Last month I caught up with my great colleague Linda Hooper, National marketing manager with Living Choice, who happened to mention in passing that they had achieved 62% of sales from referrals…
An amazing result by any businesses standard! So I asked her to elaborate a little more and what I uncovered was a well thought out targeted strategy, synonymous to Living Choices marketing, that is delivering REAL results!
In the retirement living industry, there is nothing more satisfying that seeing the word “Referral” as the advertising source when receiving an enquiry for a village. It’s a powerful validation of not just your marketing team’s efforts but all those who work for the company.
Across the retirement living sector, the incidence of referral is quite low. In our sister company DCM Research’s National resident survey of over 4,000 village residents last year, they found that strong referrals only occurred in 13% of cases. See below.
When Linda first joined Living Choice, they were spending an awful lot of money on traditional advertising, such as print, TV and radio. While this generated a lot of leads, the cost of converting that lead to a settlement was alarmingly high. She soon identified that the referrals, however, had a much higher conversion rate.
Linda with the wider Living Choice team implemented a Referral Reward Program whereby both referrers and those they refer receive a gift voucher on settlement.
While this is a nice “thank-you” present, Linda doesn’t believe it is the main reason for the referral at all – it is just one piece of the Living Choice promise.
Moving into a retirement village is a major decision and people won’t refer a family member or friend unless they are convinced the village ticks a number of important boxes.
In addition to the gift vouchers, Living Choice holds a Gala Reward Event to thank the referrers, those they have referred plus their many resident helpers. They invest considerable marketing funds into these glamorous events and for both residents and the team, these are a highlight on the marketing calendar.
Over the years, the percentage of settlements attributed to referrals has grown to a current 62% of all sales! It’s a percentage that not just the marketing team but all Living Choice staff members and residents can be proud of.
Linda shares “these results also keep the team united and focused on ensuring we deliver on our promise and the best possible lifestyle and care for residents”.
Multiple research programs confirm that well over 90% of residents are positively satisfied by their move – as demonstrated from this graph from the same DCM research program last year – it would be great if we can mobilise these satisfied residents!