A lot of the tips and techniques you find about improving your marketing relate to the actions you and your team take in order to raise awareness and ultimately turn a prospect into a paying customer. From social media to paid advertising, direct mail to email marketing campaigns – there’s no shortage of articles and insights into how to make these efforts even more effective as you look to acquire more customers and ultimately get a signed contract.
Because of that, it can get easy to focus on the “prize,” or that paying conversion, and see it as the very last step in what can often be a very a long process. They signed on the dotted line – the job is done, right? Well, not quite.
“There’s a lot of insight and value to be gained in the time period immediately following a sale,” says Malissa Illiano, Senior Consultant & Director of Market Research at SageAge Strategies. “In some ways, once you’ve made the sale, your work has just begun. Engaging your new customer following the sale can provide powerful insight on a variety of levels, not just from a marketing perspective.”
From ensuring satisfaction after move-in to using their insights in order to better reach prospective customers, your brand new residents are a potential treasure trove of information… and they’re right at your fingertips. The time immediately post sale is the best time to engage deeply with them. They’re likely feeling good about their decision and are potentially excited to share their thoughts about the process.
Let’s take a look at what you can learn from your new residents – and their families and friends – as well as how to apply it to your marketing efforts.
What Post-Sale Surveys and Research Can Do
Help retain new customers. Depending on your competition, you may be at risk of losing your new customers over time, either to better pricing, amenities or locations – the list goes on.
Engaging with your customers immediately after they have signed with you gives you an opportunity to dig even deeper into those things that appeal to them. They might have decided to choose your community because of your spectacular new apartment homes, but in a post-sale survey interview, you might learn that they are also interested in the amenities at a competitor’s community.
By speaking with your customers after they have signed, you also show them that you care about their needs beyond just knowing them in order to make a sale.
Identify weak points in your marketing strategy. You might think you know how a prospect found you, but unless you explicitly ask, your “knowledge” is really nothing more than an educated guess. If you are spending considerable amounts of money on a particular marketing tactic – say, paid advertising – but find that your newly signed customers almost never cite “ads” as something they saw during their decision-making process, that could indicate that your paid advertising campaign isn’t as effective as it could be.
Conversely, you’ll likely notice some consistencies with regards to the marketing efforts that really resonated with your new residents. You can’t know until you ask, and what they say may surprise you. Knowing will give you insight into where to allocate, what might be very limited, marketing dollars.
Channel goodwill to unlock further revenue. Perhaps you’ll find that your newly signed residents are interested in a potential upgrade, but weren’t made aware of it before signing. Or maybe you’ll learn about a whole network of contacts that your new resident has, who are also nearing a time to consider senior living.
Knowing these things can help you make strategic decisions about what you offer to that new customer, whether it be a discount on an upgraded apartment, a bonus following a qualified referral, or otherwise. You can’t know unless you ask!
Discover what went wrong. There’s obvious value in talking to residents who ultimately decided to live in your community. What you might not be doing, though, is talking to prospects who ultimately opt to go with another senior living provider.
Maintaining a good relationship with those contacts accomplishes several things. They can tell you exactly why they chose another provider, illuminating for you what you could do to be more competitive. You’ll also create goodwill, which could lead to them returning to your door six months later, referrals for more qualified prospects and much more.
Pro tip: Make outreach to new residents last long after the “new” stage. There’s obvious value in reaching out to freshly signed customers. What might not seem as obvious is keeping in continual contact with them. Even if all you hear is, “Everything’s wonderful!” – you’re showing them you care about their wants and needs, which is key in terms of retention and reputation.