1. WHAT HAPPENS WITH A FAMILY BEFORE I RECEIVE THEM AS A LEAD FROM APFM?
A lot, actually!
Families find us in all kinds of ways. There’s the toll-free number on our commercials, medical professionals who refer their patients to us, and most commonly, our website.
Most families begin their retirement home search online, typing terms such as “Toronto Retirement Homes” into a search engine like Google. It is likely that they will find www.aplaceformom.com/canada and fill out a contact form with their name, contact information and desired location. Within a minute (which is not an exaggeration!), our contact center calls the person to confirm that they are looking for seniors housing.
Upon confirmation, we invite the family member to talk to an A Place for Mom Senior Living Advisor (SLA) right away and connect them immediately. The SLA spends 20-30 minutes collecting information about the parent or loved one’s care needs, budget, and “must-haves.” The SLA chooses, on average, three communities that meet the senior’s needs and refers them to those partners. The SLA will also help “pre-sell” the family on your brand, services, and fantastic amenities.
2. HOW DOES APFM DECIDE WHICH COMMUNITIES TO REFER A FAMILY?
We start with their geographic location, because this determines which SLA works with them. The SLA then helps qualify the senior based on care needs, which narrows down the type of community that is the best fit. The SLA will also discuss the senior’s budget, which will narrow down the list of options further. Finally, the SLA asks about the senior’s hobbies or desired amenities so they can determine which communities will really feel like home.
When you consider each step in the qualification process, you can see that the SLA has a pretty clear picture of which communities will be a potential match for the senior, and at this point they’ve gotten to know them and care about seeing them in the right community. The decision on how many comes down to the communities that match the needs of the family and the senior as well referring those communities that will provide prompt, professional and caring service.
3. WHY DOES APFM REFER FAMILIES TO MORE THAN ONE COMMUNITY?
We always refer families to more than one community! We believe that giving families several options is vital to their success at finding the right seniors housing solution for their loved one. This is a very personal decision for a family and we don’t want to limit the family’s choices when it comes to finding the senior’s new home. We have also found that families want options! It’s very much a “Goldilocks” situation: Too many options and the family is overwhelmed; too few and the search often stalls because they believe what they want isn’t out there.
This does mean that you’re “competing” with other communities to be the first to begin the relationship with the family, but on average APFM only refers 3.1 communities per family. The speed, warmth, and effectiveness of your response to the family are critical. Historically, communities that respond to a new inquiry within two hours can expect a 10-15% larger share of A Place for Mom move-ins.
4. WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS FOR ME TO DO WHEN I RECEIVE A LEAD FROM APFM?
The early bird truly does get the worm. For the past six years, we have conducted an annual Secret Shop with a selected group of our United States partner communities. We send a referral and monitor how quickly they responded to that family and how many times they tried to contact them. We have found that many communities take at least 12 hours to respond to a new inquiry. Additionally, they are not making multiple attempts to reach the family. When we look at the partner communities that are fast (responding under two hours) and persistent (at least two contact attempts during the shop), they are moving in a larger share of seniors than their slower, less persistent competitors. If you make an effort to follow up with a new inquiry quickly and attempt to reach them once a day for the first few days until you’ve connected with them, you can expect a larger share of A Place for Mom move-ins.
An easy way to get two contact attempts: your initial phone call followed by an email introducing yourself.
5. WHY AREN’T MANY OF THE LEADS I RECEIVE FROM APFM READY TO MOVE IN IMMEDIATELY?
A Place for Mom often meets families when they are fairly early in their journey – they know that something needs to change in the senior’s life, but they don’t have anything pushing them to make the decision now. It’s actually a great place to be as a family member – you have plenty of time to weigh your options and make an informed decision instead of reacting to an emergency.
We also find that with decreasing level of care comes increased time from inquiry to move-in, because of the more elective nature of an independent senior looking for a lifestyle change instead of a needs-based change. These seniors also tend to stay in their chosen community longer because they tend to be in better health. As you can see from the chart, the time from inquiry to move-in varies, but that doesn’t mean the senior won’t move. They just might need more time to make the decision.
A Place for Mom wants to provide prompt and professional service to all families with questions about seniors housing, no matter how long it might take them to come to a decision and move into the right community for them.
6. WHY DID I RECEIVE A LEAD FROM APFM WHOSE BUDGET WAS A FEW HUNDRED DOLLARS BELOW MY STARTING RATE?
That’s a great question, and you’re not alone in asking it! It’s helpful to put yourself in the family’s shoes when addressing the budget you see on a referral alert. As professionals working in seniors housing, we often see ourselves in more of an advisory or social work role. We’re helping families and seniors find what they need when it comes to health and well-being. From a family’s perspective, they are making a large financial commitment, and they want to understand the value of your community before they begin writing cheques. This is where sales and advisement meet.
