services to attract and convert new residents, not to mention families and seniors who turn to the internet as a starting point for researching senior living communities.
There are other reasons Caring.com adds value to communities’ marketing and sales efforts. Some are quantifiable, like web lead response time. Others, not so much, like peace of mind, emotional support, compassion, patience, and team building.
What’s your web lead response time?
“Web-generated leads require rapid response for conversion success,” Denise says. “And unfortunately, research shows that too many senior living communities are taking too long to respond.”
For example, Enquire Solutions’ Sales & Marketing Benchmarking Report for 2017 and 2018 reports:
25% of senior living communities are currently taking over 7 hours to respond to web leads
35% are responding within 1-6 hours
Combined, that’s 60% of communities taking too long to respond to Web leads, which convert better with instant responses (that’s a response time of seconds, not hours, for greatest success)
Partnerships and Interactions Matter
Caring.com’s partner success team supports its referral partners and Caring’s more than 100 family advisors nationwide helps families find senior living communities matched to their needs, preferences, and budget.
Caring.com and its family advisors talk, email, and text with families about their senior living needs and schedule tours. They also follow up with Caring’s partner communities to ensure the best experience for all involved. Unsolicited notes of appreciation support the quantifiable data, Denise says.
A sales leader at a community for an organization with more than 250 communities nationwide, sent this note to a Caring.com Family Advisor’s manager:
“I thought it was important to share how valuable of an advisor you’ve got in Kelly. I’ve always had good relationships with referral agencies in my role. Those relationships are so key to what we do here, but I’ve never had the rapport with an advisor like I’ve found with Kelly. We are working on a lead together right now and it’s been so refreshing to work with her. She is consistent and thorough in her follow up, and I anticipate that this lead is likely to close . . . We appreciate her! Thanks!”
And it’s not just the nationwide senior living organizations noticing the difference that working with Caring and its Family Advisors can make. From a West Coast senior living organization with14 locations, a community relations director writes:
“This was my first time working with Caring.com. It’s been unbelievably more pleasant than working with your competitor. The leads are more qualified, and the agents actually get back to me, and like you’ve been doing: providing me updates without me even asking. You have no idea how valuable that is to us within the communities! Overall I'm happy and a big fan of Caring.com.”
Working Together to Serve Families
You’ve likely heard that common refrain, “It takes two to tango." Caring and its referral partners at the communities are the two in that tango — working in tandem to truly help the families and seniors in need.
A Caring Family Advisor relayed this example from a family she recently helped:
“Polly was desperate, as she and her husband Ronald (a veteran) were living in a motel and the motel had asked them to vacate within 1 day. I determined that they had the monthly financial means to afford senior living, sent their info to several communities, and right away heard from Steve, an executive director.
“Steve reached Polly and she brought Ronald to the community. Steve told me that the situation was worse than expected. Ronald was unable to walk due to water retention; Polly had stopped giving him those meds and was also unable to clean him for some time. It took several people at the community, including Steve, to get Ronald cleaned up. Steve also got the couple fed and settled, and was able to make arrangements for them at his community based on their resources.
“Steve said that when this couple showed up at his door, it renewed his passion for helping seniors. This referral reinforced to me the value of working closely with our provider partners to serve seniors!”
Staying True to What Matters
How well online directories rank on search engines matters. So does online referral agencies’ response time to web leads and the volume of qualified referrals they’re making to communities. Meeting occupancy goals through referred move-ins matters.
Yet stories like Polly and Roland’s are more powerful than data; they’re a powerful motivator for why providers do what they do. “Our ultimate purpose is to help families and older adults seeking senior living,” says Denise. “We do that better when we’re working closely with our partners at the senior living communities.”
Existing Caring.com partners that need support with their account should reach out to their Partner Success account manager via firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more inspiring stories from Caring.com and its partner communities, check out some of our favorites below:
Interested in learning about partnering with Caring.com to receive prospective resident referrals? Call (650) 713-3008.
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