For many senior living providers “closing the sale” is the ultimate goal, the brass ring, the final chapter in the sales process. But marketing proponents of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) see it quite differently. For them, closing the sale is just the beginning of a new chapter in the relationship; one that creates opportunities for higher resident and family satisfaction, “positive word of mouth” and increased referrals.
Just as the sales representative who follows best practice sales techniques always follows up their initial contact with a prospect to assure the promotional literature arrived and to answer any new questions, enlightened senior living professionals seek to nurture the relationship well after the sale is completed.
In her article, Are You Helping Your Customers After They Buy From You?, author Charlotte Varela discusses the value of managing post-purchase behavior.
Ms. Varela says, “We’re all familiar with the concept of the sales funnel, the metaphorical structure that represents the research, nurturing-receptive and purchasing stages of a consumer’s buying journey. “Those phases are all organized neatly into top, middle, and bottom layers—no more, no less. “There’s another element of the sales funnel that often gets overlooked in favor of moving swiftly onto nurturing your next business lead.”
The Missing Link in Your Sales Model
Much like CRM proponents, Ms. Varela asserts that a consumer’s buying journey doesn’t necessarily stop once they’ve made a purchase; there is also post-purchase behavior to consider.
Also known as post-purchase dissonance, the fourth stage of the sales funnel represents the state of unease that some consumers may feel after making a purchase. That stage can be a normal part of making a purchase, especially in a world where there’s so much offered that we can become paralyzed by the amount of choices we face, so we end up making buying decisions based on snap emotions rather than calm rationale. The rationalization sets in later, leaving consumers feeling guilt, regret, and sometimes even anger.
Neglect or Just a Misunderstanding?
Many sales and marketing people act as though lead nurturing ends once a purchase has been made. They don’t realize is that lead nurturing needs to occur before, during and after someone has made the purchase decision. Providing them with valuable post-sale support not only reassures them they made the right buying decision, but builds a strong link of trust between client and company, i.e. CRM 101.
Ms. Varela contends that lead nurturing isn’t about sending out huge quantities of content; it’s about quality content that encompasses some simple, good old-fashioned customer service as well.
Doing the Unthinkable—Nurturing After the Sale
“Additionally, she says, you should be providing and promoting some kind of “after-care”. “Dependent on your industry this can take the form of anything; a consultation to see how things are going and where, if necessary, improvements can be made; a request for some feedback on your service; or additional product information about exclusive upgrades and relevant add-ons.”
This type of continuing — and probably unexpected — support shows your customers that you don’t just care about your business, you care about them and how they feel about their purchase, no matter how little or large the amount of money they spent.
Go Forth and Nurture Clients
Ms. Varela advises, “Being honest with your site visitors, leads, and clients from the start creates an immense sense of trust. Making them feel really positive about your brand before they buy, during their purchase, and, perhaps most importantly, after their purchase will see them reward you with brand loyalty.”
To recap, senior living providers can overcome post-sale “buyers’ remorse” and uncertainty by devoting some quality time and attention to their new residents and family members. Your investment in such “after-care” can also yield dividends in the form of increased resident satisfaction, positive word of mouth for your brand and increase referrals to your community!