A consumer won’t usually share their full budget with a salesperson. Think about when you bought your last car – did you tell the salesperson how much you could spend, or did you give them a number that was significantly lower to start? APFM-referred families behave the same way; withholding their full budget until they feel like they understand what they can get for their money.
On the other hand, families don’t always come into the conversation with a clear picture of the senior’s budget. They may have an idea and can make an educated guess, but family members don’t always know how much they really have to spend. Our Senior Living Advisors don’t complete a full financial assessment, so we use the family’s “guess” when we are looking at appropriate options for them.
Once they find the right community, that offers everything they knew they needed and discovered they wanted, and has done a full financial assessment with them, the true budget is usually higher than the number the family originally gave to their Senior Living Advisor.
Our Senior Living Advisors do their best to provide an accurate budget and education the family on the true cost of seniors housing so we can send our partners only the most qualified families.
7. WHY DOES APFM WANT TO SET UP TOURS AT MY COMMUNITY FOR THE FAMILIES THEY REFER – ISN’T THAT MY JOB?
We understand that one of the biggest hurdles you face is getting people in the door to tour. Our Senior Living Advisors love to pre-sell your community when we are on the phone with the family. Our objective is to build excitement about touring and stress the importance of seeing the community in person instead of in pictures. We want to get a firm commitment (date and time) from a family to take some of the pressure off you and allow you to focus on the fun part of your job – getting to know them and determining if you can provide what they need. We have found that families who set up a tour through APFM are 2-4 times more likely to move in than a family that does not.
Approach those “scheduled tours” as a starting point – if it doesn’t fit into your schedule, use that as a reason to connect with the family and work out a better time.
One of our goals is to save you time! Scheduling tours is the ultimate service we can provide so you can focus on connecting with the family and giving them a great tour experience.
8. I’VE GIVEN SEVERAL TOURS TO APFM LEADS THAT DIDN’T MOVE IN. ISN’T THAT A WASTE OF MY TIME?
Tours are never a waste of time! It’s important for your overall marketing efforts to provide a great tour experience for anyone who shows interest in your community. The more exposure you get, the more likely that someone who has seen your community will talk about you favorably to others. Word of mouth is extremely important!
You also hold public events to generate more traffic, not because you think someone who attends is ready to move in tomorrow, but because you think that someone they know may be ready to move in someday. Not every person who tours your community will move in, but a family will never move in if they haven’t toured your community.
A Place for Mom is your partner when working with families and expanding your marketing reach. We partner with the best options for families and we want to help spread the word that your community is a great place to call “home,” no matter who hears us!
9. ONCE I HAVE A LEAD, WHAT KIND OF ASSISTANCE WITH THE FAMILY, CAN I EXPECT FROM THE ADVISOR GOING FORWARD?
Our Advisors should be seen as an extension of your marketing team. They continue to follow up with you and the family, staying in contact during milestones such as the tour, in-person assessment, and move-in. The Advisor offers encouragement, answers questions, and guides the family through their next step to move-in.
Advisors are also your source for ongoing honest feedback from the families. Families often feel more comfortable sharing candid feedback with our Advisors than with the community, since our Advisors do not work for the communities. Your best opportunities to connect with the Advisor are while planning a tour, after the tour happens, and if you want to discuss strategy for moving the family forward.
Our Senior Living Advisors are here for you every step of the way. Together, we are helping families and uplifting lives.
10. FAMILIES TELL ME THEY WERE SURPRISED AT HOW QUICKLY APFM CALLED THEM BACK. WHY IS APFM SO “AGGRESSIVE”?
It’s a sad truth, but working with seniors means that health emergencies happen. When a family inquires via online form, which many of our families do, they do not provide any information about their current situation. We can’t tell when a family needs help immediately, or when they are doing research. We err on the side of caution and call them back immediately to make sure that we always help families that need us right away.
Over and over again, we hear from families that they appreciate the fact that we were available right when they needed help most. We find that partners who are also committed to being prompt and responsive and make themselves available to families are very successful with us. Speed is king, and if you make speed a priority more families will choose your community.
We believe that speed gives us and our partners an edge when it comes to making connections with new families. It’s our Senior Living Advisors and fantastic partners who provide the caring touch that helps our families trust that we will guide them through the process to find the right seniors housing solution for them.