Growing Knowledge to Gain Leads Part 1: Utilizing Virtual Mystery Shopping Calls

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Sep 9, 2020 | Marketing & Branding

Even though 2020 has been filled with uncertainty and upended many things about life as we know it, it’s comforting that there are still some certainties we can cling to. The sun will rise in the east and set in the west. An object in motion tends to stay in motion. And, for senior living communities, new leads are always needed in order to keep occupancy rates high. But what does that look like in the post-COVID era? What new techniques (or adaptations of old ones) can you successfully use to keep your pipeline filled?

“Now, more than ever, senior living community operators need to make sure their sales teams are doing a great job with telephone and online interactions,” says Malissa Illiano, Vice President of Market Research at SageAge Strategies. “Since most communities cannot yet have visitors, the information you share over email and telephone has to work harder than ever. It’s essential that your salespeople are doing an exceptional job.”

Even though there is a lot to think about right now with regards to resident safety and health, says Malissa, it’s important to have confidence that your sales team knows how to drive the “health” of your organization. One of the best ways to do this? Performing what’s known as “mystery shops.”

“Mystery shopping experiences allow you to find out what type of experience your leads are having throughout the sales journey,” says Malissa. “This is extremely beneficial because it allows you to discover if your sales team is being consistent, if your community is being presented in the way you want it to and so on.” It also highlights opportunities to improve the experience for your leads so you can increase your conversion rate.

“Mystery shopping via telephone is still an effective and proven tactic for senior living operators and is highly beneficial now as we are going through the pandemic,” says Malissa. “This is a great alternative to face-to-face and can help an operator to see how responsive the sales team is and how they are handling leads as they come in. The information gathered can be used to help the team learn the best way to advance the sale and handle new leads in their pipeline.”


Making the Call with SageAge Strategies

Since SageAge Strategies knows and intimately understands the senior living industry, we have a leg up on other market research companies when it comes to evaluating sales teams. We take our knowledge of best practices and our more than 30 years of working side-by-side with our client-partners to run mystery shops that will drive success moving forward.

Our telephone shops start with an online inquiry, and then see how the experience plays out. Our Mystery Shoppers document, from the ease of contact and timeliness of response to interactions, experiences with salespeople and the quality of follow-up. Once all mystery shops are completed, we provide a written narrative describing the call experience. We also provide a rating form that scores the sales person in various areas, so that improvement can easily be monitored.

But you don’t have to stop there. “You can also assess your competition through mystery shops, too,” says Malissa. “It’s a great opportunity to see how your sales team stacks up against theirs, and can also provide you with an insider’s look at incentives or discounts they may currently be offering to fill their building.”

If competitive mystery shops are completed, SageAge provides a rating form to rank your community among your key competition and a competitor spreadsheet to easily compare rates and other variables.

Knowledge is definitely power – and mystery shopping services gives you the power and ammo you need to get ahead of your competition.


SageAge Strategies is a multiple-award-winning, strategic growth, marketing and consulting organization that operates exclusively in the unique senior living marketplace. For more information, please call or email Melinda Schmitz at (816) 349-0464 or You can also visit us on our website at

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