A salesperson's job is not easy no matter what industry you are in. There are many different components to the job, and each needs to be executed almost perfectly for a sale to occur. In senior living, it's no different. First, you must have compelling sales and marketing content available online simply in order to generate a lead. Then you have to take that lead and make direct contact with them on the phone (easier said than done). Next, you need to make a great first impression and help qualify them for your community. Then typically you would give a tour of your community (something that's rather unique to senior living). During the tour, you have to showcase your community and help the prospect arrive at the conclusion that your community is for them. Next is collecting a deposit, signing the necessary paperwork, and ultimately moving them in. Needless to say, there are a lot of things that need to go right.
This sales process can be broken down into phases. And what we've come to believe is that each phase has its own set of skills and requires its own approach. And while it's possible to have one person do all these tasks, it's not very efficient or effective. For example, if building a house you wouldn't have the same company do the electrical as you would the framing. You need a specialist. For this reason, we've come to believe that benefits of outsourcing senior living appointment setting far outweigh any cons. This post will endeavor to highlight some of these benefits.
Save Valuable Time
Did you know it takes 6-8 touches to make contact with a lead? Each one of these touches spaced out over time and requires a significant amount of energy and documentation on behalf of the salesperson. And, many times, the effort goes to waste. Either the lead turns out to be unqualified, has found another solution in the meantime, or simply is no longer interested. Whatever the case, lead follow-up is a major time investment on behalf of your sales staff. And many times it can generate little to no revenue. Taking this piece of the sales process off of your staff's plate by outsourcing can save them a huge amount of time. Equally as important it allows them to spend the time that they DO have on high-value tasks as opposed to chasing down leads.
*These stats illustrate the issue with having your community salesperson do lead response and follow-up. They simply do not have the time & tools to respond 5+ times in order to contact a lead. It's no wonder the average number of responses in senior living is 1-2X before they give up on contacting a prospect.
Generates More Money
When the idea of outsourcing appointment setting comes to mind many executives will start to think of the additional cost involved. Why not just do it all in-house and save money right? Turns out that outsourcing this piece may in fact cost more initially but will ultimately bring in more revenue and be more cost-effective in the long run. Companies that specialize in appointment settings for senior living are just that, specialists. Their job is to make contact, qualify, and set up appointments (or in this case tours) for your sales staff. When your sales staff's time is only spent with pre-qualified, pre-vetted, warm prospects, their close rate will be significantly higher. When your sales staff's calendar is filled with these types of interactions all they have to focus on is what they do best, showcasing your community and closing new move-ins. This reallocation of time means that your company is generating significantly more revenue per hour of your salesperson's time. The ROI of each salesperson's salary expense starts to rapidly increase, and any additional cost you spend on an appointment-setting specialist will be justified by the additional revenue generated.
Additionally, your sales team will not need to be as large if their time is being spent more effectively. This will reduce your need to hire more sales staff and decrease your cost of doing business, in terms of payroll. This money can be better spent on boosting your business in more productive ways. Outsourcing your appointment setting also bypasses the need for you to set up such a team in your business. This is ideal for small to medium-sized senior living companies who may lack the capital or time necessary for training and maintaining such a team in-house.
*At NextWave, we focus on the middle of the funnel. We take the leads that are generated from various sources, we respond, contact, qualify, and set the tour. You take it from there.
Focused & Efficient Use of Resources
Having an outsourced appointment setting team with the sole purpose of providing your salespeople with qualified pre-booked appointments allows your existing community salespeople to spend more time in a "high-value activity" zone. They will no longer be chasing down Facebook leads and sending 5-6 emails to prospects who never materialize. Their time will be spent in a much more effective manner. And trust me, your salespeople in the community will love this. At first, they may be hesitant to outsource these tasks, after all, they don't want another person or company "taking their job." However, what we've found is that very shortly after starting the program your salespeople will see the value and change their tune. And it makes sense, by removing mindless follow-up and basic qualification it allows them to only spend time with pre-qualified prospects that are already qualified and "tee'd up" for them.
With their job roles being narrowed you can now focus your staff's training on the areas that matter. They can become really really good at giving tours of your community, interacting with prospects in person, doing deeper exploratory conversations, and closing new residents. They won't have to do extensive follow-up training using the CRM or marketing automation tools also. The initial automated lead response will be left to the appointment setting company.
*This graph from Inside Sales solutions illustrates why an outsourced bdr (business development rep) makes sense for the senior housing industry.
A benefit that we hadn't anticipated before starting our First Impressions Program, was that it would also help with a problem that's currently plaguing the senior living industry: employee retention. Although we have not measured this directly we've received a lot of feedback from the salespeople about how much more they enjoy their jobs now that the initial chasing down of digital leads is off of their plate. When employees are happier, they tend to stick around. As time goes on we will continue to find ways to measure this, but our initial response from salespeople seems to indicate that this is a huge unpredicted benefit of outsourced senior living lead management and appointment setting.
"The senior living industry has a turnover rate of 50% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics - and this number is quickly rising (source: CNBC). "
Consistently Better Prospect Experience
When you outsource part of a job to a specialist you're providing a better experience for your customer. If the payment structure is set up correctly and incentivizing the appointment setting company correctly, you'll be ensuring that your leads are responded to quickly, professionally, and with multiple touches. The experience will be consistent. At NextWave, we use various templates in our prospect responses that ensure their messaging is in line with your brand. We track response time, and the number of follow-up attempts, and we record every phone call and interaction for quality assurance. Our reps are also incentivized to respond at any time of day. We have thought through all the angles to ensure that the process is repeatable and provides the best first impression to your prospects. And we all know that when you're prospects have a good experience they're more likely to become a customer and/or recommend your company to other people.
Better Reporting & Decision Making
Using an outsourced senior living appointment setting service will provide abundant senior living data and analytics for your sales team to use. As part of the service lead management and appointment setting companies will need to prove how many tours were booked and where they came from. This is an integral part of any service of this type and is what will justify the cost and prove the ROI. By having up-to-date monthly reports you'll be able to clearly see where your tours and move-ins are coming from. Is it A Place for Mom? Is it social media? Organic website traffic? You'll be able to get a clear picture on what's the most effective means of lead generation and you'll be able to "double down" on the strategies that are the most fruitful.
*Get real-time access to reports on tours, contact percentages, tour booked percentages and more. Clearly see where your most valuable leads are coming from so you can double down in that area.
Consider Outsourcing Your Tour/Appointment Setting
Outsourcing your appointment setting will quickly provide the above benefits to your senior living business. By taking lead response, management, basic qualification, and appointment setting off your staff's plates, you're enabling them to spend a larger percentage of their time on revenue-generating activities. You'll be saving them time, generating more revenue, providing a better and consistent experience for your prospects, and quite possibly making your sales staff happier and easier to retain.
To try a 3-Month trial of our appointment setting service simply click the button below to set up an initial call. Once we confirm that you're a good fit we can explain the onboarding process and the timeline for getting your community set up on our system.