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Finding new residents for your village – it’s not just a matter of being seen

Filling vacancies at your village can be a tricky task.

At the start of the village sales process you’re trying to achieve two goals – create awareness and generate interest.

The easiest way to do this is listing your village online.

I’m a firm believer in the idea that it’s not just a matter of being seen, but a matter of putting your best foot forward.

1. Understand your key messages

It’s going to be difficult to achieve a result if you don’t understand what you’re trying to say. 

A good way to get started when developing your key messages is thinking about the points of difference your village offers. This could be anything from the village’s location to its unique facilities.

Strong key messages help your village stand out.

And while it takes a bit of thought, it’s worth the effort.

2. Advertise your vacancies, establish your presence

Now that you’ve got your messages, it’s time to reach potential residents.

Typically, you’ll do this by listing your vacancies on a web portal.

But as Villages.com.au Head of Industry Sales Solutions Carmella Rowsthorne says, some web portals are more suitable than other.

“Finding the right balance between lead quantity and lead quality is a key challenge in village sales. That’s why it’s so important to list on a portal that people trust,” she said.

Once you’ve chosen your web portal, the messages you’ve developed will inform the choices you make in regards to copy and the images.

3. Put your best foot forward

So, you’ve developed your messages and found a web portal to list your vacancy.

But how do you make your village more appealing than the one down the road that’s done exactly the same thing?

Carmella says uplift options like purchasing a MREC banner or a promoted listing can be a good way to separate your village from the rest of the pack.

“On Villages.com.au promoted listings tend to deliver 30% more sales for our clients,” she said.

“With so many villages out there, it can be a great way to make your village stand out.”

Finding new residents for your village is more than just being seen.

It’s about putting your best foot forward.

With a little bit of thought and planning you can be confident you’re starting the starting the sales process on the right foot.

For more information about finding new residents for your village, you can contact Carmella here.

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Key things to help you everyday Things to watch

Village customers stronger than ever, despite or because of COVID

A number of Village Professionals have reached out to us to ask ‘how is the market going’ for retirement village sales.

We asked our colleague Carmella Rowsthorne at villages.com.au what is happening and she delivered the above graph for the 13 months from September last year to September 2020.

It shows that last year in September just under 3,800 people searched for a retirement village each day on villages.com.au.

This September, the same number of people are searching.

Numbers are actually up

But here is the thing. Victoria accounts for 35% of the Australian population and they have been in severe lockdown since July. They have not been able to even think of looking at villages let alone sell their homes. It was basically illegal.

So when you add this into the mix, you have to say the average number of people looking seriously at a village option has gone up in 2020.

The only changes have been multiple crises. Fires, drought and now COVID.

The family home is no longer as safe as it was last year.

Have you been receiving a higher level of enquiry? If not, perhaps you are not listing your village on villages.com.au. With 1.2M visits a year it is the No.1 village search destination.

You can find out more from Carmella by emailing her at Carmella.Rowsthorne@thedcmgroup.com.au.

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Key things to help you everyday

Location, location, location – why finding the right home for your village listing is so important

Filling village vacancies is one of the most important jobs for village, marketing and sales professionals.

Without direction this process can be inefficient and expensive.  

Our sister company villages.com.au offers a comprehensive hub to link vacant villages with potential residents.

We’ve discovered plenty of things along the way that help inform this process.

Here are four things to consider:

1. You need to be able to find the right people

There’s no use having an ad on the Gold Coast if your village is in the Hunter Valley.

Destination is a key driver for potential residents, so having a platform that lets you market to specific regions is crucial. This is why villages.com.au offers 87 regions across Australia.

2. You need to put your best foot forward

Potential residents like to have a good idea of what your village looks like, before they commit.

So villages.com.au offers strong image and description options for every paid listing.

villages.com.au provides listings with the chance to feature a 3D Virtual Tour, which delivers approximately 30% more leads. There’s a great example here.

3. Tracking and stats

Transparency is also important, and you want to be sure you’re advertising with a platform that gives you bang for your buck.

This is why villages.com.au regularly supplies everyone who’s been listed with updated statistics to see how their village ads are performing.

4. A trusted home

Moving into a retirement village is a big, sometimes expensive, exercise for potential residents.

So it makes sense that your village is listed on a platform people recognise and trust.

villages.com.au has established itself as a trusted knowledge resource for people looking for retirement villages with videos, articles and an Info Centre to support people in the journey.

Listing your village on a trusted platform builds authenticity and increases the chance of a sale.

For more information on listing villages, contact villages.com.au Head of Sales Solutions Carmella Rowsthorne here.  

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Key things to help you everyday Things to watch

December is 13 weeks away – the topic on everyone’s lips is sales

If there’s one thing we’ve been picking up in our weekly conversations with village professionals, it’s that sales across the industry are patchy, at best.

Yes, there are exceptions. Anecdotally some people say sales are holding (and in some cases even improving slightly).

But for many others sales have stalled significantly. For instance, if you were achieving one sale a month, you may be achieving only one every two months at the moment (we are talking outside of Victoria).

You would know that sales momentum is very important; it keeps everyone on their toes plus operators happy. With December 13 weeks away, do you have momentum? If not, now is the time to act rather than waiting.

What is momentum? It is a full sales pipeline and as many prospective residents nodding their heads positively. They can see they should be continuing the conversations with you.

Is the interest out there in these COVID times? What will make heads nod?

Here is a graph of 12 months traffic across Australia on our sister DCM web site, villages.com.au.

What you can see is that the number of people searching for a village is higher, in fact 7% higher, in August 2020 than in August 2019.

And remember, this includes Victoria where all the customers are in lockdown.

The customers are there. In fact, I am being told that the people who actually visit villages are far more committed than usual. They know that they need a ‘safe harbour in a storm’.

Again, our sister group DCM Research has just completed a survey of 2,200 non residents and found that COVID-19 has increased a feeling of vulnerability (43%) and isolation (31%). And this is for all people aged 60+ surveyed, not just people who have personal triggers.

So the customers are definitely out there, they are looking for options and they are committed. But how much can we do as village professionals on the front line?

If there is one thing that I’ve learned in tough sales markets, it’s that ‘one percenters’ matter. 

It’s the addition of all the little things that add up to a big impression on customers. The one percenters.

In this promotional video we have just done for this month’s deep dive topic in the DCM Institute’s Village Management Professional Development Program, I discuss the importance of having several people in the village that a prospective customer meets – not just you. These extra touch points give reassurance and also take all the reliance off you.

Check the video out as a thought starter. The challenge is to start now – the customers are there, they are willing, and December is just 13 weeks away.