The Most Powerful Tool in Your Post-Pandemic Sales Strategy – Virtual Mystery Shopping Calls

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Jun 7, 2021 | Marketing & Branding

After a long 2020 and difficult start to 2021, things are starting to look up! COVID-19 vaccines are readily available. Right now, over 262 million doses have been administered to adults in the U.S., 116 million Americans are fully vaccinated (over 35% of the population) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is poised to approve vaccines for teens aged 12 and over. We’re anticipating July 4, 2021, as the beginning of “Independence Day” from the virus. Things are changing for the better.

As we hopefully anticipate the return to “life as we knew it,” there are things that may not return to status quo for some time – especially for those in senior living sales. With most senior living communities remaining closed to tours and visits, sales strategies must adapt to compete.

Senior Living Competition Is Fierce

As reported in the January 27, 2021, edition of Senior Housing News, senior living occupancy rates reached a new low, dropping to 80.7% in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Add to that already competitive environment new inventory coming to market and new communities that opened in the last couple of quarters – and you’ve got your work cut out for you.

The good news? There are tools you can use to give yourself a competitive advantage. The first one to deploy is virtual mystery shopping calls.

Virtual Mystery Shopping Calls

“COVID-19 has changed how people are shopping and finding information about senior living communities,” says Malissa Illiano, Vice President of Market Research at SageAge. “Right now, with many communities closed to tours, people are relying on phone calls to shop senior living communities.”

Malissa goes on to explain that virtual mystery shopping calls offer two approaches and two opportunities to discover a wealth of information. “We recommend that communities mystery shop their own salespeople,” she says. “Listen to hear how they’re coming across on the phone. Are they forthcoming? Are they favorably representing your community?”

She goes on to say that senior living communities should also mystery shop their competition to see what’s happening in their markets. “Senior living salespeople are sharing much more information over the phone these days,” she says. “Information is not being held back.”

By mystery shopping your competition, you can discover what sort of incentives they’re offering – or if they’re not offering any incentives at all. “Some senior living communities are offering the first three months free,” says Malissa. “Others aren’t offering any discounts at all. It’s essential to know what’s happening in your market.”

The bottom line: to remain competitive in your market, you’ve not only got to know what your competitors are doing, but you also have to know how your community measures up. Virtual mystery shopping calls capture the information you need to stay competitive.

How Can Virtual Mystery Shopping Help You?

Virtual mystery shopping services provide senior living communities with valuable, objective evaluations of competitor services and/or those services provided by your own staff.

Telephone Services
Through telephone mystery shopping services of your community and/or your competitors in market, you’ll uncover insights into critical components of sales and marketing, including:

  • Customer service reception
  • Sales discovery techniques
  • Incentives and promotions
  • Brand presentation
  • Provision of collateral materials
  • Database management
  • Follow-up activities

In-Depth Reports
Following our virtual mystery shopping calls, SageAge creates written reports as well as a rating form with point values on each aspect of their experience, including:

  • Initial telephone interaction
  • Interpersonal skills of staff
  • Accuracy of information they provide
  • Intangible factors that affect the ability to attract new residents and retain existing residents
  • If a competitive mystery shop is completed, we will provide a competitor spreadsheet to compare rates, incentives and other variables

Putting Results To Work
Virtual mystery shopping services and gathered data can help you:

  • Utilize an in-depth narrative based on actual verbatim comments that provide valuable human feedback in addition to the quantitative data
  • Identify marketing, sales and service opportunities for improvement (OFIs)
  • Optimize each resident’s experience
  • Demonstrate to potential residents, current residents and their loved ones that you’re truly interested in their complete satisfaction
  • Reward employees who perform with excellence, aiding staff retention
  • Identify employees who require coaching or retraining
  • Evaluate your competition so you have an edge in the marketplace

Get Inside Information

Stay ahead of the competition. SageAge’s virtual mystery shopping will give you an honest look at your customer’s experience with your sales team, community and competition.

If you need assistance in any areas of marketing and integrated growth strategy to improve your business results, we invite you to contact us today to learn more about our proven strategies that have transformed other senior living communities like yours.

SageAge 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 570.601.1720/ You can also visit us on our website at

Contact Us Today!

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