Follow-up is a critical factor in the success of your marketing efforts, particularly when you're dealing with internet leads. The reason? It's likely that your prospective residents have inquired with a number of facilities. You and your competitors likely offer the same basic services and accomodations. You might (you should) have a unique selling proposition (USP), but if your competitor shares their USP first, you might have lost the referral.
How soon should you be following up?If you're like most marketers, you're not sitting idly by the phone and email waiting for leads to come your way. You're out actively networking with the community, giving tours and completing move-in paperwork with other residents. Follow-up times within one or two minutes might be impossible, if not a bad idea altogether. You want to be prompt, but you also don't want to appear overzealous. It's a good idea to respond to a lead within one to two hours of the initial inquiry. When it comes to senior housing, it can easily end up being a first-come, first-serve basis, because many families don't have much prior knowledge and go with the first option that meets their needs.
Even if you happen to be sitting in front of your computer when the lead comes in, wait five to ten minutes before calling. It leaves the impression that inquiries are very important to you, yet you're busy enough that you aren't desperate.
After the initial contactThe importance of follow-up doesn't end with the first contact, however. If you're dealing with a family who plans to shop around before making a decision, you'll need to stay on top of the relationship in order to stay top-of-mind. The key is to find the balance between being an annoyance and being proactive. It's also possible that the family was making inquiries, yet decided not to make a move right away. Make a contact every so often, but have a reason.
Call to let them know about a new program your facility is offering that you thought might interest them, to invite them to an open house, or even let them know about a community event. It's the simple things that can leave a lasting impression, and maintaining a friendly contact takes minimal effort yet could earn you an admission months down the road.
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