The DCM Institute team regularly speaks with village professionals around the country, and we’ve been pleased to hear about the strong sales cycle experienced by many in the sector.
Some operators have reported as many as four sales per week, and many now have no vacancies.
This is great news, and supports results of a study our sister-company DCM Research conducted with Australia Online Research (AOR) from March through to July.
The study identified 43% of people aged 60+ are feeling an increased sense of vulnerability as a result of COVID, prompting 20% to reconsider the suitability of their own home.
This is a huge opportunity for retirement villages.
Complacency creeps in
While a strong sales market is a good thing, there can be some negative consequences.
It’s so easy for a sales team to fall into complacency when things are going well, and disciplined practices we implement in harder times like follow-up calls and engagement activities can easily fall by the wayside.
One of the biggest mistakes a village can make is to stop looking for process improvements or ways to engage new potential residents.
Let’s not forget, it takes potential residents up to an average 18 months to make a final decision.
So even in the good times, it’s vital to keep momentum going.
One key area to focus on is lead management.
Recent research indicates up to 97% of prospective clients start their search for a village on the web. Many of these people will visit your website several times before making an enquiry.
It’s worth considering how you engage with prospects who are spending time on your website, and how this knowledge may then benefit your sales process.
When a prospect enquires on a website, we collect general information – name, phone, email address and timeframe to move, for example.
This is helpful, but what if we could gain a deeper insight into the prospect?
Give a little, get a lot
The use of gated offers, the opportunity to download an e-book, interview, checklist or research, not only helps prospects make their decision to contact you, but it positions your village as the expert, and sets the tone for a helpful, transparent relationship.
You can also use this to collect further information such as housing preferences, locations of interest and hobbies/interests, to get to know the prospect on a deeper level.
This insight is gold to salespeople.
It lets them build rapport quickly and importantly provides an opportunity to tailor service and engagement activities to each prospect.
Furthermore, if a sales person is able to see the number and type of interactions a prospect has had on the website prior or during their engagement it allows them to prioritise and add further value to the client’s journey.
Always be on the lookout for opportunities
Whether the market is booming or bust, we should always be looking for opportunities to bring the client to their decision sooner and aiming to create strong, engaged waitlists.
Investment in these types of lead management strategies always pays off.
Even when the times are good, it’s the one-percenters that count.