Key things to help you everyday

Sales are ‘not the thing’ over the next 12 months – it is MOMENTUM to settlement!

What will happen to sales over the next 12 months?  Who really knows? But lead management will be vital.

This means maintaining a link with buyers in their journey to finally commit to buying their village home, and then selling their family home and settling on their new village purchase!

At DCM we call this “momentum to settlement”!

Over the last few months I have been asked several times “what’s going to happen to sales” and “what should we be focusing on”. Oh, if only I had that crystal ball…

However, from my past experience opening a brand new village at the beginning of the GFC when sales just stopped, and my past professional experience of turning around stalled villages and villages in receivership, it is all about MAINTAINING MOMENTUM & HAVING A PLAN

It is vital that sales teams do not lose momentum and that means supporting them by maintaining strong campaigns to attract new enquiry. 

In difficult times we need to overfill the sales funnel, knowing even the most committed customer may find it hard to sell their own home, for a range of real reasons.

We also know that retirees can take up to 18 months to make their decision. Therefore it is vital that we maintain their interest in the retirement living solution, and particularly your village. 

Do we send an enquiry pack, invite them for a tour, and follow them up, only to be told they aren’t ready? The most common excuse for not buying!

I strongly believe there is no one size fits all solution here. There needs to be multiple lead management/engagement strategies working in unison. All with the objective of moving the prospects decision forward to purchasing, and sooner.

So what helps to do this, particularly in this COVID environment where physical contacts and events are trickier? 

Understanding and language

COVID has been with us now since late March – that’s four months. Even with the lockdowns and ‘no inspections’, we all have seen a change in the emotional drivers of the potential customers, and especially their children, who are now enquiring.

We need to understand these drivers and equip salespeople with the new language, the words that connect with these new customers.

Our DCM colleagues have research in the field now, asking 2,200 potential customers what are their emotions. They also have thousands of people sending emails from every month asking for information – and post COVID 70% of those people are the children, who are worried about isolation form mum and dad (see the research story following).

With this understanding and language, we can work on working with the potential customers.

Momentum to Settlement

It is vital to stay TOP OF MIND with your prospects, to build a relationship with them where they feel like they have an emotional connection with your organisation, and to continue to reinforce that this accommodation solution is the right choice for them.

Consider how technology can assist with your lead engagement activities:

  • Sign prospects up to your organisations blogs, newsletters, magazines, etc
  • Ask them or show them how to follow you on social media
  • Consider your digital advertising requirements (to ensure your advertising campaigns pop up in their feeds/adverts)
  • Consider short EDM campaigns (that can also be added to your website as blogs) to help their decision making (how to choose an agent, styling tips, maintaining independence, a resident case study, get to know the manager, services for seniors in the local area, etc.)
  • Use technology to your advantage
    • Touchnote is a great app to send a personalised postcard – construction update, renovation picture, residents enjoying the lifestyle
    • Use apps like Calendly to help schedule a return visit or a time for you to visit them
    • Make a short video on your phone of something of interest in the village
    • Consider sharing appropriate industry news/research
    • Send a video from the video library as an interest piece about retirement living
    • Use the Retirement Living Council’s Book of Wise Moves booklet as an opportunity to reach out

Be creative! But whatever you do, maintain the momentum to settlement!

Latest industry developments What the research tells us

Please join our 2020 retirement community research program

Over the past three months we have been working with operators and peak bodies to design the optimum market research program for these challenging times.

We have identified we must do deep research into who is today’s customer and what drives them in this COVID world. We need to capture the satisfaction of our residents and maximise our relationship with them, and market the strengths. And we need to ensure we are recognised as responsible corporate citizens.

The three research programs will deliver on these ideals.

Unique and accessible research program

Looking forward, sales will be challenging, and the knock on effect for every operator will be great.

Maintaining services for residents, settling departing resident obligations, retaining and supporting staff, securing the value of the physical community itself, will all be impacted.

New potential customers must be identified and engaged. Existing services must be reviewed and promoted. Regular business requirements must be executed.

As importantly, the sector must get on the front foot of community discussion on the benefits of retirement communities.

Each of these challenges and opportunities require sound data to take proactive actions.

We have designed the three research programs to deliver operators this data. As we have done in previous years, by building volume engagement, we have achieved an extraordinary pricing structure for all operators.

To obtain a prospectus, click here

For enquiries, contact or 02 9555 9576.

Timing: the research of todays’ customer is in the field now and the first results will be available by the end of this month (July).

Key things to help you everyday

The role of mediation in complaint management can be a positive for everyone!

Most operators would, as part of your Complaints management or Dispute resolution policy, have the referral to a mediator as a step in your organisations process.

Seeking the support of a mediator can often assist to diffuse or resolve a complaint or dispute that can simply not be resolved by the previous steps of the process. 

Regardless of whether the issue is between the operator and resident or between two different resident parties’, mediation can be a very positive and extremely beneficial path to explore. 

However, many Village professionals see the referral to a mediator as a failure in their complaint management or dispute resolution process.  In my own experience it’s quite the opposite; I have found mediation can often save time, provide clarity, obtain a faster resolution, be a positive experience and strengthen the relationship between the parties.

Community mediation services are free, confidential, and an impartial service, provided to support community members to resolve conflict.

Last month in our Village Management professional development program we welcomed guest speaker Ippei Okazaki, Community Mediator, from the Uniting Communities Law Centre to discuss with our participants the role of the mediator and what to expect.

Ippei highlighted:

“mediation as a process in which an impartial third party facilitates communication, negotiation and promotes voluntary decision-making by the parties” to reach agreement and often resolve the dispute”. 

It typically does require the willingness of both parties to attend; however the mediator can often assist if one party is not immediately agreeable.

Essentially the mediator provides an environment where both parties can voice their concerns, work on solutions together and walk away with an agreement to move forward.

If you find yourself as a Village professional not able to move forward with a particular complaint, then consider the role of a meditator to assist in resolving the issue.  Particularly if the complaint is based on differing opinions, values or perceptions, personal prejudices, loss or fear and/or misunderstandings.

Every state has a Community Mediation service that can be found by contacting:

  • Community Justice Centre (NSW)
  • Dispute Resolution Branch (Qld)
  • Conflict Solvers (ACT)
  • Dispute Settlement Centre Victoria
  • Uniting Communities Law Centre (SA)
  • Community Justice Centre (NT)
  • Citizens Advice Bureau (WA)