Recently, family friends asked me how to pursue looking for a skilled nursing facility for their mother (who happens to live across the street from me). Being a first responder and fire fighter, I have visited their mother twice within the last couple of weeks; because she has fallen or her blood sugar decreased to the point of being unresponsive. Like most spouses, the thought of not living under the same roof as his wife was devastating.
Her family knows she is not safe and thus, the perfect emotional storm is created. While it can become easy to forget just how emotional a process this is for families (searching for the right senior living option for a parent), there is no better rude awakening than when reality “hits home” for a family you know, love, and care about. I’ve spent much time in the last couple of weeks counseling the family on what to look for and how to begin their search. They are overwhelmed with options and afraid of making the wrong choice.
In helping the family navigate this difficult process, I decided to see what might be available right in my back yard and visited three senior living communities this week. The results were disappointing, and while I often times hear, “I do that” or “I’ve heard this information before”, I found sales counselors still making the same mistakes that we’ve been battling within the industry for years.
No contact information was obtained from me in two of three properties, none of the properties have followed up since the visit, none of the visits were memorable, and not a single sales person has been resourceful by offering me tools and resources to make an educated decision. Frustrating! One of the greatest challenges I found was that these three properties were in very rural communities, where traffic is hard to come by- why wouldn’t you make the most of each and every lead you capture? Even though it may be a much less competitive market, leads are just as valuable as in metro markets and lost leads cost money!
Here’s my challenge for you today:
If you live in a rural senior living market, don’t assume you are the only option. While in years past families typically selected the provider closest to them, a change in thinking is developing and families are seeing the value in researching all of their options. Many families in rural markets are now considering options within a 30 or even 60 mile radius. While you may not be in a well-populated area, how many other providers are there within 30-60 miles of you? Take a stand and commit to resourcefulness, advisement and becoming a trusted advisor, ultimately achieving and maintaining 100% occupancy for your community.
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