In Senior Living, referral sources are one of the most vital sources for acquiring new leads. Cultivating quality referrals is one of the most surefire ways for keeping your community top-of-mind, while also ensuring occupancy remains high.
There is no more effective form of marketing than positive word-of-mouth communications. Therefore, creating a space where your current and former customers, their friends and families, as well as others are talking positively about your space, is imperative for bolstering quality referrals.
Maintaining quality and effective referral relationships is easier said than done. There are so many facets to this relationship-building process that it can often be overwhelming for the individual salesperson. That’s why we have broken this process down into three steps:
- Assess Your Current and Potential Referral Sources
- Develop a Plan for Engaging with Those Referral Sources
- Nurture a Personal Relationship with Your Referral Sources
Let’s dive into these steps!
Assess Your Current and Potential Referral Sources
First, we must begin by assessing who our referral sources are.
Do you already have a list of qualified candidates? If so, fantastic!
Make a list of any of these candidates and determine how productive each source is. It may be the case that some sources are not as effective as others - i.e., they are not bringing in new leads for residents. If this is the case, that relationship might not be worth maintaining and that effort should be placed elsewhere. Once you have determined who your preexisting qualified candidates are, you can begin looking for more sources to add to the mix.
If you believe your referral source pool is satisfactory, you can jump to step two: developing a plan for engaging with those referral sources!
Do you already have a list of qualified candidates? If not, do not worry! Let’s discuss places to look for potential referral sources.
Friends and Family
As we mentioned previously, there is nothing more effective than positive word-of-mouth marketing. When someone talks positively about your business, others are more likely to seek out your business. This is especially true in senior living. Personal referrals from happy residents in your community are extremely valuable. We suggest implementing incentives for residents, like a rent credit, for referrals resulting in a move-in. These campaigns have been proven to be very successful provided they are well executed.
Families often consult with individuals and organizations we like to call trusted guides: senior living placement services, healthcare providers, financial advisors, private geriatric care professionals, elder-law attorneys, etc. These trusted relationships are highly valuable to those families and should be highly valued by you.
These relationships are built on high-trust. Therefore, developing a referral relationship with these providers will allow you to exact that same level of high-trust with their clients. With that level of trust established early on, you’ll be much more likely to make a sale quickly and efficiently. Bottom line: If a person’s doctor or lawyer recommends your senior living community, that referral will hold a lot of sway.
There are so many places to find new, effective referral sources. We suggest starting with these few and growing from there. The most important thing to remember is that referral sources all hinge on personal relationships. So, how do you make sure you're nurturing an effective relationship? Let’s dig into it!
Develop a Plan for Engaging with Those Referral Sources
As we have discussed, working with referral sources is all about using an existing relationship to elicit referrals. But what is the right way to build a relationship with someone? What should you say, do, and ask of them? How much communication is too much communication?
These are all valid questions that we will help you answer!
Relationship-building is more effective the more you get to see the person you are developing a relationship with. But, getting facetime with them is not always so easy. That’s why a video mail tool, like SalesMail, is incredibly powerful! You can send personalized video messages updating your referral sources about the community, residents, and so on. Getting regular video messages like this will help you get that facetime without taking up too much of their (and your) precious time.
As you send these messages, think about what information is relevant to each source. You should keep a database with detailed information about each of your referral sources. Using this database, you can pull relevant information as necessary to deliver timely nurture communications. This database will also help you determine how much nurturing you should do. You’ll get an idea for how much your referral sources like to be contacted the more you interact with them. Make note of which messages they respond to, and those that they don’t.
Building strong relationships with referral sources takes time and effort. We hope this information will help guide you through that process.
Nurture a Personal Relationship with Your Referral Sources
There are many ways to nurture a personal relationship with your referral sources. What is the best way? While there is not a definitive answer, and each relationship will be unique, something that will always garner some success is creativity. Get creative with your nurture communications. Below are a few suggestions for things to do with/for your referral sources.
- Offer incentives for providing leads that sign leases.
- Send them relevant resources they might be interested in.
- Invite them for a tour, lunch, or to any events you might be having.
- Send them videos from activities or events you have had.
- Send them testimonials from residents they referred to you.
- Send them referrals when applicable.
- Wish them happy birthday, anniversary, or holidays when applicable.
Make sure that whatever you are sending them is intentional. Most people can tell when they are being contacted for the sake of being contacted versus genuinely thought about. As we mentioned previously, using a tool like SalesMail can help make the process more thoughtful and intentional. Receiving any of the aforementioned information via video will be much more personal than in plain text. If you’re looking to differentiate yourself from competitors seeking referrals from the same sources, video is a great place to start.
Interested in how you can leverage video in your referral process?
Click the button down below to get more information about SalesMail.
We know that in Senior Living, referral sources are one of the most vital channels for acquiring new leads. We also know that developing effective referral sources is an emotional and time-intensive process. Hopefully, this breakdown has given you some guidance on where to begin and what to do next in this process.
Ultimately, the best way to develop effective personal relationships with referral sources is to get in front of them, send them relevant information, and emphasize that your community delivers a higher level of care for residents. Doing so will make it easy for them to refer you whenever possible.